Big Decision?

syria 3Life is great for offering you different perspectives; those perspectives are always there if you choose to look – no, if you choose to “see.”

This morning, my biggest concern was whether or not I wanted to work overtime tonight. I’m never forced to really do anything; my boss uses the Jewish/European mother technique – guilt. I know what he’s doing, he knows what he’s doing and he knows that I know that I know what he’s doing. Still haven’t decided yet – it all depends on how much computer work I do during the day. If my eyes are too tired, I’ll pack it in. Guilt only works as long as I allow and if I’m being threatened with a headache and burning eyes – guilt just doesn’t cut it.

But this is my big decision of the day. Then I read the news. Kind of puts my decisions and worries into a whole other sphere. Syria – I worked via e-mail with some vendors in Syria, due to the current embargo, I no longer have contact with them and I can’t help but wonder if they are still well, if they still have a job or even a workplace that has not been reduced to rubble. Did they have family killed into the warfare over there? Did the use of Serin touch their families? Do they have access to food and water? And I’m pondering whether or not to work overtime. Yup, perspectives.

We aren’t rich, by North American standards. We are the working class. Myself, my husband, my children and most of my relatives; we’ve been working class for quite a few generations. We are far better off, economically, than were our relatives in the working class, in decades past. We have a home, not a cramped apartment; we have a backyard, we have food in the fridge, in the cupboards. We can afford medication when we’re sick. We have a vehicle, we would have 2 vehicles if I drove.

I have a pretty good computer, internet, cable television and the electronic gee gaws that go with it. We owe money, more than some and far, far less than others. We can pay our debts and we do, slowly perhaps, but they get paid. We’ve been in far, far worse shape, financially, than we are now. We don’t belong to a golf club, we don’t have season seats to anything and we don’t buy designer products.

To someone in Syria right now? I am akin to the people who live on Mount Royal (a very, very chi-chi place to live in Montreal). I am an object of envy. I have the privilege of getting up and going to a job that pays darn well. I have the joy of going to work and not worrying that bomb may explode, tearing me or people I love to shreds. I can go to the store and buy necessities from well stocked shelves. I have hot water and hygiene facilities.

To someone in Syria – I am among the very, very privileged. And I dare to think the question of overtime is worth a ponder?

An Islamic family moved in across the street from us, in our very white bread neighbourhood. I can’t help but wonder what brought them here? What caused them to leave their home country and come to a place so totally different? Different culture, food, language and religions. Someone I know had, sadly, not an unexpected reaction – fraught with bigotry and hatred – for a family unknown, with children. A family, that no doubt, sits down to dinner, a family where the kids are helped with their homework, made all the more difficult because of the language. A normal family. It saddened me greatly. I figure, you have my attention and my support for as long as you show yourself worthy – I don’t care about your culture, your skin colour or your religion; you are a member of the human race and simply because my genes mutated somewhere along the line and made me whiter than white…doesn’t lessen or greaten either one of us.

Their only crime is to wish for a better life for themselves and for their families.

Yup, that overtime decision is kind of a petty and silly one, when put into perspective.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Big Decision?

  1. When I see newly immigrated Islamic folk I often think…imagine moving to a country where the people in general do not know the difference between an Egyptian and a Saudi or an Iranian. Imagine that this country has been at war with more then one of those countries. That the people almost generally consider your race a bunch of hate mongering misogynistic fundamentalist lunatics. Where you know yourself and your children will face bigotry, suspicion, and be despised.
    But you move there anyway, because it will be a “better” life.
    Imagine what life use to be like.

  2. Colleen

    I am always in awe of the courage it takes to move your family away from everything you have ever known, to a place so completely different in every way. I hope your new neighbours fare well there.

    Hatred has always existed, but good people far outweigh the bad. You will show them that not all Montrealers are jerks.. Maybe you’ll make new friends and goodness knows, they could probably use some.

  3. Yes.

    Martin keeps telling me about the backlash going on in England after the killing of a soldier there. Lots of anti-Muslim feeling over there, and building. He asks me how I didn’t know about this “feeling on the street”. Well, that’s easy, all my contacts in England are decent folk, I don’t have any racists on my contact lists. Who he chooses to socialize with is his own affair, but I dropped like a hot brick any old friends who voiced bigoted opinions over the years, so I simply don’t hear them.

    Anyway, the point is it’s getting ugly. When he was telling me about it my comment was “How scary to be Muslim in England right now”. Immigration is not a decision taken likely, believe me, but after a time a place becomes HOME, and for your kids it is the only home they’ve ever known. To find you are not welcome in your own home has to be the direst situation there is. Echoes of pogroms.

    I wish I knew where all this was going, but I know who to blame. I blame, squarely, the extremists, because no matter who you are, what side you are on, or any history you have, as you rightly say, ordinary people who go about their lives, working for a living, raising a family, minding their own business are no trouble to anyone. It’s those with power, however obtained, who then insist on pushing their ideaologies/religion/politics/whatever onto others that fuck everyone’s lives up.

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