A Refugee Story

Over the past few weeks I have felt an incredibly wide range of emotions when reading what has appeared on many of my friends’ FaceBook profiles concerning the Syrian refugees coming to Canada.  At times I have been enraged, angered, saddened , disappointed and amazed by the memes, comments and articles posted.  Fortunately the rage and anger, never productive emotions, are short-lived and most often give way to sadness, disappointment and amazement.  I believe amazement has been the most prevalent emotion – amazement at how little I really know many of the people that I have worked, played, eaten, celebrated and grieved with over the past sixty-nine years.

This Norma Rockwell cover is from 1943 and probably refers to the Italian campaign.  Some things just do not change.

Disappointment comes a close second. Disappointment that many have forgotten the stories of their own families’ arrival in Canada: the adversity that they had experienced in their homelands; the dangers they faced in their journey to their new homeland; and the welcome and help they received.  To then see these friends  hide behind the sanctimonious excuse that “we should look after our own homeless first” only adds further disappointment.  Where would they be now if that had been the cant at the end of the Second World War, during the Hungarian Revolution, the expulsion of the Jews from Poland, the wars in Lebanon and Vietnam, the political oppression in Eastern Europe, Spain, Portugal, Haiti and many parts of Africa?  Where would they be if their families had been turned away because “we have to look after our own first”?

I am fortunate that my own family’s story is a fairly uneventful one but I’d like to share a story from a gentleman who knows the refugee experience.  Artur Wilczynski is currently our Ambassador to Norway but the path that has brought him there is a story worth telling and worth reading:

A left click will take you to Artur Wilczynski’s refugee story.

Finally I am sadden when I realize there is no point in arguing with many of these friends; that even stories such as Artur’s will not change their minds. Those memes, comments and links reflect how they honestly feel about refugees coming to Canada.   And whither I like or agree with those thoughts they are free to have and state them.  That is one of the reasons their families came to Canada!

On this day in 1940: In Romania, the ruling Iron Guard fascist party assassinates over 60 of arrested King Carol II’s aides and other political dissidents.

Author: Willym

A senior with the heart of a young'un

5 thoughts on “A Refugee Story”

  1. I know what you mean, Will. But I still believe that most Canadians want to do the right thing. It’s like the haters who firebombed the only mosque in Peterborough after the Paris incidents. I just read on cbc.ca today that the local synagogue has invited the now displaced Muslims to use their facilities for prayers. THAT’S the Canada I want to see!

  2. I feel you on this one. I don’t understand how things like prejudice and bigotry were things people formerly kept to themselves about and now feel like it is their right to broadcast openly. Or how when they do say “we need to take care of our own” they also will not do a thing to take care of our own either, because that would be a government handout. I’m just so tired of all of it. Strange times indeed.

  3. I don’t do Facebook but I like the occasional peek at J’s in his 12 Star Gallery capacity. And if anything I regret that most voices are too like-minded It insulates us too much from the real spectrum of opinions. So your experience is disheartening. Would i want to be friends with someone who lacked compassion for people who’ve lost so much? I hope not, though i can argue it out with the ‘Europe can’t do this indefinitely’ opiners.

  4. Same things happening and said here in Idaho, the home of gun toting ranters. If we (yes, add me) had taken care of our homeless and poor here it might be a smidge different, but we haven’t. I have learned to just be quiet. Sounds cowardly, but there are very few people, in this state anyway, that feel anything but Trump is a savior and close the state borders……Idaho’s from Canada too because you know “they” will sneak across. What a beautiful story from Artur.

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