Cultivating patriotism

I am reading various books with dramatic stories of immigrants and refugees to Canada – stories of persons who have fled civil war, genocide, and terrorism. While many details in these books are heart-wrenching, shocking, and extreme, what I find interesting is what is actually most moving because the things that move me most are not so much the intense episodes but rather the tender ones. Continue reading “Cultivating patriotism”

“Pick one shoe.”

A short reflection upon reading the preface of Tima Kurdi’s book The Boy on the Beach: My Family’s Escape from Syria and Our Hope for a New Home:

It’s so important and helpful to have these particular stories of individuals, sometimes with photos – memoirs written that are so descriptive and that completely endear a person to the personalities in the story and it really reminds me of how, when I was visiting Auschwitz, the survivors and the guides would say, ‘Okay, we’re going to go into this barrack and see the shoes. And you’re going to see thousands and thousands of shoes. But don’t look at all of them because it’s too immense. Instead, just pick one shoe and focus on it and think about the person whose feet filled that shoe, or that pair of shoes, because it’s the only way to begin to contemplate anything meaningful – not as an abstraction, but always personal.’ Continue reading ““Pick one shoe.””