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Inaction on Lebanon deaths: El Akhras

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Section: Canadian News Geography: Quebec Montreal, Lebanon Topics: summer war

December 19, 2006

Inaction on Lebanon deaths: El Akhras

by Stefan Christoff

Almost four months have passed since Montrealer Hassan El Akhras lost 11 family members to an Israeli air strike in the south Lebanese village of Aitaroun. Currently, legal representatives of the family are pressing the Conservative government for action on the case.

Despite existing legal efforts, Hassan El Akhras holds little faith in the current government. "The government has done nothing," says El Akhras. "Our family wants the Canadian government to launch an international investigation on the war crime committed against my family, but we have gotten no phone call, nothing."

The El Akhras family was well respected in Montreal and ran a successful pharmacy in Côte-des-Neiges. Their death shocked many Montrealers this past summer, stirring debate about the war that many felt was unjustified in its scale and choice of targets.

"Montreal's Lebanese community feels increasingly alienated from Canadian politics," says Bassam Hussein of the Lebanese community centre El-Hidaya. "Reaction on the part of the Conservative government concerning the El Akhras family enforces that alienation."

"Sometimes I feel that the Conservative government views Arab life as less valuable than others," says El Akhras.

Stefan Christoff

[This article originally appeared in the Montreal Mirror.]

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