Thursday, September 29, 2016

It really doesn't matter where Maryam Monsef was born

I am losing patience with the continued media fixation with whether Liberal MP Maryam Monsef was in fact born in Afghanistan or in nearby Iran. What does it really matter?
Ms. Monsef came to Canada as a refugee from Afghanistan 20 years ago, and has since established herself as the MP for her home town of Peterborough, and more recently as the Democratic Reform Minister in Justin Trudeau's cabinet. It is a Canadian success story par excellence.
Just recently, though, she claims to have found out from her ageing mother that she was actually born in Mashad, Iran, and not in Herat, Afghanistan, as she had always been told. As a child, her Afghan family regularly shuttled back and forth between Afghanistan and Iran, avoiding wars and internal strife, in an area where official borders have little meaning to most people. Her mother probably kept her actual birthplace from her in an attempt to avoid painful memories (Ms. Maryam's father died in 1988 as a non-combatant in those interminable border conflicts), and in the reasonable belief that it doesn't really matter anyway.
And it really doesn't. She is still Canada's first ethnic Afghan MP (we already have a couple of MPs of Iranian background). She is still a strong woman, a role model, and a shining example for Canadian immigrants. Enough already!

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