“This Land is Your Land”

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Source: http://www.unhcr.ca/where-we-work/syria/

I’ve considered avoiding this topic because it’s quite sensitive, but ultimately concluded that it’s too important not to share. I’m also not going to pretend to know all the facts. What I will ask right out of the gate however, is that before you spew hatred and racism, do your own research. Stop sharing nonsense, nonfactual infographics on facebook – and for the love of God, don’t believe everything you read. If you are uninformed, as many of us are, and you are looking for a “coles notes” version of what’s going on. Check out this link from World Vision and this one, from MercyCorps.

I have never quite understood the realities that go on around the world. Of course, the media has propogated war and global extremism but none of this really hit home – so you can say it’s been relatively simple to pass it off and continue to live in our wonderful bubble of peace, prosperity and love. Let’s be honest – I’ve been ignorant, admittedly. It wasn’t until I started seeing the hatred that was being shared all over social media regarding “these people”, or as I see them – Syrian refugees and human beings. The fear mongering that Stephen Harper exuded during his political campaign for another term of Prime Minister was so anti-Canadian that I really had to take it upon myself to understand what was really going on. Clearly, his tactics worked to some degree to scare people into believing that innocent refugees are being sent into Canada to wreak havoc. For the life of me, I cannot understand why people believe this nonsense! Families, living in refugee camps among horror, fear, hatred, death – they are so desperate for help that they are fleeing their homes and lives and wanting salvation from a country where they don’t know the language, have no home, no belongings except the clothes on their backs. Yet, I read Facebook posts from “friends” stating that Canada should not be spending millions of dollars to help “these people” when there are issues and “injustice” going on here. That as “pure bred” Canadians they are ashamed of this country and our new prime minister Justin Trudeau. Do me a favour, google “syrian refugees” and check out the images of “these people” living in horrendous conditions. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.

Who are we to judge who has a right to enter “our” country? Living in Canada as far as I’m concerned is a privilege, not a right. Most Canadians are here because somewhere in our ancestry a relative wanted to come to Canada to  build a better life for their family and future generations. I was born in Canada, as were my parents. This does not make me “pure bred” anything…it makes me a human who won the birth place lottery. I’ve never been more proud to call myself Canadian, and that is entirely thanks to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the hope that he has provided me with for a future that I can be proud of, and my children will be a part of. The diversity of Canada is what makes it so remarkable. The peace keeping nature is what I was always taught makes Canadians stand out and admired while abroad. A Canadian flag on your back pack around the world is a symbol of peace and freedom, respect and kindness.

When I watch the news and see refugees arriving in Toronto, being welcomed by Mr. Trudeau and given warm jackets, teddy bears, handshakes, smiles and hope – I am overcome with joy. As a parent, my heart aches to think that the children arriving here have probably never truly understood how to live without fear, and to enjoy playing freely. Illnesses and injury have plagued families, and yet here in Canada we have access to free health care. Once again, this is such a privilege, one that many Canadians often take for granted.

Shame on you Canadians who feel that the issues that occur here are of more importance than anywhere else around the world. No life is any more valuable than another. Yes, we have homelessness, and poverty, and violence – I doubt that will ever go away. This does not mean that our doors should remain closed, and all money should be spent towards fixing this. We need to think globally – and helping others around the world is equally important to helping those on home soil. This is not an us versus them situation. As a prosperous nation, it is our responsibility to help those in need and to send the message that the abomination of what is going on in these war torn countries must end.

As for the refugees coming to Canada, in elementary school a popular song was often sung to teach the values of sharing this beautiful Country and so I share this message with you: “this land is your land, this land is my land –  this land was made for you and me”. YouTube video




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