Monday, July 31, 2006

A blurring of nations

Over the last few weeks the Israel/Lebanon conflict has raised a lot of questions that have been asked in several forums. And again here.

When the conflict flared, there were claims of up to 25000 “Australians” in Lebanon that would require rescuing from danger.

It has since been discovered that 3000 of these people were indeed in Lebanon on holiday or visiting family. The other 22000 are Australian citizens who permanently live in Lebanon. Why are these people suddenly in danger because they are Australians? If they are permanent residents, why are we being called on to rescue them from their homes at our expense? If you live in Lebanon and hold Lebanese and Australian passports, then you are Lebanese, and have chosen your life. The only conceivable reason you may hold an Australian passport is if you claim something from the Australian government, hence the Australian people. Are you Australian? Good, here’s your Australian passport. Are you Lebanese? OK, there’s your Lebanese passport, deal with the consequences that go along with it, you don’t get both. Dual citizenship is not merely for convenience. Even watching television of late and seeing protests regarding the conflict showed young Australian men of Lebanese backgrounds claiming that they would “spill blood to protect their country”. They’re not talking about Australia, the country they live in, work in, and have families in, the country that shelters them from conflicts such as this.

The other thing that has been bought to light is the incidence of Australian citizens serving in the Israeli army, following the death of a young man who was an Australian citizen serving in the Israeli army. A good many of these people are from America, as well as Israelis, and reports of up to 100 Australians serving. Many of these may have been born in Israel and subsequently moved to other parts of the world, therefore forced to undertake National Service in Israel. But there are many volunteers in the Israeli army who need not serve.

One question I would ask is; would these people, Lebanese or Israeli, even entertain the notion of serving in the Australian armed forces?

I have no problem with people of diverse and different cultural backgrounds adopting our country as home. It is beneficial for many that they retain a great many of their cultural traditions. What is not fair is to use religion as a tool for maintaining foreign citizenship claims. You can be Australian and Muslim, rather than Lebanese. You can be Australian and a Buddhist, rather than Chinese. You can be Australian and Jewish, rather than Israeli. Many sons and daughters of first generation immigrants claim to be of their parent’s nationality. There was a reason why their parents came to Australia. They saw a future, in a new country, with a new nationality. I wonder how many of their children will claim to be Italian, Lebanese, Brazilian, Mexican, Israeli, Greek, etcetera.

There’s a lot to be said for roots, but until people realise the futility of certain religiously motivated disagreements, violence like this will exist till the end of mankind.

Insert tagline here...

3 comments:

zzzpirate said...

do your homework whitey!

serving time in the israeli army is often not a choice but a compulsory given for men holding aforementioned duel-citizenship

The Great White Hype said...

Does 'duel citizenship' mean they have to fight?

I was referring more to those who do not hold dual citizenship, as has been reported, yet still enlist to fight.

zzzpirate said...

whoooooooooops sorry whitey! am rectifying my ignorant last statement my ADD culture brain overwhelmed with the amount of information available did not read your article properly - u did mention this compulsory service. I do wonder how much 'peer-pressure' (see the doped up American kid) there is for the lost, young, impressional romantic idealists who put their hands up. I think this senseless violence is impossible for us to really understand as comfortable white westerners. We have not grown up in with a conflicting identity as australian/insert prime heritage line here! we are in a more democratic society and many of us agnostic, haven't been brought up where doctrine is seen as absolute truth! what a surreal climate we live in sooooo much access to global information and yet still so dettached by differing ideologies!