Monsef’s place of birth shouldn’t have ‘serious consequences’ – De Kerckhove, Glavin

Former Canadian Ambassador Ferry de Kerckhove injects needed knowledge about the region and refugees:

Many people have expressed sympathy for Maryam Monsef, the federal Minister for Democratic Institutions, since the disclosure that she was born in Iran, rather than in Afghanistan. But there have been criticisms – which I simply can’t fathom – from MPs such as Tony Clement and Michelle Rempel, who talked about “serious consequences” if the minister’s birthplace had not been accurately represented on her refugee and citizenship applications.

Do these people have any idea what region we are talking about? Does Ms. Rempel have any understanding of how volatile, porous and border-inconsequential the region was, where even dates of birth, when registered, between Muslim and Christian countries don’t match up? Does she, and those who chime in with her, realize that many Afghans sought refuge in Iran during both the Soviet occupation and the subsequent civil war culminating in the rise of the vicious Taliban regime?

 The Afghan city of Herat (where Ms. Monsef’s parents married and where she believed she was born) and the Iranian city of Mashad (where she was actually born) are historically and geographically close. So Afghans would travel back and forth to Iran in times of duress; although they might have not been warmly welcomed, they were at least in a safer environment than in Afghanistan.

Source: Monsef’s place of birth shouldn’t have ‘serious consequences’ – The Globe and Mail

Terry Glavin makes similar points in What you need to know about Maryam Monsef – Macleans.ca The MP’s birthplace does not matter. Her mother made a brace choice, sparing her daughters from a brutal and ruthless past macleans.ca      

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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