The Privileges of Citizenship

Americans are now being evacuated from Lebanon; Marine Corps Times has a nice article about the effort, and an excellent photo gallery. (HT: Michelle Malkin.) The photo below shows Marines helping Americans on to a vessel on the beach in Beirut:

Meanwhile, the Washington Times reports on the arrival in Baltimore of the first Americans to arrive home from Lebanon. I was struck by this family’s story:

“We lived through horror. … Just get out alive — that was it,” said Tom Charara, 50, an aerospace engineer from Long Beach, Calif., who was in southern Beirut with his wife, Rola, and their two children to visit Mrs. Charara’s parents.

The Chararas were in Beirut for 11 days before they found a way out, on a Norwegian cargo ship packed with 1,110 other passengers, mostly Dutch.

Mrs. Charara, who was born and raised in Lebanon, spoke to her father by phone as they rushed to leave. “I told him, ‘I’m leaving.’ He said, ‘Yeah, OK, that’s a good choice.’ And then I got disconnected,” said Mrs. Charara, a blue blanket draped over her shoulders. “I felt guilty. … Because I have an American passport I have the right to live?”

No. But an American citizen is a member of a nation that, most of the time, has the power to vindicate its citizens’ rights. And, for those now being evacuated, their citizenship means that they are entitled to the protection of the United States Marine Corps. Is that a high privilege? It is indeed.

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