Being Canadian – a warm welcome for refugees

When you choose a country to study in, it is so valuable to know the values of the society.

One of the qualities that has long defined Canadian society is reaching out to help those facing war, famine or other desperate situations. Canada even has a program in which groups of Canadians can sponsor individuals or families in such situations.

One of the biggest extensions of help from Canada in the last several years has been to those fleeing the conflict in Syria. For the most part Canadians recognize that this type of welcome is honourable considering so many of us or our ancestors came from such circumstances. But more than this, Canadians also know from experience, that this type of outreach also ends up enriching our lives and our society.

There are many good examples of this in an article published in Open Canada by Maan Alhmidi, himself a relatively recent refugee from Syria to Canada. One example is that of Leen Hamo.

"Leen Hamo came to Toronto more than three years ago with a passion for Arabic music that she didn’t give up. The 29-year-old grew up in Aleppo, . . In 2018, she met percussionist Nour Kaadan and guitarist Tarek Ghriri, a Syrian couple that had arrived in Toronto a year earlier. The three newcomers decided to form a band aimed at reviving Syrian traditional music with a flamenco twist… Kaadan said the idea of the band was to introduce Syrian music to Toronto audiences, so they can learn more about the Syrian newcomers living among them. Kaadan and her two partners wanted to do that “by presenting music and art and how Syrian people are creative and nice, even though they fled war,” she said.

A sample performance of their musical group, known as Diar, can be found here: https://youtu.be/W6c1AcHNqCs

You can read Maan Alhmidi’s entire article on the experience of Syrian refugees in Canada here: https://opencanada.org/protected/

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mments and questions may be sent to blog@cuac.ca

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