Posted on Jan 19, 2016
Let's greet Syrian refugees with love and respect - Op Ed
By Ricardo Miranda
My name is Ricardo Miranda. I’m a member of the legislative assembly of Alberta representing the constituency of Calgary-Cross, and I’m a proud resident of northeast Calgary. However, before I was any of these things, I was a refugee, fleeing a wartorn country, hoping for a better life.
I was born in Nicaragua, but my family was forced to flee my country of birth while I was still a child. Many similar families have been forced to flee Syria today. My parents didn’t flee a wartorn and dangerous country to cause conflict in a new one. They came to get away from conflict and anger, and because they wanted a safe home to raise their family.
I was incredibly saddened to hear that some recent Syrian refugees were pepper sprayed. I can remember the state that I and my family were in: we were fleeing a place of strife and conflict, we were confused and distressed, we were sapped of energy from stress and worry, yet we were hopeful for a better future. If we had been attacked or assaulted upon entering the country, it would have been disastrous to our outlook and hopes of a better life here in Canada.
Today, I’m a proud Canadian. I’ve earned the right to be a Canadian. I grew up here, I’ve worked my way through a number of careers and I now hold a public office. I like to think I’ve been a positive addition to our great and diverse nation. I wouldn’t have had that chance if doors were slammed, or if I had been met with hostility every step of my journey.
The world is in a state of disarray. Hate, bigotry, racism and fear are clouding the minds of good people who have lost their way. Canada is a country of infinite kindness, youth, forgiveness and optimism. I understand that there are legitimate concerns in regards to refugees, but we can address those concerns without dispersing more hate, without spreading more fear.
I served as a flight attendant with Air Canada for 15 years. I’ve travelled this world and I’ve seen first hand how Canadians were treated. And how was that? With the utmost respect. Why? Because we were known as the nation that always reciprocated that respect. Kindness is woven into the fabric of who we are as Canadians.
I ask that you open your minds, your hearts, and remember who we are and where we’re from, and what we represent. The boy that came here 28 years ago wouldn’t be the man he is today without it. I simply ask you to provide the refugees coming into Canada with the same love, respect and kindness I was shown.
Ricardo Miranda is NDP MLA for Calgary Cross.
Published on: January 19, 2016 CALGARY HERALD