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.
Observations such as the fact that an efficient and dependable postal service that delivers at home doesn’t even exist in the countries I’ve lived in, back in the Middle East (a person could make some extra money in the Middle East by renting out their PO Box).
Or the fact that back in Syria, even before the war, electricity rarely came on for a full 24 hours during the day. The joke was that the electricity shortages were deliberate to give people a sense of joy when it finally came back on 🤨
Or, most amazingly, the fact that here in Canada…YOU DONT NEED TO CARRY AN ID WITH YOU TO TRAVEL THE COUNTRY!!!!! I’ll tell you later about the time, when I first landed in Canada, when a dear friend suggested we take a 2 hour road trip up to the Georgian Bay, and I thought that would be impossible, since it wouldn’t be able to travel outside of Toronto without a Canadian ID 😐
Yes, some of my actions and decisions since coming to Canada do have a tendency to make me look like a simple Syrian village boy. Like the time when I was apartment hunting, and wanted to make a good impression on my potential landlady. I offered to shovel the snow off the side walk during winter…thinking that snow in Toronto was like the snow in Istanbul, here for a few days and then gone 🤦♂️And I wondered at the time why she was so ecstatic about my offer….
And politics. Look, I’m from the Middle East, we will always have opinions on events near and far, and the amount of words I devote to political will be just like my leanings; liberal. Well, actually right of center on alot of things, but I promise you the writing will be very informative (here is a tidbit; did you know that Canada is the only country in the world where private religious and community groups can sponsor their persecuted brethren in the Middle East to resettle in Canada?).
Enjoy, and above all, let’s have some fun 😊