From Syria to the Six
February 9, 2016 12:00 PM   Subscribe

What It's Like Experiencing Canada as a Refugee [video] “Amidst ongoing attacks from public figures such as Donald Trump, it's easy to forget that Syrians and other desperate refugees are, in fact, people. One person is pushing back and rolling out the red carpet: Kourosh Houshmand.

“Student, journalist, and self-proclaimed ‘Middle-Eastern Harry Potter,’ Kourosh knows firsthand the struggles of being displaced—he was born to an Iranian immigrant family in Toronto. Now, he wants to pay it forward.

“On December 31, 2015, Kourosh linked up with Nazar Poladian—a newly arrived Syrian refugee—to send off the past year in style, shed some light on what it's really like to be a Syrian refugee, and usher in the new year on a fun, positive note.”

(A bit more of an off-the-cuff and in-depth look than this previous story, especially given the personal experiences of the interviewer.)
posted by mr. manager (6 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
oh man, no one should have to learn to skate in Nathan Phillips Square. There aren't even any boards to lean on!
posted by GuyZero at 12:11 PM on February 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

I really enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing.
posted by xarnop at 2:16 PM on February 9, 2016

Here's the video on YouTube for folks like me who couldn't get the site scripts to play nice.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:26 PM on February 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

I was delighted by how insane the concept of jaywalking seems to people from places that don't have the concept. Then they started talking about bombs...
posted by srboisvert at 2:59 PM on February 9, 2016

Ok so after seeing "self proclaimed Middle Eastern Harry Potter" I couldn't help but post this response:

Vancouver Translink Knight Bus ... for the wayward witch or wizard, or the lost Syrian refugees, who are new to town.

Sometimes the world makes me a little bit more happy.
posted by chapps at 10:13 PM on February 10, 2016

I was delighted by how insane the concept of jaywalking seems to people from places that don't have the concept. Then they started talking about bombs...

Yes, this exactly.

But that is kind of what it is like, isn't it, when you talk to someone in such a situation?

Last night my refugee sponsorship group had a fundraising concert and a young Syrian who had come to Canada a few years ago through the student refugee program spoke at intermission. It was similar to this video in that when we all went to have tea and a cookie (thanks brownie troupe!) he was the "celebrity" and everyone wanted to touch base and say hello. Only it was the delightful social justice church ladies and neighborhood folks, not new year's young party crowd, but still, just the same in spirit as in the nightclub in the video. Lots of smiles, lots of talk about food missed, or places near Syria or in Syria that people had traveled. And talk of how many dead, and how hard to register the dead when all ID is lost. And then favourite cookie recipes are exchanged.

Anyway, this lovely student has been in Canada three years, and was thrilled to be asked to volunteer with our group. He'll be helping with translation, and he is just keen to give back "now that I am settled, I want to help like everyone helped me" he said.
posted by chapps at 10:37 PM on February 10, 2016

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