by Liza Weymar and Radha Raina, Grade 9 students
Last week in Modern Studies 9, our class had the fortune of meeting two Syrian refugees in their early 20s who shared their personal stories and political views with us. These young men, Omar and Saddam, have been living in Victoria for about two years and have had many interesting experiences.
Since Omar has been in Victoria, he’s started taking post-secondary courses with a focus on global business studies in hopes of going back to Syria one day to use his knowledge to help his own country.
Both men stressed the fact that people in Syria and other war-torn places lead normal lives, while living in danger at the same time. Omar spoke about how he wished that the world would see Syria as the once happy place that it had been for so many years, not the war-torn country it is today. He hopes that we will soon start to see happy pictures of his home country in the media, and not pictures of bombs exploding on cities.
In many Middle Eastern countries, family is considered one of the most important things in life. For Saddam, whose father was killed at a very young age, his mother became a very large influence on his decisions. She told Saddam to come to Canada for his safety, unfortunately for Saddam that meant leaving many loved ones behind.
Saddam and Omar both had strong opinions on the current issues in the Middle East today. They brought forward many suggestions, such as how North American countries should be dealing with Syria. They said while Canada has been doing so much, North America needs to step back and let Syria solve their own problems. They said that the war in Syria is like two siblings fighting: you don’t come in from the outside and give them both guns to shoot at each other, you let them solve it themselves or you help them with peace. Violence never solved anything, they said, and ending bombings with more bombings is not the right way to solve the problem.
The piece that Omar and Saddam talked to us about that stuck out the most was that every place has good people and every place has bad people, and the current Syrian refugee situation is about giving the right people the right chances. If you don’t think you can make a difference in another person’s life, to simply understand and respect the people you meet could change the way that person views life.
We want to say thank you to Omar and Saddam for sharing a bit about their personal journeys through these difficult times.
(photos by Kyle Slavin)