Over the following months in 2001, the violence continued in Burundi between the rebels and the government. My passion for my work diminished. I no longer felt like doing anything. I even stopped watching the news on TV, or even listening to it on my own radio station. Everything looked hopeless. In 2002, some Canadian journalists visited Burundi. If I were going to ask for help, it was now or never. Six months later, they invited me to visit Canada, and I jumped on the opportunity. I arrived in Canada with $60 in my pocket -- my mother's life savings.
Luck is a word that very often is used with a negative connotation. "Oh, she's so lucky she had the chance to..." or, "He's so lucky he was at the right place at the right time." Jealousy comes to mind quite often when I hear the word "luck" used. Luck as it relates to business is something I think can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The report calls for a national plan to address violence against immigrant and refugee women and immigration policies that better support immigrants in precarious circumstances. It calls on the federal government to abolish the two-year conditional status for sponsored spouses, reinstate access to the Interim Federal Health program to all refugee claimants and uphold the privacy of all people who have access to social and health services.
Many International actors, including the U.S. government, support the Egyptian military, in the belief that Egypt's army can restore stability, and, in doing so, stem the flow of refugees out of Egypt. But it's the Egyptian military, through its stubbornness dealing with the conscientious objection issue, which generates refugees every day.
I was sitting on a bench inside the military court that day, accompanied by a military intelligence agent, waiting for my military judge to arrive in the courtroom. It was a spring day, in April 2011, just few months after the revolution started. It was the fifth time I was detained in Egypt because of my activism. It isn't that I can understand the situations of people facing injustice from afar, I can feel their pain, because it's my pain as well.
PM Harper, Kenney and his crew have been careful not speak publicly on immigration matters. But Kenney slipped up while unrolling the red carpet for the Irish, not long after he cancelled 300,000 patiently-waiting skilled workers' applications. "The employers in Canada are increasingly identifying Ireland as a great source of talent, hard-working, highly-educated folks who are culturally compatible," Kenney said.
We must face the reality of people like Kenroy and Denville who are punished as a result of laws that do not recognize the situation on the ground. We must address the unfair conditions under which we bring people over for this program, and provide them the services they are due. Canada set out to have a universal healthcare system that covers everybody, and it's about time that we did just that.
Lupita Nyong'o's moving speeches, the Dark is Beautiful campaign in India, and Anita Majumdar's play, Same Same But Different, have me in a different frame of mind as we approach International Women's Day. I'm not just thinking about women's rights and battles. I'm thinking about what it means to be a woman of colour in Canada.
How long does it take a new immigrant to be profiled in Montreal? Before you hazard a guess, place "black male" in front of immigrant and "racially" in front of profiled. The answer in my husband's case? One week. Bob crossed an intersection beside two white pedestrians. Singled out by a white, French-speaking police officer, Bob was asked to produce his identification without an explanation of his "offense." By the way, the two white pedestrians with whom Bob crossed the intersection were not stopped and interrogated.
I was born in South Africa, under apartheid -- a white child with every privilege. It was the year 1969, five years after Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison. In my first year at Queen's University, in 1990, Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison. My classmates were euphoric about what this would mean for South Africa. My optimism was more cautious.
A somewhat awkward, bespectacled Chinese man by the name of Xiao Wang wandered onto the stage of Holland's Got Talent. The PhD student announced he would perform a rendition of "La donna è mobile" from Verdi's Rigoletto. And that's when Judge Cornelis Willem Heuckeroth, who goes by the nickname Gordon, cracked his first joke: "Which number are you singing? Number 39 with rice?"
To be Canadian is to always feel just a little different than the cool kids. How can we compete when every one of us is an immigrant, or descendant of immigrants, and the mix of who we are changes constantly? Maybe we're asking the wrong question. If we took a closer look, we might find that we're cooler than we realize. Canadians have a unique relationship with our history. We're proud of the country we built, but ashamed of the steps we took to get here. For many of us, the easiest solution is to try not to look back at all. But when we don't know our history, we don't just miss out on a dusty old past. It makes it hard to imagine our future.
Approximately 20 per cent of Canadians cannot sing the words to "O Canada" without being hypocrites. They are atheists; "O Canada"'s words are theist in both languages. The words to "O Canada" need updating in both languages. This should not be difficult if we accept the notion of separation of church and state.
Obviously, the face of B.C., quite literally, is changing. Immigrants account for 45 per cent of the population in Vancouver, 52 per cent in Surrey, 59 per cent in Burnaby and 70 per cent in Richmond. Immigrant populations are rising everywhere, even in the whitest regions of the province. And they aren't buying what the NDP is selling. Big government. Vast social programs. Union allegiance.
Here in the "Canadian Mosaic," issues of race are largely stricken from the language of the everyday. We prefer not to speak openly about racism, for deconstructing it might chip away at that illusory façade of Canada as a nation of perpetual tolerance and chronic multiculturalism -- a delusion we all hold dear to our glowing hearts. Unfortunately for all those "liberal-minded" Canadians out there who view our country to be so forward thinking and accommodating that racism is a non-issue, institutionalized multiculturalism is not the same thing as social racial equality.
Just north of the city, I sat in a room full of frustrated immigrants who had gathered to listen to promises made by Cécile Kyenge, who just last week made history when she was appointed Italy's first black cabinet minister. In Italy, if you are a child of immigrant parents, you are considered extracomunitari, a "foreigner" before the law. But maybe not for long.
For many Canadians, racial discrimination is a ghost they've only seen in movies or sporadic outbursts inevitably baptized "isolated incidents". While this has become a part of everyday life for most Aboriginals and Canadians of colour, there is a persistent incredulous strain that refuses to acknowledge a problem exists.