Following is a comment in reply to my blog, “Two Canadian Perspectives: What’s yours?”
“Wow, that was really good and both sides of the argument were really well spelt out. We are certainly going through the same things here but as stated in the articles, 'most of these immigrants or refugees are good people' and by extending the hand of friendship to them we make them feel welcome and they respond accordingly. As you realise I am involved quite extensively with people from another country and find that they are just like everybody else, they respond to friendliness. There are of course the other type mentioned and I agree that if they wish to stay here in this great land of ours, they must obey our laws and live in harmony with people who have lived here all of their lives. We should also try to change these negative people in order to bring them into the fold so to speak and not just cast them aside because they are finding it difficult to assimilate. My next-door neighbour is from Cambodia and the parents speak no English but they are always friendly and wave to us and smile whenever they see us. The son-in-law speaks good English and he comes to me when he has problems and he tells me that I am now his father because his own father was killed during the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. These people are good people and because we extended the hand of friendship they responded in a like fashion so it makes sense to me to treat them as people and not some sort of animal. However I'm not saying we should tolerate the type who just want to force their values and laws on us here. Let's try to change them if we can, but if we cannot, then they should be sent somewhere else. My views, ****
I think the above a great response; so I will only comment on the emboldened and underlined section, that I so did, above.
Yes, we all should at least try to change these negative people in order to bring them into the fold so to speak and not just cast them aside because they are finding it difficult to assimilate! But do we even try to do that? Or do we put them in the too hard basket and leave it for others to do? It is true that there are others, like my Canadian friend in my original post and my Aussie friend above, to name a couple, doing this, but there is still more help that even you and I can do, even if only in an unofficial capacity too!
I mean, how hard really is it for each of us, to even just smile and say hello to all strangers that we come into regular contact with? Sure some of them may think you are weird and/or trying to hit on them, so yes some wisdom and sensitivity is required, but still it isn’t really at any real hardship on your part is it? Nor at any real cost or effort from us to do even that little a thing, is there?
So what are you currently doing to assist the strangers among you? Are you not even prepared to even give them a smile, a cheery hello, or even a friendly wave? As my friend above says, even such small gestures as that, can and often do, make a major difference to many people who are not only strangers to you, but often to your way of life and doing things. I vividly remember the struggles of finding out how everything worked in a strange land in our first few weeks there! And that was 18 years ago now, and in a country whose laws and ways of life, were not that dissimilar to ours, once we got to know what was what and where everything was. I also vividly remember the help and support given us by most of our African neighbours, and the warm way we were greeted, even if some, as the later petrol bombings indicated, thought else wise. But even then, because of the friendly help and support of our local neighbours, we felt safer staying there, than moving elsewhere into an enclave of our own skin colouring.
So, from our own personal experience, I know it works from both sides so please do offer your friendship, even if only with a smile or friendly greeting, to all you meet. Yes there will always be the few to reject even that, but let them be the ones to reject you and not you them. And even then, don’t take this rejection to heart and reject others, simply because one or two have responded negatively, or done the wrong thing, to either you or your country. Again, even if you are unable to do anything on an official level to change negative attitudes in others, you can make some, and often some major change, in some people, by little more than being friendly and warm towards those you regularly come into contact with.
So what about it? Will you try smiling and saying hello, just a little bit more, starting even today? Over to you now. You know what to do, so I will leave it with you now to implement.