December 17, 2016


Wonder and Worry, as a Syrian Child Transforms : Canada welcomes Syrian refugees like no other country. But for one 10-year-old's parents, is she leaving too much behind? (CATRIN EINHORN and JODI KANTORDEC. 17, 2016, NY Times)

As soon as Bayan Mohammad, a 10-year-old Syrian refugee, arrived here last winter, she began her transformation. In her first hour of ice-skating, she managed to glide on her own. She made fast friends with girls different from any she had ever known. New to competitive sports, she propelled herself down the school track so fast that she was soon collecting ribbons.

Bayan glued herself to the movie "Annie," the ballet "Cinderella" and episodes of "Wheel of Fortune," all stories of metamorphosis. As her English went from halting to chatty, she ticked off everything she hungered to do: An overnight school trip. Gymnastics lessons. Building a snowman -- no, a snow-woman.

"I just want to be Canadian," she said. [...]

[O]ver 10 months, the relationship was reshaping the family, rewriting roles and rules they had always followed. Abdullah and Eman found their marriage on new ground, the fundamental compact between them shifting. Bayan, their oldest child, was going from girl to adolescent, Middle Eastern to North American all at the same time. She was the one most likely to remember their now-obliterated life in Syria. On some days, her parents believed that she could meld her old and new identities; on others, they feared her Syrianness was being erased.

It can't be erased quickly enough.  That is the genius of Anglospheric immigration; in the absence of racial/ethnic identification, there is no bar to complete conformity.

Posted by at December 17, 2016 11:04 AM