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Today, I'm 47 years old and Canada has been my home for almost 28 years. To this day, whenever I experience difficulties in life or in my career, I feel sadness and regret at not having my father me to help me through the difficult times.
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I spent over a week in Jordan at the beginning of January, with the Syrian American Medical Society visiting non-profit clinics in Jordan where the Syrian refugees were populated and went into the camp to work in their Medical Centre. I did not know what to expect going into the camp, now termed the fifth largest city in Jordan.
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My family came here with only the belongings they could carry with them to give themselves and their children an opportunity to have a better life. Within one generation, I achieved a law degree. I have contributed, and continue to contribute, to the Canadian community. I am but one example of thousands, evidence that should easily persuade you to conclude that assistance to refugees is a solid investment in the future of our nation, and not simply an act of charity.
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Consider what is happening in Syria even as we read these words. Aid agencies have become so desperate for help that they repeatedly call upon the affluent West to step up and assist the 9.3 million people living at risk, and the 3.5 million Syrians living under siege. Surely these people matter to us, right?
Imagine four-million people uprooted by war and struggling to survive. I came away in awe of the perseverance, dignity and fortitude of the Syrian people. They were also wondering why the international community for the most part seems to have abandoned them in their hour of need. It was a fairly straightforward question, the answer to which I am still struggling to find.
Pluralism and democracy cannot flourish among people whose sensibilities are firmly rooted in doctrine and dogma. This psyche breeds bellicosity that often transforms into jihadist zeal.
One hopes that secretary of State John Kerry will be successful in forging a negotiated peace. With Assad firmly rooted in power, the chances of even a fragile peace are all but slim.