Tag: Refugees

Miss Myrtle’s Vancouver: Pomegranates Part 2

Before Daroo moved to Vancouver, he lived in Edmonton, Alberta. His sister had moved there, thanks to the UN Refugee Resettlement Program. A Canadian family sponsored him, so he travelled from Syria and Turkey to Canada, full of hope and expectations…

Edmonton had a thriving LGBTQ Community. He volunteered with a refugee support service, so thankful to be in Canada. Within a year, he met the man who would become his boyfriend. But it was very difficult to find a job. Daroo was unprepared for the open racism and discrimination that he faced in ultra-Conservative Alberta. He was not just called a fag and faggot, he was targeted as a Terrorist, after giving a public speech about the situation in Syria. He received death threats. He refused to remove the fact that he volunteered within the LGBTQ Community in Edmonton, from his resume. Finding a job became nearly impossible.

Daroo’s boyfriend was accepted into the Masters Program in Architecture at UBC, the University of British Columbia, and suggested that Daroo move with him, to Vancouver. He did, and immediately felt more at home in the City. Vancouver was more far more expensive and crowded than Edmonton. His frequent nightmares also put a strain on his relationship. Daroo and his boyfriend eventually parted ways.

Another door opened. Daroo applied to work at Save-On-Foods. His resume contained his volunteer work within the LGBTQ Community. The Manager who interviewed him, coaxed out the story of Daroo’s life in Syria, and his reasons for fleeing. He was hired on the spot.

With a job, came a shared apartment in a neighbourhood closer to work. More space to breathe and a sense of greater security. He built a small group of friends. His BA in English Literature lit a spark within Daroo. He wants to continue further studies at University, while continuing to work.

It goes without saying, that the young man who had lived through so much turmoil and terror in Syria, carried that same turmoil deep within himself, as he bravely navigated relative freedom, and a new life in Canada.

Daroo feels guilty that he is here, and his parents, other siblings and their families are still in North West Syria. As the impending Kurdish Genocide begins to unfold, he is filled with remorse for thinking only of his freedom. He wakes up in the middle of the night, in a cold sweat, worrying about his family and friends.

Rarely do those who suffer with PTSD, realize that it manifests itself without warning, dragging them into the darkness. This great challenge now facing Daroo, is one that so many other Canadians battle. Our mental healthcare and general healthcare systems are overwhelmed. There is a serious shortage of psychiatrists and psychologists. Getting an appointment to see one, requires a referral from another doctor.

The opioid crisis, the increase in refugees coming from oppression and war zones, plus our military and first responders need for psychiatric care, comes as a whole generation of doctors are retiring, and those who are now establishing their practices, are unable to take on new patients. This has all come together to create the perfect storm.

There is also serious shortage of general practitioners. I’ve tried to get Daroo into my exceptional Family Practice, but they are unable to take on new patients, even as the drastic need grows. Vancouver has some of the best coordinated healthcare in North America, thanks to Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health. They are desperate for more funding to meet the growing need.

Once again, am proud that Canada has welcomed so many Refugees in the past four years. The Federal and Provincial governments must address this healthcare crisis now, not down the road, and provide the additional funding needed. It is short-sighted not to do so. The long-term effects of untreated mental health issues, will push healthcare and related costs, through the roof. Daroo and Canadians across the Country, deserve the help they need NOW.

@UNHCR UN Refugee Agency @Refugees Cdn Council Refugees @ccrweb

The Kansas City Royals and American Pharoah Saved 2015

Dearies, have not written about American Pharoah capturing the almost unattainable Triple Crown and The Kansas City Royals coming back from the abyss to win the World Series, for fear that I would wake up and discover that it had all been a dream. A glorious dream, but none the less the gossamer wings of a dream…

American Pharoah (2)  Kansas City Royals Win World Series

As we enter 2016, am finding it difficult to express my sorrow over the horrific global events  of 2015. The Paris, San Bernardino and Charleston Church terrorist attacks have turned the World on its head. We have been shaken to our core.

Paris After ISIS Attacks 2 San Bernardino Charleston Church Victims

The continuing genocide in Syria with the relentless bombings of Syrian citizens by Vladimir Putin and Bashar Al-Assad, created a humanitarian crisis the likes of which the World has not seen since World War 2. The deliberate starvation of of Madaya and Zabadani, the flight of Syrian Refugees and our failure to act, have almost paralyzed us.

Syrian Refugee Camp  Alan Kurdi  ISIS Flag

The year started with the horrific massacre of French political cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine, by Al Quaeda. Al Shabaab, an Al Queda branch, murders 148 at Garissa University College in Kenya. ISIS – the radical Sunni brand, expands its House of War – exploiting the chaos of the Middle East, to Europe and beyond. Disenfranchised youth from around the World are answering their siren call. ISIS continued its public beheadings, the murder and sexual enslavement of tens of thousands of citizens trapped in their grasp and the destruction of historic landmarks,.

No one in their right mind could have predicted the rise of bombastic, bloviating buffoon Donald Trump. His high-jacking of the Republican Party and polarizing of The Angry American Right Wing is breathtaking to contemplate. The GOP Clown Car is full: Space-cadet Ben Carson proves that going off of your psych meds can be a very dangerous thing, and Carly Fiorina demonstrates that grinding Hewlett Packard into the dust was just a warm-up for a Presidential run.  Jeb Bush underscores the fact that Dubya was indeed a doofus. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are embarrassments to their Hispanic roots: Mike Huckabee and rest of this motley crew prove that GOP Jesus is a vengeful, hateful, hypocrite. NEVER in its history has the GOP sunk this low. Teddy Roosevelt is turning over in his grave!

GOP Clown Car Toon (2)    Donald Trump Putin Horse BFFs

Canada’s very own fascists, The Alliance Party-In-Conservative-Clothing, were vanquished by an angry Canadian electorate. Stephen Harper was relegated to the dustbin of History. The Liberal Party and Justin Trudeau – son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau were elected by acclamation. Mine was not one of his votes, but I do wish he and his Cabinet well. They have the Herculean task of undoing nearly 10 years of Harper damage. Especially wish my friend Harjit Sajjan well, as new Defense Minister. Australia’s ruling Liberal Party dumped their despotic leader, Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

HarperTrudeau Cabinet Tony Abbott

But I digress…

Watching American Pharoah and jockey Victor Espinoza romp home in the Kentucky Derby, for trainer Bob Baffert and Owner Ahmed Zayat, had my heart pounding. His victory in the Preakness Stakes left me breathless and fearfully hopeful. But his victory in the Belmont Stakes in early June, accomplished what no other horse has since Affirmed and jockey Steve Cauthen in 1978…They won the Triple Crown. It was the same feeling of elation I had, being at Belmont to see Affirmed win. The Heart of a Champions is biggest of all…

American Pharoah KD WinnersCircle

And then, that Cinderella of baseball teams, the Kansas City Royals – who knew only too well that defeat can be snatched from the jaws of victory, made it into the World Series again, looking to end a 30-year drought. What General Manager Dayton Moore and Manager Ned Yost did for team owner David D. Glass was magical. Salvador Perez, Drew Butera, Lorenzo Cain, Christian Colon, Johnny Cueto, Wade Davis,  Danny Duffy,  Jarrod Dyson, Alcides Escobar,  Alex Gordon, Kelvin Herrera, Luke Hochevar, Eric Hosmer, Ryan Madson, Kris Medlen, Raul Mondesi, Franklin Morales, Kendrys Morales, Mike Mousakis, Paulo Orlando, Alex Rios, Yordano Ventura, Edinson Volquez, Ben Zobrist  all played with The Heart of Champions.

KC Royals

So it comes down to this – Did Kansas City winning the World Series or American Pharoah winning the Triple Crown, stop the bombing in Syria, the carnage in Paris or the chaos in the Middle East? No, they did not. But sport is also  a metaphor for Life.

As that great wit and raconteur, the late and much-missed Yogi Berra said, it ain’t over til it’s over. Terrorism, genocide, refugee crisis’ – man’s inhumanity to man, will always be with us. Thankfully, the Kansas City Royals and American Pharoah continue to write their stories.  There will always be another pennant to chase, a baby champion to create  and an impossible race or game to win.

And there will always be a reason for Hope in The Better Angels of Our Nature.