Humanity Man: Kindness and Refugees

It was either the 14th Dalai Lama (or was it Ashton Kuchar?) who once said, “If you can, help others. If you can’t, at least don’t harm them.”

  I recall this quote as I write the first draft of this column in the heart of August. I pass that tidbit onto you, my fellow zombie, because I realize by the time you read this, you may be sick and tired of this subject.

  I’d like to remind you, though, that here in mid-August, you can’t even mutter the words Tamil or Sri Lankan refugees or MV Sun Sea without kicking one mother of a hornet’s nest.

  Judging by the comments I hear on radio talk shows, at my day job, or at the local coffee shop, it seems like every single person in B.C. has an opinion about the 492 human beings who crossed an entire ocean in hopes of a better life. 

  I don’t think we’ve seen this level of attention from the zombie populace since an entirely different 492 humans held hourly press conferences describing their secret trysts with some golfer named Tiger.

  Now, I am fully aware of the old adage about the similarities between having opinions and a certain part of our anatomy that I won’t name because this is a family-friendly magazine, but I have to admit I’m somewhat shocked and more than a little disappointed with my fellow citizens.

  And yes, I’ve listened to all the arguments about queue jumping and human traffickers and legitimate refugees versus bogus ones, yada, yada, yada.

  We’re all still being a bunch of selfish dicks, though.

  Take the queue jumping argument, for example. What is this “queue” people are talking about? If you’re a refugee fleeing persecution or even death in your homeland, do you really care about a line or not? I actually heard someone say, “Well, if you’re in a grocery store you need to wait in line, so this is no different.” I don’t get the connection between what the Tamils are dealing with and a bag of Doritos, so I must be missing something here.

  And yes, my fellow zombie, I’ve also heard how our Canadian government believes the Sri Lankan government’s claims that the Tamils are being treated fairly. I’ve also heard that the tar sands in Alberta are not harming our environment, that a certain provincial government was not considering something called the HST when they were elected, and that a chubby, jolly fellow would come down my chimney and leave me a boatload of presents once a year. Call me cynical, if you want.

  Anyway, the bottom line here is that Canada accepted roughly 20,000 refugees in 2009 which, according to the United Nations estimate of 15 million refugees worldwide, is a whopping 0.1% (that’s one tenth of 1%) of the world’s refugees that were graciously allowed into this country.

  Heck, I read somewhere else that Canada allows over 200,000 temporary foreign workers in each year. How big a deal does 492 people seem in relation to those numbers?

  All these arguments conveniently avoid the reality that unless you’re a member of the First Nations, we are all descendants of refugees and immigrants. On top of that, we NEED immigration.

  Let’s think about that, my fellow zombie. We are not having the number of children we used to, so who’s going to mind the store when we’re dead?

  Now, if someone wants to talk about how our mainstream news media is not looking out for us like they used to or how we’re so overtaxed that we can’t afford to have the number of children we need to or how the ruling government used a boatload of humans to score some cheap political points, I’m all ears.

  Until then, my fellow zombie, all of this seems like an inane turf war over imaginary lines upon a map. (Hey! Yeah you, you supposed Tamil Tiger, you better not even THINK about crossing onto our side of the street!)

  What happened to the kindness the Dalai Lama (or was it Charlie Sheen?) talked about at the beginning of this column?

  (And since we’re near the end of this article, my fellow zombie, there’s your lesson for this issue. Be kind.)

  I’ll practice what I preach. I welcome my 492 fellow human beings (who, here in mid-August are known as queue-jumping terrorists) with open arms.

Humanity Man resides on this wonderful but quirky planet called Gaia. He loves peace, happiness, and beer, but dislikes war, ignorance, and prejudice.