Iraq dating customs


02-Sep-2017 19:00

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The Dasnis are Yazidi, members of the small Kurdish-speaking minority that ISIS set out to eliminate as it extended its barbaric tentacles into northern Iraq in the summer of 2014.

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With his help, they found their way to the two rooms COSTI had booked for them, and settled into one, afraid to be apart. It’s tempting to assume that survivors of war and displaced persons’ camps would be grateful for the relative safety of a hotel room in Canada. All they knew was what they didn’t know: where to find food, how to use the television, whether hotel staff could be trusted, who or what would come next. He’s a member of the tight-knit Yazidi community in Toronto, a volunteer who, since the first Yazidi refugees began arriving in early 2017, has spent much of his time tracking newcomer arrivals.

With his bespoke suits and buffed leather shoes, he seems out of place in this modest suburban setting, but Adiba insists he be here for our meetings.

“Without him, we would go back,” says Adiba, speaking through a translator.

As Jan Kizilhan, a German expert on trauma and the Yazidi, puts it, “It’s not enough to just offer them a safe country.” Yes, the Canadian government provides Yazidi refugees with free health care, but who finds them a doctor and shows them how to get there?

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Yes, ESL classes are free, but who helps them make sense of Canadian customs and culture?

They took the Dasnis to the taxi stand, divided them between two cars, handed the drivers written instructions and waved farewell. Three months earlier, they hadn’t even heard of Canada.