The only migrant that I know is I.
I was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh in a privileged minority family. While at school, my family decided to migrate to Canada for a better life and for our better future. We were three siblings all at school and dreamt of a happy life. At that age, knowing that you get a break from studying because you are moving to a different country meant unlimited holiday. But, one does not realise the personal loss, the loss of identity and the loss of self while leaving behind everything that one worked towards or believed and moving to a completely alien place.
Life in Canada was not a culture shock for my family, at least, not for me. I adjusted well in school and got quickly integrated. Thanks to globalisation and my family’s previous foreign tours that enabled me to envision what life could be like. It was much later in life when I started university and even after that when it came to applying for jobs that terms like “Canadian experience”, “FOB” which means “Fresh off the Boat”, immigrants started to make noise in my ears. I was suddenly placed in this foreign land and space where I have been asked to make a choice: the choice between one’s identity based on birth and one’s own-presumed identity based on naturalisation. But, just like Salman Rushdie, I resonate, “I refuse to choose!” My inclusiveness should not be based upon accepting or rejecting any part of my identity. The only identity I have is everything that I know, everything that I experienced and everything that I stand for. Despite this being the truth, I did not realise it till I left Canada again to study in the UK. I do not know whether not having a permanent home or whether it was age and experience that led me to realise that I am me and I can be whoever I want to be. There are very few places left in this world where one can be genuinely discriminated on the grounds of their migration status and especially not in Canada.
My family eventually settled in Canada but I believe they are still battling their immigrant-battle. Some groups of people who happen to travel to the same land before we did for some rationale have started to believe that they more to say and claim about the migration issue. I disagree with them. I do however; feel proud that given the dynamic global politics and seeing that the biggest bully can rule the world’s superpower due to negligence in voting, I am proud to be Canadian. I feel more proud when people come up to me and say, “Are you from Canada?”, “You have the best Prime Minister in the world!” What it does to me is reassure that I have not lost and I have not taken the wrong decision.
If I look at myself and look beyond my flesh, at some point in my life, I will find myself segregating a newer immigrant from me for the same sense of superiority that I have been initially segregated from. But, what I am actually doing is establishing my insecurity and that cannot be right. Today when I think of raising a family, I think of raising my children in Canada. I see myself sending my children to a school where they have classmates from all over the world and they all share their stories and enrich a child’s experience. I want my children to make friends: friends from Iraq, friends from Syria, friends from Afghanistan, friends from Jerusalem, friends from India, friends from Nova Scotia, friends from Europe, Africa and friends from the remotest place on earth and share their lives so that they learn about themselves. They learn from an early age that humans enrich humans and there is no greater wealth than acknowledging this kinship.