The other day I woke up to a text from a friend with a CBC news article. Her and I use each other as sounding boards for when we’re really annoyed by something so I knew this would likely send me into a rant.
You can read the story here.
The first sentence of the article was enough to push me over the edge, “No one is going to make a Tim Hortons commercial out of Salah Awil Abdillahi’s Canadian story”. This entire article is seething with bias and malice. The writer, Jason Proctor (feel free to tweet him your outrage) goes on to explain that Adbillahi cannot be deported as Canadian Immigration Regulations state that even if someone has been stripped of their legal status in Canada, they cannot be deported back to a country where their life is at risk.
Abillahi hails from Mogadishu, Somalia. Proctor touches on the current state in Mogadishu as having a constant threat of violence, which, had he done any research, he would realize is very true. The entire country of Somalia has been plagued by civil war, famine, drought, poverty, and disease for a very long time. More research into things like culture shock and integration would have also taught Proctor that many refugees come to Canada and experience PTSD along with a variety of other mental and physical health issues that can directly affect their behavior.
When I read this article I see the story of a man who came from a completely different culture. One that differs from Canadian culture in a multitude of ways from laws, boundaries, time management, social acceptance, etc. I see a man who struggles with alcohol addictions issues but comes from a culture where seeking help is non-existent. I see a man who has never lived by the law because there were no laws. I see a man who likely has PTSD that has only been exacerbated by his brain injury. But that is not how Proctor frames it. Instead, he feeds into the fear and racism that thrives on biased writing such as this. He uses statements like, “Abdillahi’s pathetic plight began shortly after her arrived in Canada with his mother”, “he has worked for a total of four months in the past decade….but left those jobs and became an alcoholic” to further perpetuate his agenda of painting Abdillahi as worthless.
I have had experience working with refugees and in that time I met many young men and women struggled with PTSD and the integration process. There was a lot of anger in some individuals mixed with confusion and despair. They had lived for so long in a state of fight or flight that their immediate reaction to anything that threatened them was to fight. Some fell victim to addictions while others had their own share of run ins with the law. But behind all of these things stood a human being who had seen and experienced things that I couldn’t even fathom in real life or create in my nightmares. People who had never had the supports we are afforded here in Canada and struggle to grasp the idea of mental illness and counseling. That direct experience gave me this knowledge and world view, but it’s one that many people in Canada lack. This is apparent not only from this article and the journalist who wrote it, but from the many people commenting on the article, referring to Abdillahi as “garbage” and worthless of life.
Proctor should be ashamed of himself for writing such garbage and projecting so much hate onto Abdillahi.