When I was three, the same age as Alan Kurdi, the Syrian boy who washed up on a Turkish beach this week, I became a refugee.
But my family did not face the choices his family faced. My story had a different ending, a happy ending. It did because the government of Canada responded to a humanitarian crisis by putting human beings — and their need for shelter and safety and comfort — above everything else.
My story had a happy ending because Canada chose to treat desperate people in desperate need with honour, with a conviction that these people could and would benefit Canada.
It was 1972 and Ugandan dictator Idi Amin conducted an ethnic cleansing. Ugandans of South Asian origins, including me and my family, had 90 days to leave or face unimaginable consequences.
More at the Source: When I Was 3, the Same Age as Alan Kurdi, I Became a Refugee | Tasneem Jamal