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在我亚裔街区内的叙利亚邻居
A Syrian refugee family in my Asian-centered neighborhood



去年,加拿大以平均每月超过2700人,即每天约90人的规模接收了大量叙利亚难民。在这些难民中有许多人来到多伦多,在市内不同社区里安家。但我最近吃惊地发现在我居住的亚裔街区内也迎来了一个叙利亚难民家庭。

Over the past year, Canada has welcomed an influx of Syrian refugees, with an average of over 2700 a month, or about 90 a day. Many of them have settled down in Toronto, scattering around different communities across the city. Surprisingly, I’ve recently found out that a family of Syrian refugees has lived in my Asian-centered neighborhood. 


在加国华裔看来,叙利亚难民是属于截然不同的族裔群体,他们有着不同的文化和宗教背景,两个族裔间彼此很少往来。许多加拿大华人对叙利亚难民心生恐惧,认为他们是遥远生分,难以理喻的一族,或认为这些来自于恐怖组织滋生的中东国家的人士,大都有着被认为是崇尚暴力和鼓励极端行为的宗教信仰。

Chinese Canadians and Syrian refugees are two different ethnic groups in Canada, with diverse cultural and religious backgrounds and little social interactions with each other. For many Chinese Canadians, Syrian refugees are seemingly remote, odd and intimidating. They hail from a Middle East country that forms the base of terrorist organizations and practice a religion deemed violent and aggressive.


但实际上,大多数叙利亚难民都是恐怖主义和地区暴力的受害者。尽管存在各种种族偏见,叙利亚难民在其家乡所遭受的艰难困苦仍引起了某些加拿大华人的关切和同情。同时,在加国所经历的相似的新移民历程拉进了两个族裔的距离,使得他们在推崇多元文化的加拿大建立起独特的情感纽带。在一个繁星满天的温馨夜晚,我和年逾四旬,身材高挑且气质优雅的叙利亚邻居Ursula边吃边聊,在品尝咖啡、水果和小吃的同时,她向我讲述了他们一家人在战火纷飞的故国的悲惨经历,以及在逃离家园后那颠沛流离的难民旅程。

But in fact, most Syrian refugees are victims of the terror and violence. Despite the racial stereotype, the pain and hardship faced by Syrian refugees in their home country have fueled concerns and sympathies from some Chinese Canadians. Also, similar experiences as newcomers in the adopted country have brought the two ethnic groups together, allowing them to form a unique bond in multicultural Canada. On a warm and starry night, and over coffee, fruits, and snacks, my Syrian neighbor Ursula – a tall and elegant woman in her early 40s --shared with me about her family’s  tragic life in a war-torn country, as well as a challenging refugee journey after fleeing their hometown. 


Ursula用不太熟练的英语告诉我,在战争爆发前叙利亚是一个美丽而又富饶的国度,不但环境干净整洁,而且风景如画。当时居民的生活非常舒适、便利和惬意,人们享受着宽敞的居住环境,充足的食品供应和丰富的文化生活。大多数家庭都可以靠丈夫的工资维生,女性通常都无需工作。但是,叙利亚丰富的石油和大量的财富也使得其成为种族冲突和内战的博弈的目标,反复遭到ISIS无人机的攻击,俄罗斯的袭击和美国的空袭。暴力和战争已经将叙利亚的财富毁于一旦,也让叙利亚人民顷刻间变得一无所有。

Ursula told me, through her imperfect English, that Syria was a beautiful, affluent country before the war, offering a clean environment and stunning landscape. Life there was easy, convenient and comfortable back then, with people enjoying spacious living conditions, ample food supplies, and enriched cultural life.  Most families could rely on husbands’ salaries to get by, and women normally did not have to work. But because of its abundant resources of oil and wealth, the country has become the deadly targets of racial conflicts and civil wars,being repeatedly hit by ISIS drone strikes, Russia attacks, and US air raids.  The violence and war have wiped out country’s wealth and taken everything away from Syrian people.


Ursula沮丧地说:“我的父亲曾拥有一个很大的樱桃果园,里面有数百棵樱桃树和其他果树,但是ISIS的一颗炸弹将一切毁于一旦,让我们成为身无分文的流浪汉。”

 “My father used to own a big cherry farm, with hundreds of cherry and fruit trees, but an ISIS bomb had destroyed them all, leaving us with barely anything,” said Ursula in sadness. 


Ursula称:“之后我们便和上百万叙利亚人一起逃离家园,前往黎巴嫩避难,盼望战争能早日结束。但是三年后随着冲突和暴力不断加剧,我们因此决定举家迁居并以难民身份移民加拿大。”

“We then joined millions of Syrians who have fled their homes and took shelter in Lebanon, hoping the war would end soon. But three years later, after seeing no end to the conflicts and violence, we had decided to uproot our whole family and moved to Canada as refugees.”


但是,Ursula一家在加国的生活过渡期并非一帆风顺。Ursula说,在根深蒂固的种族偏见影响下,许多叙利亚难民都被视为恐怖分子,对国家安全构成威胁。Ursula一家最近前往尼亚加拉旅行时,他们因为被GPS误导而误抵美国边境。边境警察在了解到他们来自叙利亚后,在没有任何正当理由的情况下将他们拘留了五个小时。

But their transition to life in Canada hasn’t been seamless. Ursula said that many Syrian refugees were perceived, through the racial stereotype lens, as terrorists or posing a threat to the national security. In a recent family trip to Niagara, they were misguided by GPS and accidentally arrived at the US border.  Finding out that they were Syrians, the border guard detained them for five hours without any justifiable ground.

Ursula称:“他们一听到我们是来自叙利亚,就像看到鬼一样。”

“Once they heard that we were from Syria, they saw us like ghosts,” said Ursula.  


叙利亚难民在融入加国新生活时也面临重重挑战的经历,这一经历会引起大多数新移民共鸣。

Syrian refugees are facing challenges in integrating into Canada, an experience that would resonate well with all newcomers. 


为适应加国的生活,Ursula决定离开厨房,跳出叙利亚女性所承担的家庭主妇的传统角色。Ursula称:“来到加拿大后,我们几乎失去了故国的朋友亲人之间的联系和互助,这让我感到很沮丧,在多雪多冰的严寒冬季则会更加忧郁。这也是我为什么要出门找工作的原因。除了能够贴补家用,我还可以藉此获得提高英语水平和在加国建立社交关系网的机会。”

To adapt to her new lives in Canada, Ursula has decided to leave the kitchen and abandon Syrian women traditional role as a housewife. “In Canada, we’ve lost most of our social support system in the home country, and that has made me depressed, especially in the cold, snowy and icy winter,” said Ursula. “That was why I needed to go out of the home and find a job. Apart from the financial assistance to the family, it can provide me with an opportunity to improve English and build up a social network in Canada.” 


但是,对于在故国从未有过寻工经历,并且在加国又面临语言障碍的难民来说,想要在加拿大找到一份工作显然并非易事。尽管很有语言天赋的Ursula会说包括阿拉伯语和土耳其语在内的三门语言,但她在抵埠加国后却发现自己的英语水平亟待提高。

But finding a job in Canada proves to be difficult for someone who had never gone through a job searching process in her hometown and was facing a language barrier in the adopted country. Despite her language talents and being able to speak three languages –including Arabic and Turkish, she found herself struggling with English after landing in Canada.

 
Ursula称:“直到我们来到这里,我才意识到英语有多重要。语言障碍让很多叙利亚难民在加国建立新生活造成重重困境。”

“I didn’t realize how important English is until we came here,” said Ursula. “The language barrier has left many of us struggling in building a life here.”


尽管面临重重挑战,Ursula仍迈出了成功的第一步。在那天晚上,她告诉我她以找到第一份工,很快就会在士嘉堡的一个高端鞋店开始从事售货员职位。在为她成功找到工作感到高兴的同时,我也告诉她从此后我便是她加国的新朋友。

Despite the challenges, she made the first step to success. On that night, she told me that she would soon start her new job at a high-end shoe store in Scarborough as a saleswoman. Being happy for her job searching success, I also told her that from now on, she could count me as a friend.
 
 
 
 
 

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