Canadians are awesome, tolerant, opening and welcoming.
To a degree, but even to the point of self delusion.
We often feel morally superior to the Americans, particularly now as they slide from proto-fascism to soft fascism to jackboot fascism.
But the recent Conservative Party leadership race is institutionalizing and normalizing the kind of racism and xenophobia we are seeing in America.
We are opening and welcoming to refugees of the world, yet we are celebrating “Canada’s” 150th birthday this year while continuing to neglect our constitutional obligations to keep life on First Nations reserves above that of developing countries. Oh and “consulting” with First Nations over tarsands, pipelines and other resource extraction ghouls instead of recognizing aboriginal title [shhh, don’t say “consent” though!].
Consent, not consult.
We settler Canadians persist in remaining blind to an intersectional lens because we aren’t adopting a position of humility and asking those we oppress and occupy what their truths are. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is start of a process past that phase of condescending ignorance, but we must build on that as we pivot to a land of dignity, respect and equality.
But what about all the refugees we are bringing in, and patting ourselves on the back.
In a disturbing, sensationalist, racist-luring Reuters spin job yesterday, we find that 25% of Canadians support a refugee ban:
One in four Canadians say Ottawa should have adopted a temporary halt on Syrian refugees in response to the United States’ controversial travel ban, though the majority supported the government’s current immigration plan, an Angus Reid Institute poll showed on Monday.
But they missed the point: 75% do NOT support a ban on refugees. Isn’t that the real news story?
Plus, the poll asks if we support a refugee ban in response to the US travel ban. NOT, for instance, in response to anything going on with refugees in Canada. No. The poll asked if we should have a ban because the American racist President wants one.
Is that how we’re supposed to make policy now? A racist xenophobic narcissist megalomania wants to ban people, so we need to decide if we should too? SERIOUSLY?!!!
But here’s our way out.
The brilliant and insightful Jasmin Mujanović has zoned in a few key points:
- He notes that refugees bring insight to our countries: insight about how other societies crumble. But how easy is it for us to ignore them because they don’t know our socio-political culture. But maybe that’s the point. They have fresh eyes.
- He also notes that we use refugees as a feel-good, self-congratulatory policy. We don’t seem to care much about them once we bring them into the country. But we should be paying heaps of attention to them so we can understand how to make their transition more effective and to learn what we should do for the next waves of refugees that are [surely] coming.
Enjoy these snippets, then follow the link to read the rest of it. You won’t be sorry!
Within the broad framework of liberal values, the moral and ethical imperative of sheltering and accommodating displaced peoples is widely embraced, even where concrete policy initiatives are lacking. Yet the political and historical experiences and reflections of refugees are dismissed as categorically irrelevant. It is why writing about and research on the refugee crisis and the broader phenomenon of displacement is almost entirely devoid of actual refugee voices, experiences, or accounts. We are quick to splash their lifeless bodies across our front pages but seemingly uninterested in anything more than pornographic accounts of their suffering.
In short, the refugee experience — the experience of being undocumented, displaced, and stateless — is anomalous, we claim. But the refugee counters: it is the inevitable consequence of living in a period of human existence defined by a mode of collective organization — the state — that is rooted in violence. All such regimes eventually collapse and therefore it is citizenship and static “nativity” which are the true anomalies.