Sometimes it take the perception of others to put things into perspective for the rest of us.
Rami Canoon, the father of a second Iraqi refugee family that arrived in Fort Frances just this past Friday, didn't seem to mind the bitter cold that greeted them.
“The cold is no problem for me or my family. It's nice," he told Times' reporter Duane Hicks during an interview at their new apartment here yesterday morning. "The weather is not important if there's peace and no war.”
How very true.
One can only imagine the horrors and hardships the Canoons and the Al-Zeebarees, the initial family of refugees from Iraq who arrived here in November through the local “Families for Families” initiative, have witnessed and endured over the past several years after being forced to flee their homeland due to war and religious persecution.
Of course, there's the millions of other refugees from the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere around the globe who have been uprooted in search of a better life for themselves and their families—or merely to simply survive to live another day.
For Canadians, huddling from bullets or bombs, scrounging for food, or warding off deadly diseases is difficult to grasp. It certainly makes bellyaching about having to endure minus-30 degree C temperatures so trivial.
Sure, Canada faces a litany of problems as a country; as do our own communities. And we all have personal woes that cause us grief or worry. But looking at the grand scheme of things, are they really all that bad compared to those of people whose day-to-day lives are fraught with war, famine, disease, or natural disasters?
As we begin a new year, think of Rami Canoon in awe of standing on a frozen lake for the first time and realize just how truly lucky we are to call this place home.