Shamir Mangalji: My father, the refugee

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” —Martin Luther King Jr.

Shamir Mangalji: My father, the refugeeWith all the talk of Syrian refugees, I’m reminded of my own father’s journey to Canada.

My father, Sam, grew up in Uganda. His parents were merchants, also born in Uganda. In 1972, President Idi Amin ordered the expulsion of all people of Asian descent from the country, forcing my father and his family to flee. Amin believed the country’s Asian population was “hoarding wealth” and sabotaging the economy. Really, it was his own corruption and violence.

Shamir Mangalji: My father, the refugeeI’m one generation removed from this experience. My family is of East-Indian descent, and I was raised under Muslim values in Dawson Creek, so I’ve been asked many times for my thoughts on refugees. I thought sharing my experience could help bridge the gap for those who fear or distrust latest round of people seeking refuge in Canada.

In college, I took an anthropology course and for our final project, I chose to write an essay about how my father’s family came to Canada. It was the first time we really talked about his experience in-depth. It was long overdue, and the older I got, the more conscious I was of what they’d been through.

My father’s family was accepted by Canada while Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister. They were stationed in a refugee camp in St. Catherine’s, Ontario and then integrated into schools and the workforce.

Read more at the source: Dawson Creek Mirror

Shamir grew up in Dawson Creek, recently leaving to study at Thompson Rivers University. His father is Sam Mangalji, a local hotelier.

Author: ismailimail

Civil society media.   Find Ismailimail blog on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

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