Many Canadians fear refugees and some politicians oppose our providing free medical care to refugees. However, Canada’s Prime Minister has reversed a decision not to pay for the medical treatment of refugees. Some lost fingers. Moreover, Canada cannot allow refugees to bring diseases into the country.
In other words, the RCMP (the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) is overworked at the moment and so are civil servants. Everyone entering Canada must apply, but given that they may be deported, border-crossers may apply after they have entered the country to avoid the risk of being deported. Refugees who are not “criminals” will have a home in Canada. They now live in shelters and are fed properly.
Under President Obama, the first to be deported were “people who had been convicted of dangerous crimes.” Matters differ at the moment. First, there is a large number of undocumented “aliens” in the United States, and as Amy Davidson writes, “[t]he Trump executive order starts with the idea that criminal aliens are the problem, but then widens the definition of criminality and blurs its edges.”
Various incidents, such as vandalism, point to a degree of anti-Semitism in the United States, which Mr Trump condemning. Yet, anti-Semitism is a form of xenophobia, fear of foreigners, and xenophobia is what is driving Mr Trump to deport “aliens.” These are not necessarily criminal aliens. The refugees who cross the border illegally know that Canada does not allow criminals to enter the country.
Among refugees crossing the border, many are not Muslims, but Mr Trump is planning another ban. Islamophobia on the part of the United States could lead to acts of terrorism. So, ironically, President Trump is fostering the violence he fears.
At this point, we return to fairy tales and pretty pictures. I have a niece who would say: “Tante Micheline, just pour yourself a glass of very good wine and enjoy.”
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard greets a newly-arrived Syrian refugees at Montreal’s Pierre Elliot Trudeau international airport, on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Syrian Refugees: Special Treatment
Not all refugees arriving in Canada have received the same welcome as the Syrians refugees who arrived beginning on Friday. If I could roll back history, newcomers would be spared lining up to receive their Social Insurance Number (called SIN) and their Health Insurance card. These are essential documents, but usually they are not readily available. One has to stand in line.
Our first group of Syrian refugees have been treated like VIPs (Very Important Persons). But all immigrants to Canada are very important persons. However, at the moment, there are individuals who would close the door to their country on Muslims as if all Muslims were terrorists.
Supplying official documents
I’m not involved personally in the welcoming process, but it would be my opinion that while welcoming refugees, Canada must be prudent, which is necessary. Civil servants (employees of the government), and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been working long hours. They therefore know who has arrived. Canada cannot presume that its refugees are dangerous, but it has to make sure its refugees and immigrants are peace-loving and law-abiding individuals. Four weeks ago, Paris was attacked.
Moreover, Canada must reassure its Muslim community. Many Muslins have been in Canada for a long time and are excellent citizens. They are above suspicion. Given such facts, we cannot and should not close our doors on Syrian refugees, but we have to be reasonably careful. That is the normal procedure.
I should point out that many refugees are privately-sponsored. In this respect, Canada’s Armenian community has been very generous and have inspired other Canadians. Moreover, we have a younger government. Our recently-elected Prime Minister has a great deal of energy and he is making Canadians feel optimistic. Our refugees are arriving during a period of enthusiasm. I believe those who were greeted by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard were addressed in Arabic. Dr Couillard spent four years in Saudi Arabia. He may not be fluent anymore but he knows Arabic.
Besides, there is a peace-making tradition dating back to Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, if not earlier. We are also a multicultural society living in a harsh climate. Margaret Atwood wrote a lovely book of poems, the Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970), in which she describes the bitter disappointment of immigrants recruited in Britain. They were told that they would be part of the upper classes in their new country, but found themselves walking in the mud.
Political cartoon from the 1880s: “In forty years I have lost, through the operation of no natural law, more than Three Million of my Sons and Daughters, and they, the Young and the Strong, leaving behind the Old and Infirm to weep and to die. Where is this to end?
My father’s great-grandmother came to Canada during the potato famine that devastated Ireland in the late 19th century. Many of Canada’s Irish immigrants arrived in Montreal. They were suffering from various contagious diseases but were nevertheless allowed off the boats and treated. They needed care and the population of Montreal rose to the challenge. These immigrants have become good Canadians.
Stop selling weapons to terrorists
To return to our Syrian refugees, another factor should be examined. Who is selling weapons to warring factions in the Middle East? The people who attacked Paris used Kalashnikovs. Where did they get these weapons and the bullets that killed 130 innocent people? Extremists are not easily discouraged. Selling weapons to any of them does not seem judicious. On the contrary, it seems somewhat reckless.
I realize that the War Industry is particularly lucrative. It transforms the rich into billionaires, but nations that make weapons and sell them to terrorist organizations may be complicit in genocides and may force a large number of people to leave their country. Is this an acceptable way of making a profit?
Ted Cruz on Guns
Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz says Americans need their guns.
“ Ted Cruz offered an impassioned defense of gun rights in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack on Friday, telling a crowd at an Iowa gun range, you don’t stop bad guys by taking away our guns, you stop bad guys by using our guns.” (my bold characters) (Ted Cruz)
“The Second Amendment is about something very fundamental” Cruz said. “It’s about the God-given right of every single one of us to protect our home, our families and our lives.” (my bold characters)
“While the mighty quarrel, the humble pay the cost.”
I chose today’s subject matter, an Aesopian fable entitled “The Frogs and the Fighting Bulls,” because it brings to mind the plight of Syrians seeking refuge in a reticent Europe.
Four million Syrians have fled their country because their homes, if they are still standing, are not habitable and their government is no longer operative. Syria is a battlefield.
Where have the Mighty been? And will the Mighty now sit at a table and do their very best to fix the problem. I fear they may be politicians first and statesmen second, if ever they become statesmen, and “let the humble pay the cost.”
My kindest regards to all of you.♥
Aesop, with a fox, from the central medallion of a kylix, c. 470 BCE; in the Gregorian Etruscan Museum, Vatican City. 600 BCE – 501 BCE (Photo credit: the Encyclopaedia Britannica)
The Perry Index of Aesopian Fables
In the Perry Index of Aesopian fables, “The Frog and the Fighting Bulls” is fable number 485 and is entitled: “The Frogs Dread the Battle of the Bulls.” Its source is Phaedrus (1st century CE) but I borrowed the text from An Argosy of Fables, 1921 (p. 130), selected by Frederic Taber Cooper(1864 – 1937) and illustrated byPaul Bransom (1885 – 1979). However, this post includes Jean de La Fontaine’s“Les Deux Taureaux et une Grenouille” and its English translation: “The Two Bulls and the Frog.”
You may remember that Phaedrus (1st century CE) is the Latin author who versified Aesop‘s fables, thereby removing them from an oral tradition. (See Oral-formulaic composition, Wikipedia). Babrius (2nd century CE) also took Aesopian fables away from oral literature but he wrote Aesop’s fables in the Greek language.
Subsequent writers of fables have used both Phaedrus and Babrius to publish Aesopian fables in Latin or Greek, or French, or English, or other languages. We are reading a translation of Phaedrus’ Latin collection, but Frederic Taber Cooper has not provided his readers with the name of a translator.
The Frogs and the Fighting Bulls
A FROG, sitting at the edge of a swamp, was watching a battle between two Bulls in an adjoining field. “Alas! what deadly danger threatens us,” he said. Another Frog, overhearing him, asked what he meant, when the Bulls were merely fighting to decide which should lead the herd, and the cattle passed their lives quite apart from the home of the Frogs. “It is true,” rejoined the first Frog, “that they are a different race and live apart from us. But whichever Bull is beaten and driven from his leadership in the woods will come to find some secret hiding place; and I fear that many of us will be trampled to pieces under his hard hoofs. That is why I say that their battle means death and destruction to us.”
Deux Taureaux combattaient à qui posséderait.
Une Génisse avec l’empire.
Une Grenouille en soupirait:
« Qu’avez-vous ? se mit à lui dire
Quelqu’un du peuple croassant.
Et ne voyez-vous pas, dit-elle,
Que la fin de cette querelle
Sera l’exil de l’un ; que l’autre, le chassant,
Le fera renoncer aux campagnes fleuries ?
Il ne régnera plus sur l’herbe des prairies,
Viendra dans nos marais régner sur les roseaux,
Et nous foulant aux pieds jusques au fond des eaux,
Tantôt l’une, et puis l’autre, il faudra qu’on pâtisse
Du combat qu’a causé Madame la Génisse. »
Cette crainte était de bon sens.
L’un des Taureaux en leur demeure
S’alla cacher à leurs dépens :
Il en écrasait vingt par heure. Hélas! on voit que de tout temps Les petits ont pâti des sottises des grands.
Two bulls engaged in shocking battle,
Both for a certain heifer’s sake,
And lordship over certain cattle,
A frog began to groan and quake.
“But what is this to you?”
Inquired another of the croaking crew.
“Why, sister, don’t you see,
The end of this will be,
That one of these big brutes will yield,
And then be exiled from the field?
No more permitted on the grass to feed,
He’ll forage through our marsh, on rush and reed;
And while he eats or chews the cud,
Will trample on us in the mud.
Alas! to think how frogs must suffer
By means of this proud lady heifer!”
This fear was not without good sense.
One bull was beat, and much to their expense;
For, quick retreating to their reedy bower,
He trod on twenty of them in an hour. Of little folks it often has been the fate To suffer for the follies of the great.