Signs reading “please help Syrian refugees to come,” and “Syrian children are also human” were being waved and chants of “no more killing, no more war” were being shouted on Saturday at Victoria Park.
About 50 people were there to rally against the refugee crisis in Europe. People have been streaming out of war-torn countries like Syria and Iraq, and the world has been slow to offer them somewhere to go. The situation came to the forefront of people’s minds this week when thousands of people became stranded in Budapest, and the photo of a young boy’s body on a Turkish beach went viral.
Taskeen Mirza held a sign saying “no more deaths at sea.” The 14 year old said she was there to support the refugees, and called the situation they were in unfair.
“People in Syria, they have the right to live as freely as we do … people don’t even realize what’s going on in the world because they’re so free over here and they’re so happy.”
Mirza’s voice held conviction as she spoke. She said Canada should open its doors to Syrians.
“They really need our help, they really need help, and we don’t help them who will?”
Holding one corner of the largest banner was Ammar Abbas.
He said that refugees need to be given enough support so they can live their lives happily, and that a widespread, diplomatic solution is needed to fix the problem.
“War is not the solution, refugees are the symptom of the war.”
In response to the crisis, some Canadians have remarked that “it’s not Canada’s problem,” but Abbas thinks it is.
“All of us are humans, it’s a humanitarian problem. We have been divided into different countries but at the end of the day we are all humans.”
Abbas said he heard similar sentiments back in Pakistan in the 1990s when refugees from the Afghanistan war went to settle there. He said people in Afghanistan weren’t welcoming to the Pakistani people, but eventually they settled and are now contributing to the Afghani economy.
This week, the government of Saskatchewan said it is trying to increase the number of international refugees it can take in by 15 per cent.