Something must happen to our representatives when they are stationed down under. First we have Lebanon’s Consul General in Sydney, Robert Naoum, who filed a defamation lawsuit against an Australian blogger for calling him a ‘Zionist’. Naoum then went on to protest against paying legal fees (after losing the case), warning Australia that forcefully docking his salary would amount to a declaration of war between the two countries.
Let’s head over now to Melbourne where Lebanon’s Consul General has also been in the news:
An official complaint has been made to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade against the Consulate-General of Lebanon in Melbourne, Henri Castoun, for alleged interference in local government issues.
Darebin Mayor Diana Asmar has asked Mr Rudd, Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Lebanese ambassador Jean Daniel to intervene amid claims Mr Castoun threatened to report members of Melbourne’s Lebanese community to the Lebanese Government unless he was given a greater role in unveiling the statue [in honour of Australia’s Lebanese migrants].
A senior member of Melbourne’s Lebanese community said reporting someone to Lebanese authorities was a serious matter.
“When you say to someone from Lebanon you are going to report them, it means they are going to put their life in danger,” he said. “It means they are going to have someone waiting for you at the airport.”
The unveiling ceremony went ahead on November 19. Henri Castoun did not take part in the ceremony.