While our first instinct is to say that every life is worth saving, every life is precious, no matter what the risks or the costs involved; our actions show a great contradiction.
For example, in the Gaza Offensive (Operation Protective Edge) currently unfolding between Israel and Palestine. As every state has the right (and duty to their citizens) to defend itself. So far 63 Israeli Soldiers have been killed, along with 3 civilians. On the other side, numbers fluctuate around 1200 Palestinians killed. That is a ratio of 1 Israeli killed for every 17 Palestinians. Does this means that an Israeli life is more valuable than a Palestinian one?
Another example. There is an Ebola outbreak in Western Africa. So far 750 people have died. In what is like a script of a B-Rated Zombie movie, while the World Health Organization is starting to mobilize more resources and raise international awareness, and the CDC is setting quarentine units in some international airports and has issued a Level 3 Alert in the United States, two volunteers (Doctor Ken Brantley and Nancy Writebol, working for charity Samaritan Purse and SIM, both religious based) are being flown from Liberia into Atlanta for treatment. How many resources are being mobilized to fly in two patients, while on the ground there are thousands at risk who have no choice of being rescued?
In a less dramatic example, there are many Canadian Passport bearing Citizens outside of Canada. When there is some crisis, they expect, as every Canadian Citizen, to be evacuated out of harms way into some safe place. Never the less they have not lived a single day in Canada, nor paid taxes, nor shoveled snow in our winters, but they have exactly the same rights as I have. This prompted the Harper Government to produce bills that gives the Canadian Government the right to remove someone’s Canadian Citizenship under certain circumstances, creating a double standard, some Canadian Citizens are more Canadian than others, immigrants can be stripped out of their Citizenship, but “true Canadians” cannot. The Khadr Family, Father Ahmed, and Son Omar can be cited as examples. Both have had ties to charities with ties to terrorist organizations, yet come to Canada for access to health care .
At the end, these problems could be resumed as a problem in inequality, and as in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, we cannot pretend to be all equal, but only less different.