So Mr. Ivriniel and I volunteered at a local community festival run by the four service clubs in town. Mr. I got assigned to selling tokens, I got assigned to “office” which turned out to be essentially a pocket knife check. There was security screening, and knives of any type were not permitted.
Since I knew I had been assigned to the office, I figured I would have downtime, so I brought a novel with me. When I finished that, I chatted with the senior woman who was in booth with me. The conversation quickly turned to how she has a friend who is friends with people in Europe, and so she hears what is really happening, and those Syrians aren’t really refugees.
I told her I didn’t think that was true. She told me I was not getting information from the right places. I told her that among other sources, I got information from Mennonite Central Committee which has been working with Syrian refugees since the crisis began, as well as getting information from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, which says there are at least 7 million Syrians displaced both internally, and in camps in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.
Then she went into a rant about “these foreigners who come here and want to make it the same as where they came from and they’re bringing crime and gangs with them, and all the murders.” I told her that the murder rate is at a 30 year low, and while yes, there has been a spike of gun deaths in Toronto this summer, it is nowhere near what if was 30 years ago.
She stammered about how we must be getting our information from different sources. Then there was an awkward silence until another lady came and joined us. Then I went off shift.
Meanwhile, Mr. I got stuck volunteering with an Antivaxxer.
It was like we stumbled upon a convention of Donald Trump supporters in southern Ontario.
ETA: on the upside there is a fundraiser at a local Anglican Church tonight for Syrian refugees. Bigoted lady certainly does not speak for everyone in these parts.