25 May, 2020

On this Memorial Day, Thank You America

By |2020-06-07T23:57:08+00:00May 25th, 2020|

(by Aboud Dandachi)

Today, on May 25th 2020, Americans mark their Memorial Day, honouring US military service men and women who died while serving.

I lived my formative years in Dhahran in Eastern Saudi Arabia, in the early 90s. I still remember the shock of hearing of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait while on vacation in Syria in August 1990. Were it not for the commitment of the United States under President George Bush, Saddam would still have been there, dominating the oil reserves of the Gulf. Every Arab, Pakistani, Indian and Filipino who lived and worked in the Gulf owe the US a huge debt of gratitude for taking on Saddam Hussein and his million man army.

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19 May, 2020

My Love Affair with the Local School’s Fall Fair

By |2020-06-07T23:58:10+00:00May 19th, 2020|

(by Aboud Dandachi)

(where, while Aboud may claim that his volunteering every year at the local fair’s annual book-sale is totally altruistic, his friends know it’s just a way to get first dibs on the best books)

One of the things one learns to do, when living as a refugee in a place like Turkey, is to try to limit one’s social interactions as much as possible. You never know how a stranger might react to meeting a refugee in their country. While most Istanbulites were pleasant, it was always better to be safe rather than sorry.

It took me a while to grow out of that habit when I moved to Canada. For two months, my sole interactions were with my friends, friends of friends, and saying “thank you” to supermarket cashiers and bus drivers.

By September of 2017, it was evident to me that that was a habit that I had to break. And so I decided to do what to me seemed a most daunting affair at the time; I volunteered at the neighborhood’s annual Fall Fair. Specifically, the book sale.

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9 May, 2020

A Tale of Two SINs

By |2020-06-07T23:58:45+00:00May 9th, 2020|

(by Aboud Dandachi)

(Where the simple Syrian village boy turns his Social Insurance Number into a drama worthy of Shakespeare)

Since the lockdown began, I’ve been looking through Twitter for Canadians’ experiences with applying for the CERB (Canadian Emergency Response Benefit), a financial benefit from the government that provides CND$ 2000 to each individual who has lost their job because of COVID-19.

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4 May, 2020

Life as a former refugee during COVID-19

By |2020-06-08T00:04:15+00:00May 4th, 2020|

(By Aboud Dandachi)
May 5th 2020, day God knows what of the COVID-19 lockdown. Some of my friends have been very kind in calling me and making sure I was doing OK. These are stressful times for everyone, and my friends were concerned that with all the restrictions and lockdowns, it might be bringing back some unpleasant memories.
 
G-d bless them. Well, if anyone is curious what life is like for a former Syrian refugee during COVID-19 in Canada, here it is.

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4 May, 2020

Welcome to the True North Journals blog.

By |2020-05-14T05:24:08+00:00May 4th, 2020|

Welcome to the True North Journals, the blog of Aboud Dandachi, former Syrian refugee, now living in the York area of Toronto, Canada.

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, I was privileged to be interviewed on many of the areas podcasts on my perspective as a relative newcomer to Canada, and my political leanings. Spoiler, I am the most pro-Israel Syrian on the face of the planet. If this intrigues you, read on. If it offends you, I’m sure Linda Sarsour’s Facebook page will be more to your liking.

The interviews very entertaining, but also surprising. Surprising in that the most common and basic observations and facts that seem very ordinary to a former Syrian refugee such as myself, seem to be quite the revelation to the Canadian audiences of the podcasts I’ve been on.

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