Samir’s Story – More Than A Piece of Paper: Citizenship Stories

Samir: My name is Samir Murani. I’m going to fourth year at York University studying Global Political Studies. There was a civil war in Lebanon in the 70’s, early 80’s and I was born right towards the end of the civil war. And so when I was six months old my parents brought me here to Canada and I practically became a citizen right away. Back then restrictions weren’t so tight. I currently intern with the Mosaic Institute. I work at TD Bank and I run a charity organization called RefugeAid which is raising money and awareness for the Syrian
refugees. RefugeAid is basically a student project that was sort of birthed out of the Mosaic Institute. The money that we’ve raised has gone to Doctors Without Borders — Mediciens Sans Frontiers. So far we’ve been able to raise $12,000 for the Syrian refugees which we’re really happy about. This year we’re also gonna be expanding to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees which I think is fantastic because I’m finally doing something because I’m a student, you know, I’m not a wealthy businessman. I’m just a simple student who’s going to fourth year, trying to pay off tuition and trying to pass his exams but this gives me the outlet to, you know, do something
humanitarian. Something I’ve always wanted to do. I would say the best part about being a Canadian citizen is the ability to challenge things that doesn’t always make sense to you and you’re gonna have many outlets on where you can do that and there’s always different institutions and bodies that can help you with that. Being a Canadian citizen and being in Canada allows me to be Lebanese and still be Canadian because it embeds my Lebanese identity into my Canadian one, you know, I don’t have to be one or the other, I don’t have to pick and choose. And I just find from my personal perspective that as long as I carry my Canadian citizenship – my little card that has a picture of me as a baby on it – as long as I have that card I almost feel like I’m protected from anything that can happen. Anytime I tell someone I’m a Canadian citizen, they just look at me and they’re like, “Oh, really?” and I’m like, “Yeah.”

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