Barea M. Sinno


As Interviewed by Dylan Bickley, March 17, 2018

Barea M. Sinno: In Her Own Words

So I immigrated from Lebanon to Canada, I started my immigration process in September 2001, right before September 11th and I did that through the Syrian Embassy because there was no Canadian embassy in Lebanon for immigration, so I had to travel from Lebanon to Syria by car to apply. The process took four years and in 2005 I received my landing papers.

I worried about work opportunities. I had a very stable job in Lebanon And I was worried, because of the cultural differences, and corporate differences, I would not find a job that paid me the way my job in Lebanon did.

I was also excited about opportunities, but in this context refer to the horizons that an economy like the Canadian economy could offer me in terms of Industries, and in terms of Education, and even if I wanted to open my own business, maybe financing. Compared to countries that I come from, obviously the Canadian economy is much bigger and has much more opportunities for me to take part in.

I wish that I knew, before immigrating, that acquiring a new identity, like the national Canadian identity, is going to make me go through a ‘who am I process’, where I have to ask myself who am I because after you immigrate and live a few years outside of your home country, you go back and you no longer identify with the people that you lived with, but you also don’t really identify with the people in the host country. Then you end up somewhere on the edge. You're not totally where you come from but you're not totally where you are living now. You get a sense of identity that is a little bit fluid.

It is hard in the beginning because you feel like you don't belong and why did I do this to myself but over time I think it is very rewarding because with a fluid sense of identity you can be more critical of the world around you and start seeing and understanding when people talk about their national identity in totally different perspectives. We attach meanings to the national identities that are different from what they are. We construct those meanings. Our ancient ancestors did not have national identities and they didn’t need them. We create those identities and we attach a lot of importance to them, but we do not question those meanings. So when you live in this inbetween space you can be critical and also compassionate to both identities and both peoples, but with a different, more complicated and complex, way of viewing life and who you are as a person.