Congress of Progressive Filipinos
Beginning in April of 2015, two of Canada’s CF-18 fighters dropped the first set of bombs over Syria, participating in a US-led airstrike to take out a Syrian military installation occupied by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Since then Canada has participated in 3 more airstrikes in Syria. Locked in a state of civil war for decades and because of the Global “War on Terror,” Syria has many parties in conflict with one another including the Bashar Al-Assad Regime, Al-Nusra (an affiliate organization of Al-Qaeda), Kurdish Forces, operating in Turkey and Iraq, Opposition Party Forces and ISIL who has claimed over half of the country. As a result of the political instability and ongoing violent conflict, Syrians have been leaving the country in the thousands. All for the sake of survival, many gamble their lives in cramped transportation vehicles and boats in the Mediterranean sea to neighboring Greece. Other refugees look toward other EU nations and Canada as a possible place to stay and bring their families.
As we see headlines of photos of refugees who have died trying to flee their home country, we must understand that this refugee crisis is a failure of global immigration policy and the ongoing western military intervention that has destabilized the Middle East region for decades.
Following the events of Sept 11, western governments propagated the need to find and kill Osama Bin Laden (Leader of Al-Qaeda), fight Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, fight the Taliban, find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and kill Saddam Hussein who rose to political power with help from the US Central Intelligence Agency. Following the official death of Osama Bin Laden in 2011, new terrorist groups arose such as the Islamic State (formed after the invasion of Iraq), Boko Haram (formed after years of civil war in Nigeria following British Colonization) and the Khorasan Group (a collective of senior members of Al-Qaeda) following the cases of missing Nigerian women and beheadings of journalists.
Prior to 9/11, the US has helped to create instability in the region as early as the 1940s. Under the Truman regime in 1947, the US recognized Israel as a State legitimizing the displacement of Palestinian people (forcing Palestinians to become refugees) and creating the pre-text for the ongoing war between the State of Israel and the surrounding Arab Nations. Since then, the US has helped to shape the region with the use of its military and the CIA in order to support or remove certain political regimes. Expressions of this manipulation of the region include staging coups, arming various ethnic or religious groups and sanctions along with international propaganda of “Terror” or nuclear weapons manufacturing.
After billions of dollars spent on military weapons and operations, all terrorist groups are still operational and new ones have formed also armed by western forces. In Iraq to date, Canada has participated in over 140 air-bombing campaigns along with coalition forces even after the Iraq war was declared, “Mission Accomplished.” Yet despite the failure of simply bombing “terrorist” strongholds out of existence for the past 10 years, according to Harper and the conservatives, bombing ISIL is the only solution to stop the root cause of the refugee crisis.
Detaining immigrants, revoking citizenship, deporting migrant workers, and refusing refugees, over the past eight years under a Conservative government, Canada’s immigration system has been gutted leaving behind a labour driven employer oriented temporary worker scheme. Mirroring the class division in Canadian society, the temporary and economic immigrant streams create a clear division between wealthier prospective immigrants who are able to obtain permanent residency upon arrival and those who do not have significant income who must enter into temporary employer-specific work contracts with temporary status. Using the argument of an administrative application backlog, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is able to manage the ebb and flow of incoming workers highlighting immigrant levels for political posturing. The lower rungs of the temporary foreign workers program also reveal that those who come to work in Canada are targeted by country, such as the Philippines, Guatemala, Mexico, Jamaica and India. And, all forms of care work are provided by women who make up 95% of all the workers under the Canada’s Caregiver Program, which offers the live-in options for employers to decide. Lastly, it is widely known that the success rate of entering Canada through humanitarian and compassionate grounds is very low and is often a last resort for those wishing to stay in Canada.
The world has suffered because of the heightened propaganda of fear and racism. In Canada, this has lead to Bill C-51, a secret police and domestic spying bill that will be funded by Canadian tax-payers in order to find and detain any Canadian who is found to be against the interest of the Canadian-state. As a result, many Canadians who make significant contributions to this country will be targeted based on their progressive ideas, ethnicity and/or faith.
Like Iraq before it, Syria has become the next target of Imperialist expansion and militarization. The “War on Terror” must be exposed as a campaign for war profiteers and sources of “new” capital and cheap labour. This refugee crisis and those that will come after will not be solved by weapons of war, but by immigration programs that recognize the potential of immigrants by offering them permanent residency upon arrival and by abolishing foreign policy geared towards invasion, occupation and displacement.
No to War!
Down with imperialism!
Genuine settlement and integration not deportation!
Organizations under the Congress of Progressive Filipino Canadians
Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance-National (UKPC/FCYA-National)
National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC)