If you ask Russell Peters, refugees are like any other North Americans — they're just in a very different place.
The comedian said as much in a Tuesday press conference after he visited the Za'atari refugee camp in Amman, Jordan at the invitation of the Canadian Embassy, The Associated Press reported.
"These aren't just poor people that got displaced," he said. "These are doctors, these are lawyers, these are professional people, skilled people, tradesmen, family people.
"They're not very different than us, they're the exact same people, they're just in a bad place."
Peters said that, although refugees are grateful for people's kindness, many don't want to go to North America because they're "just biding their time" in the camp until they can go home to Syria.
That statement adds some clarity to a Globe and Mail story from December, which said refugees are reluctant to travel to Canada.
"Given the circumstances they're in right now, and how they're thriving and making the best of it, I think they can only become an asset to whatever country they end up in," Peters said.
Pictures captured during the comedian's visit show him meeting with performers currently living at the Za'atari camp.
In an Instagram post, he said that "living in North America and relying on the media to keep us informed is a very lazy way of discovering information.
"Seeing it firsthand and talking to the actual humans that are displaced from their beloved homes, really made me understand that they (while they're appreciative) just want the peace of mind to be able to just go back home," he wrote.
Today I had the privilege of going to the Syrian Refugee Camp in Jordan #ZaatariRefugeeCamp it was a very eye opening experience... Living in North America and relying on the media to keep us informed is a very lazy way of discovering information... Seeing it first hand and talking to the actual humans that are displaced from their beloved homes, really made me understand that they (while they're appreciative) just want the peace of mind to be able to just go back home... They are not the freeloading, runaways that they are portrayed to be... They are human beings like u and I and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect #NegativeCommentsWillBeDeleted #LiveAndLetLive #Jordan #Canada
In his press conference, Peters added, "As a comedian, you know, we're the truth tellers in this world. We say what actually happens.
"So for a person like me to go and see firsthand what I saw, it's up to me to spread the word of what's, quote unquote, BS."
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