Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Sobering thoughts

A recent post on the British Ambassador to Lebanon’s blog caught my attention and brought about a profound sense of sadness.

Here’s an excerpt:
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There are nearly 60 Palestinian veterans in Lebanon who served with the British army during the 2nd World War.   The tragic irony of their situation is heart-wringing.   After loyally serving the Union Jack, in 1948 they were forced to flee their homes when the state of Israel was created.   Some of them have been in refugee camps in Lebanon ever since.  They are getting old (even those who joined up too early at the age of sixteen are over 80 now) and in need of medical attention.  

This week we had a visitor from the Royal Commonwealth ex-services League.  He was here to visit some of the veterans in their homes and oversee the work that is done on the League's behalf to give some assistance to these men in need. 
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The sense of gross failure, to both people and state leading up to the Nakhba, sticks in my throat and slowly gives way to anger. The provision of medical care seems like a drop in the ocean.

With Remembrance Sunday not too far off, I’m looking forward to going to the British war cemetery in Jalloul, in Assas. It’s a most humbling experience for an expat with a military upbringing. Plus, they serve good cake.

In comparison to the British cemetery (which is actually quite pleasant), the French equivalent, which on the same road, is in a state of disrepair and is a thoroughly depressing place. There’s also some sort of migrant’s cemetery across from the military sites, I forget the details exactly, but I believe they were mainly Eastern European names on the tombstones. I don’t believe they were Armenian, which might have been the obvious answer. However, if I recall, the dates on the tombstones were around the Second World War. Which raises the possibility that they were Jewish immigrants heading for Israel.

I might well post some shots on Remembrance Sunday, but I shall certainly look into the Eastern European site.

If anyone has a clue as to the background of the "Eastern European" site, I'd love to know.