EDITORIAL: Syrians need to be heard

Refugee crisis brought home by local students in Metchosin

It’s hard to put a face to a war that isn’t knocking on our doorstep.

Recently the image of three-year-old Syrian Aylan Kurdi’s body laying on beach in Turkey captivated audiences across the world and humanized a conflict many had previosly chosen to continue flipping past when it appeared on the evening news.

While two new students on the West Shore may have taken different paths than Kurdi, they are all too familiar with the horrors of daily life in Syria. These two refugees, now attending their first year at Pearson College in Metchosin, shared some of their experiences with their new classmates on Tuesday at a discussion on the Syrian refugee crisis. These experiences extended past bombs and included many things we here on the West Shore take for granted, like electricity for more than two hours a week.

But for them, their greatest disappointment was the way the world viewed the war in Syria. Their basic human rights, not to mention their lives, have been decimated as political powerhouses make a game out of this war.

They showed a short video when they finished saying their piece. The sound of a pin dropping could have been heard as the clip started to play, describing what Manhattan would look like if millions fled. The only screen this audience was glued to was the one playing in front of them as it announced that 1.5 million Syrian children have been forced to flee their homes.

Suddenly the war in Syria didn’t feel so foreign.

But the two Syrian students were not the only ones in the room with first hand experience overseas. A group of nine Pearson students travelled to Turkey this summer to work with Syrian refugees. Their experiences can only be imagined by some.

These young voices have stories to tell, and West Shore residents need to listen. It is not often that we can hear the first hand experiences of individuals who have lived through a war. Unfortunately, it is something that too many Pearson students, past and present, have in common.

Maybe by sharing their stories and learning from the experiences of their peers these students can go on to be the politicians, diplomats and peacemakers of tomorrow and create a world free of conflict. But for the time being their voices can shed a little humanity on the rest of us.

Just Posted

New roadside testing device can’t identify drug impairment says Vancouver lawyer

Lawyer says similar devices vulnerable to court challenge, testing for drugs different to alcohol

BC Transit offers high school grads free bus rides

2019 grads can choose two days in June to ride for free

Village Block Party returns to Cook Street

Sunday’s event brings vendors, entertainment and coveted dog race to Victoria’s Cook Street

Thursday sees mix of sun and cloud, high of 22 C

Plus a look ahead at your weekend forecast

Greater Victoria residents among the most credit-worthy Canadians

Yet debt levels continue to rise as Canadians owe $178 for every $100 earned

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Man in B.C. charged with murder and arson in 2016 New Brunswick death

He is charged in the death of 71-year-old Lucille Maltais, who was found inside a burned down home

Improve your life and theirs, adopt a cat from the BC SPCA

The BC SPCA holds an adult cat adoption promotion

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Most Read