Syrian refugees: Are others left out of the generosity?

December 18, 2015

By Catherine Rolfsen, CBC News |

They endured war, Islamic extremism, and years of limbo in a refugee camp.

But when they finally walk through the airport gates in Canada, the Prime Minister isn’t there to greet them. There’s no welcome party, no news cameras rolling.

Why? They’re Iraqis.

These past few weeks, we’ve seen some beautiful airport arrivals, and heard heartwarming stories of the generosity of strangers.

But in our rush to welcome Syrian refugees, some communities say they’re being left out.

“At some point, the refugee crisis in Canada became the Syrian refugee crisis. And that’s troubling,” says Daniel Tseghay, an activist in Vancouver’s Eritrean community.

Tseghay says he’s proud of Canada’s commitment to settle 25,000 Syrian refugees.

But he worries the world is forgetting about other refugees and migrants fleeing war and dictatorship.

And he says this selective sympathy exists in Vancouver too.

“There is a visibility or a lot of attention put on a certain class of refugees and another is absolutely ignored. Many members of African communities are noticing.”

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