Those Ungrateful Syrians

by Cookie


Let’s just send them home.

Yesterday I came across this article about some of the Syrian refugees that have been brought to Canada and are currently living in the Toronto area.

If you don’t  have time to read it, it talks briefly about how the government has brought these families over and put them up in hotels while they try to find them long term accommodations.

The families have been staying in motels for weeks, and in one case an entire month with no one communicating to them.  They don’t have winter clothes.  They don’t have winter boots.  They are basically stuck there with small children waiting and wondering if they have been forgotten about.  The families are frustrated, and the volunteers are worried about the lack of long term plans.

Immediately,  people start commenting about how these ungrateful people should be sent back to where they came from.  How dare they not just sit there and appreciate that they are in Canada at all?  The standard of living in Canada keeps going down and those Syrians are taking our tax dollars and should be thankful for everything they are doing for them.

Umm, what the actual fuck?

You’re worried about your standard of living and these people’s country has been completely destroyed?  They have NOTHING. Literally nothing.

Do you think that all the foster kids who get pulled out of abusive homes and end up living in a hotel room with a CFS worker should just shut up and be grateful?  And if they complain that they want a better life than that  we should threaten to send them back to a situation where their life is at risk?  Because you’re offended that your tax dollars are helping such an ungrateful human? This is NO DIFFERENT.

And what exactly have we done for them so far other than put them on a plane?

We have brought them here and given them nothing to prepare them for life as Canadians.  It’s the end of January and the kids don’t even have boots so they can go outside.

And if the parents speak up it makes them ungrateful?  They don’t have any patience?

No.  I don’t think it does.  One of the mothers actually said she would rather be in one of the settled refugee camps where at least there was some sense of community.  To me, that’s pretty indicative of how unacceptable their current situation is.

And that to me, is the key.  Some of the refugees coming here are extremely well supported by communities that have fundraised and prepared for the arrival of people in need.  Some of them, like the families in this article have been brought over and not given any supports.

Just because no one is pointing a gun at them or blowing up their fucking house doesn’t mean that they feel safe.  Are they grateful to not wonder if they will all be alive tomorrow?  I’m sure they are.  But I’m sure they aren’t grateful for the lack of medical attention for their kids.

I love Justin Trudeau.  I love his passion and his ideas and his actual desire to make this shitty world a better place.  But we can’t put the cart before the horse in order to make good on some campaign promise. We need a better plan so that the Syrians coming here have a chance at a real life again.

So instead of complaining about your standard of living, why don’t you find some empathy in your heart and think about what you would need  if your life was completely unsettled.  What would make you feel safe?  What things would you appreciate? How would you feel if you were cooped up in a two room hotel room in the middle of a Canadian winter with your six kids?  How would you feel if you were stuck in a place where you don’t speak the language and no one seemed to give a shit about what happens next?  How would you feel amongst all the uncertainty and the trauma from the war in your country?

One of my student’s parents was heavily involved in a fundraiser that earned 15K last week to support a refugee family coming in.  They have committed themselves to welcome these people into their community and support them as they start over.  And it made me ask myself, “what can you do?”  How can I help these people have a better quality of life once they’re here?

I just felt really ashamed to see the comments that I did.  I understand that many other people have come to this country as refugees and immigrants and have had to work hard to build themselves up.  I understand that that makes people feel proud and protective of their experience.  But to say ” I did it and I didn’t complain so fuck these assholes that have been through hell” is not acceptable to me.

So, try not to be an asshole today.  That’s the goal.  Help people who just had their whole life bombed out from under them.

Rant over.