New beginnings in Canada

Hussein Hamud and his wife, Kinda, along with their children – seven-year-old daughter Zeina and four-year-old son Kareem – moved to Meadow Lake from Syria last year. Here, the family is seen enjoying a day at Lions Park.

Hussein Hamud and his wife, Kinda, along with their children – seven-year-old daughter Zeina and four-year-old son Kareem – moved to Meadow Lake from Syria last year. Here, the family is seen enjoying a day at Lions Park.

by Phil Ambroziak

Even the quaintness of northwestern Saskatchewan isn’t enough to ward off feelings of unrest caused by conflict half a world away.

Originally from Syria, Hussein Hamud came to Meadow Lake close to a year ago. And, although he plans to make Canada his permanent home, he can’t help being affected by the goings on in his war-ravaged home country where millions have fled since 2011.

“As a Syrian man, I view what’s happening in my country and to my people as unacceptable,” Hamud said. “It’s so sad because a lot of people have lost their homes, family members and other loved ones. It’s tragic.”

The Syrian unrest began in the early spring of 2011 with nationwide protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s government, whose forces responded with violent crackdowns. The conflict gradually morphed from prominent protests to an armed rebellion after months of military sieges.

Last week, the Saskatchewan government announced it would put up $150,000 to help support Syrian refugees. Premier Brad Wall noted the province will work with settlement groups and private agencies to determine how best to use the money. He also hopes the province will be able to take in more refugees on a regular basis.

Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec and Manitoba previously announced funding to help Syrian refugees while there have also been calls for the federal government to do more to help since the recent drowning deaths of two Syrian boys and their mother.

“I still have friends and family over there, and I’ve lost many friends,” Hamud said. “Three of my close friends have been killed since 2012.”

Hamud is also devastated by how much loss there’s been in terms of Syrian heritage and culture since the conflict began.

“You can always rebuild buildings, but there’s no way you can restore the history that went with them,” he noted. “That’s something that can never be recovered.”

Hamud and his wife, Kinda, have been living in Canada since last November on temporary work permits while their children, Zeina and Kareem, are here on student permits. The entire family, however, expects to obtain permanent residency in the very near future. Hamud is currently employed as a project engineer with BMTR Ventures.

“Work was a big part of why we wanted to come to Canada, but I’d also heard a lot of good things about the country from friends,” Hamud stated. “I worked for several years with Petro Canada overseas where I learned a lot about what Canada has to offer. I also figured life’s too short to stay in one place.”

Since arriving in the Northwest, Hamud said his expectations have not gone unmet.

“We love it here,” he said. “I truly feel safe and happy in Canada, and am very grateful to be here. The people are very friendly. When they see their neighbours, they don’t see them as being African, Asian, European, First Nations or whatever, they see them for their qualities as human beings.”

That, he added, is a perspective that’s needed if peace is ever to be realized in Syria. This is also why he’s pleased with the recent announcement of support made by the provincial government.

“Maybe I don’t have what it takes as an individual to stop this crazy war, but I can do my part to raise awareness about it in Canada,” he said. “It’s everyone’s responsibility as human beings to do what we can.”

Advertisements
Comments
One Response to “New beginnings in Canada”
  1. Hussein Hamud says:

    I would like to thank you ‪‎Phil Ambroziak‬ for the opportunity to talk about my country.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: