Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Canada's Syrian Refugees: Outing our
By Eric Walberg
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, December 24, 2015
Canadian Muslims welcome Syrian refugees, 2015
Canada's yuletide welcome of 10,000 Syrian refugees (target 25,000 by
February) continues to draw criticism. Originally, the criticism was from
the Conservatives, arguing that a hasty infusion of thousands of Syrians
would represent a security risk. One of the Paris bombers was reportedly
carrying a Syrian passport. It turned out that the passport was a forgery
(common practice among desperate immigrants everywhere), and all the
alleged bombers were European citizens.
Nonetheless, Canada decided
to limit Syrians to families, single women and children. This sounds like
a human rights violation: discrimination against single men, on the
pretext that they could be terrorists. Not fair, but understandable, given
the Paris bombings and the need to be seen to act carefully. There are
lots of women and children and married men still alive there to fill the
But some vigilant and politically correct Canadians are
raising a stink. Gay spokesmen have protested the exclusion of gay men
from the list of preferred refugees. "We know, firsthand, from those types
of countries, LGBT refugees are very vulnerable to violence and
persecution," said Pride Winnipeg's Jeff Myall.
Wait a minute.
Gays, so the conventional wisdom goes, have long been the much maligned
minority, victims of quasi-racism. Since Stonewall, newly integrated into
mainstream society, but always on the lookout for signs of homophobia. Now
western gays (the term doesn't even exist in the nonwestern world) are
exporting their newly minted agenda of 'equality, liberty, fraternity' not
only to Egypt, Iran and Russia, but of all places, Syria, joining the
sympathy bandwagon, not just as disinterested citizens by as disinterested
Reaching Out Winnipeg, a group that helps LGBTTQ
(lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer) refugees and
asylum seekers get settled in the city, is preparing for the arrival of
Syrian refugees. That is big-hearted of them, given Canada's Syrian
refugees are limited to women, children and families, clearly excluding
gay men and women, but they are not happy, and want a reversal of the
no-male policy to allow for self-proclaimed gay men (presumably they would
want self-proclaimed lesbians to get the nod as well). They are okay about
banning straight Syrians. But please, don't discriminate against gentle
gay guys. Only the straight ones.
Pride Winnipeg and Reaching Out
were awaiting a response to this issue from Immigration Minister John
McCallum. So what if McCallum caved? Wouldn't that make Canadian policy
sexist and heterophobic? 21st century political correctness continues to
The tricks of getting in
The standard policy in
Canada's immigration service has long been to favor families, especially
the post-WWII mom-pop two-little-kids families, where both parents speak
English or French, are university educated, with five plus years of
experience in hardcore professions like engineer, computers, and medicine.
This makes sense from Canada's point of view: they are not terrorist
risks, are easily integrated, easily employable, and profitable. The issue
of whether such a policy is just, or whether it is actually a major factor
in the braindrain from the third world to the first world, is never
Single males are already (unofficially) not allowed for
various reasons. Unless highly skilled, they are not good economic
prospects, will likely return to their original homeland with savings to
live as kings, or maybe they are gay, and not as likely to make a major
contribution to Canada's economy or produce children. The only way a gay
Egyptian, Costa Rican, etc, can emigrate to Canada is to marry a Canadian
expat at the embassy and thus slip through the net. A handful formerly
came as political refugees, but that works only if you are from a country
out of favour with the West, like Iran, or have managed to enter as a
tourist and then plead your personal case of discrimination at home, no
matter how tenuous. Risky but done.
The new marry-a-gay-Canadian
loophole is widely known, and encourages males, gay or straight, to abuse
it. Counters Pride Winnipeg's Jeff Myall: "With any type of scenario,
there's always the possibility that somebody's going to try to break the
rules. The main thing we fall back to is [that in] the culture that a lot
of these people are coming from, being LGBTTQ is extremely taboo ... If
you're caught at all by the wrong people, your life could be in jeopardy."
Not true. As immigration procedures are confidential, such a loophole
would likely be used without risk by Syrians, especially straights, to
take advantage of the current crisis and get the coveted invitation to
Canada, whatever their legitimate claims as imperiled refugees are.
Canada should be accepting "your tired, your poor, your huddled masses
yearning to breathe free" (whatever they might do in the bedroom), but
that policy happened only briefly in US-Canadian history, in the 19th and
early 20th century, when large numbers of (white) Europeans were needed to
take over all the native lands, allowing all Europeans who wanted to, to
come, making a white North America a fait accompli. Since then,
immigration has been much more selective, fuel for the economic engine.
And increasingly, now, regulated according to the new 21st century
politically correct agenda.
The humanitarian nature of the Syrian
deluge is not to be denied. It is a noble gesture by Trudeau, in fact, a
kind of silver bullet against terrorism, along with Trudeau's decisive
phone call to Obama hours after his election as Prime Minister to stop
bombing Syria and Iraq. The only way to fight ISIS responsibly is to “do
the right thing,” and expose their policy of violence as bad for Muslims,
bad for everyone. That means, in the first place, not follow the same
policy of violence, and, just as important, through humanitarian policies,
showing Canada's goodwill.
Even the mercenary (sic) subtext of who
is accepted does not deny the new lease on life for all immigrant
families, and the positive return for their countries of origin that their
future financial support of relatives left behind will provide.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephane Dion's first statement heralded a new
Middle East policy calling for reassessing the Harper pro-Israeli bias,
making Israel "a nonpartisan issue". “For us to be an effective ally we
need to strengthen our relationship with the other legitimate partners in
the region.” The refugee policy is also part of this. Insisting that the g
word be part of official government policy in deciding which Syrians are
welcomed is not. It will do nothing to improve things in Syria, and will
only encourage lying, cynicism and even contribute to resentment of openly
gay men there.
The gay issue is a
thorny one, abused by individuals desperate to snag a ticket to the
western dream, and by western governments to distract their own public
from serious issues of international relations between states which don't
follow a western agenda, in the first place, Russia and Iran.
interfering with other countries' internal affairs, this actually does
more harm to those who face discrimination in those countries. Whatever
their intent, international gay activists paradoxically end up replicating
and even strengthening in other cultures the very situation of repression
they set out to challenge in their own countries, as Joseph Massad argues
in Desiring Arabs (2007).
Today the civilising mission of the "Gay
International" (as Massad provocatively puts it) is to pluck individuals
out of their social setting, forcing them to define their very essence
according to certain acts, and then endow them with universal personal
rights to perform these acts and encourage others to perform these acts
wherever they like, be it in Teheran, Mecca or New York. In pursuing this
invasive policy, it continues the work of Christian missionaries, paving
the way for the economic system that imperialism seeks to spread across
the world, giving western forces more room to incorporate other societies
into its domain, and in the process, rewriting history.
policy clearly discriminates against men, but is understandable. It should
be 'all or nothing'.
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