We’ve all seen it. You’re waiting around a luggage carousel after a five hour flight. You’re exhausted, sweaty, and aggravated. The flight attendant was rude, the plane was cramped, and the flight took off 2 hours late. Now you’re standing around with 300 of your now-closest pals, waiting for your bag to come off a conveyer belt. As you wait for the unionized workers (who are hopefully not on strike) to offload your bag, you wonder why you travel in the first place.
Then you walk out of the airport, and witness firsthand the reason for all this trouble. You’re in a new place, a new time, a new culture. As you examine your new surroundings, all the hardship involved in getting there seems to melt away.
But not all vacations get off to a great start, and that’s why the Government of Canada has a website dedicated to informing you about your dream destinations. The government is stepping in to warn you beforehand about the awfulness and the security scare that is your two-week vacation. Take, for example, the small strip of land known to Travel Canada as Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank.
Take one look at the advisories page for Israel, and you are instantly bombarded with a bunch of red exclamation marks warning against travel to many regions of the area. If you haven’t been paying attention to the news, rocket fire between Gaza and Israel has escalated recently, and Israel is on the verge of a ground assault on the gaza strip. Hamas, the authority in Gaza has warned airlines not to fly to Ben Gurion airport as it has become a target for rocket fire. Most European and North American airlines have done the same, including Air Canada.
This may be the first time ever in history that half the battle is being fought on the virtual front lines. Israel and Hamas have both been using social media (that broad term that encompasses Facebook, Twitter, etc…) to report their respective sides of the situation. The Israeli Defence Force posts pictures of terror sites in Gaza, while Hamas posts pictures of the destruction happening in Gaza. They even started a hashtag #PrayforGaza, that trended on Twitter in the wake of the escalation. While media pandering during war is nothing new, it is the first time that observers have instant access to the knowledge and happenings of two groups locked in a fierce and deadly conflict.
In the global environment we live in, it has become necessary for combatants to plead their cases to the international community, lest they risk being condemned by world leaders and civilians alike. This is especially true when the majority of casualties are destined to be civilians. Both sides have done an excellent job to rally their cheering parties, and Israel has attracted the support of the most powerful man in the world. No, not Obama, Harper. In what was a rare Sunday brief, Harper went on to condemn Hamas in the following statement:
The indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there is no justification. It is evident that Hamas is deliberately using human shields to further terror in the region. Failure by the international community to condemn these reprehensible actions would encourage these terrorists to continue their appalling actions. Canada calls on its allies and partners to recognize that these terrorist acts are unacceptable and that solidarity with Israel is the best way of stopping the conflict. Canada is unequivocally behind Israel.
Before the U.S even got a chance to stand up for Israel, Canada jumped right in, assuming its role as western protector to the only democracy in the middle east. Despite numerous warnings against traveling to the area, the Government of Canada stands with Israel. In what has become a social war depicting “proportional response,” “disproportionate casualties,” and “restraint,” Canada, the country known for their apologies, decides to pick a side and stand up like a superpower. It seems like Harper is keeping to the motto: #TrueNorthStrongAndFree.