Syrian refugees speak at peace talks

The Solstice Peace Talks at the Shatford Centre Dec. 21 featured special guests in a Syrian Refugee family living in Naramata.

Paul Crawford

Paul Crawford

Kinda Al Hariri was eight months pregnant when she fled her home in Syria, running for two hours from Darayya to reach the border, escaping a lack of food, water and the bombs dropping on the country.

She and her husband Mohamed  relocated to Canada in February and to Naramata in April with two sons.

Read more: Preliminary plans set for Naramata to welcome refugees

The family had a short-but-powerful message of peace during the Solstice Peace Talks at the Shatford Centre Dec. 21.

“Peace is no longer just a peaceful feeling between humans, but is the feeling of safety to live at home,” Kinda said.

“Our hearts are sad when remembering what is happening in Aleppo, which kills children that do not carry arms against Bashar al-Assad, Russia and elsewhere. There, women prefferred to die before they are raped in front of their children.

“I can not find sentences describing what is happening to the Syrian people, particularly Aleppo.”

Kinda hopes to one day become a teacher and has been helping her sons in the Naramata preschool class. Mohamed has been working with various friends and neighbours helping out around the community.

“This couple has shown amazing bravery and resilience in their transition into a foreign culture,” said Laura Gray, who helped start the initiative to bring refugees to Naramata late last year.

In a short interview after her speech, Kinda said life in Naramata has been good, however Mohamed’s mother, three brothers and one sister remain in Syria. They communicate with an online phone app and the last time they talked was two months ago, she said.

They said it is tough to continue to see the devestation ravaging their home.

“115 (people) in one day, died. In one day, children, women, in Aleppo and all of Syria,” Kinda said.

The peace talks also featured Penticton Art Gallery curator Paul Crawford who brought an exhibition of art from Syria to the local gallery.

Read more: Syrian art coming to Penticton