The chances are pretty good that Ahmad al-Abboud is right about the United States.
“America is the country of freedom and democracy, there are jobs opportunities, there is good education, and we are looking forward to having a good life over there,” he said in Jordan yesterday, before he and his family boarded a plane for Kansas City.
They’ve lived in Jordan for three years after their home — Homs, Syria — was reduced to dust by the civil war.
When they arrived last night in Kansas City, Mo., a few people greeted them, but the family’s sponsors didn’t announce the time of their arrival so even if Kansas City wanted to put on a big display of open arms, Kansas City couldn’t. The sponsors wanted to give the family a chance to settle in.
That’s understandable, but it still feels like a missed opportunity to make the family feel more welcomed by a country that is scared to death of them. They’re the first Syrian family to be resettled in the U.S. under a so-called “surge resettlement” program.
A few TV stations ran some quick footage. The local newspaper played down the event, running some wire copy from Jordan while it touted its big story: a Kansas City Royals baseball player being mobbed by fans outside a Justin Bieber concert.
What the right way is to introduce the victims of war to a new, fearful land is uncertain. But the U.S. approach certainly differs from Canada, if you recall the way the country greeted its first Syrian refugees a few months ago…
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) December 11, 2015
In time, perhaps the al-Abboud family will be as fortunate as the family of Amal Alkhalaf, adopted by the people of Peterborough, Ont. Perhaps you remember the lovely video of the kids at a sledding hill in January.
How’s the family doing now?
They’re changing Peterborough, Ont., and the people who’ve befriended them. That’s a good thing.