All Academic, Inc. Research Logo

Info/CitationFAQResearchAll Academic Inc.
Document

El-Ghorba: A Media Ethnography of Transnationalism among Arab Immigrant Families in Canada
Unformatted Document Text:  Like Zeinab and her kids, many of the families that decided to make the move were without the husbands. Most helped provide for their homes in Halifax by remaining employed in the Middle Eastern Gulf countries that provided comparatively generous salaries. In most cases, the mothers had moved to Canada to live with their children. As most of these women are unemployed and due to traditional Middle Eastern gender roles, most of these women’s interactions with Canadian society are at a bare minimum. For many of the city’s inhabitants, the migration was overwhelmingly quick. It was like the floodgates had opened. It seemed almost overnight that Arabic became a second language on the streets of this fishermen’s town. Although the Arabic community is nowhere near as established as others in the American cities of Dearborn, Michigan or Toledo, Ohio, one cannot escape the fact that the landscape has changed both swiftly and dramatically in less that a decade. Arab-owned stores have sprung up in every major street in the city and the local community radio station CKDU 97.5 FM has become home to the largest number of Arabic-language specialty programs. The first word of Arabic uttered on air in Halifax was on October 7, 1995 from a group of amateur programmers hosting a show entitled Radio Egypt. Four years later in 1999, this very show was presented with a prestigious award from Canada’s National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA) in the category of Community Involvement for the all-day broadcasting of the political specialty program "Through Arab Eyes." There even used to be an Arabic weekly newspaper in Halifax, Al Maraya (The Mirrors), which lasted for a more than a year, but didn’t do well once updated Arabic news was on the internet and with the arrival of 24-hours Arabic satellite channels to local subscription packages. For a new community, the new migrants have been going a long way to stay in touch with their respective homelands. Arabic student organizations sprung up in each of the city’s four urban university campuses, as well as several Arab coffee shops opened and travel agencies to cater to their needs. Much the same way as any other migrant community, the push-pull pressures of maintaining connections with the homelands and adapting to the local sensibilities are a difficult equilibrium to balance. However this population was distinct from many others in several respects. The Arab community is characteristically more affluent than most other Arab communities elsewhere in Canada. Most of the families that made the move came not under any refugee or asylum classification, but either as investors or entrepreneurs. Most had come from the oil-rich Gulf States after having accumulated enough capital to forge new livelihoods in North America. The competitive salaries in these countries, however, have split many of these families. While most of the husbands sustain their homes in Halifax financially from their income in these countries, making periodical visits, the wives and children lead separate lives in eastern Canada. Capitalizing on a growing market, several satellite service companies arrived with subscription packages to Arabic television stations. For those families that wanted it and could afford it, it came as a ‘savior’. Once a luxury five years ago, the service is now within most families’ price ranges. The popularity of the service speaks leaps and bounds for the community and its members’ sense of identity. Undoubtedly, having Arabic television at home would affect, in some form, the process of cultural adaptation that follows immigration. It is this effect on assimilation and immigrant acculturation that I wanted to investigate in my project. Having lived within this community for six years, I had built sustained relationships with many of its members of varying nationalities and religious affiliations. In this period I had

Authors: Iskandar Farag, Adel.
first   previous   Page 4 of 19   next   last



background image
Like Zeinab and her kids, many of the families that decided to make the move were
without the husbands. Most helped provide for their homes in Halifax by remaining employed in
the Middle Eastern Gulf countries that provided comparatively generous salaries. In most cases,
the mothers had moved to Canada to live with their children. As most of these women are
unemployed and due to traditional Middle Eastern gender roles, most of these women’s
interactions with Canadian society are at a bare minimum.
For many of the city’s inhabitants, the migration was overwhelmingly quick. It was like
the floodgates had opened. It seemed almost overnight that Arabic became a second language on
the streets of this fishermen’s town. Although the Arabic community is nowhere near as
established as others in the American cities of Dearborn, Michigan or Toledo, Ohio, one cannot
escape the fact that the landscape has changed both swiftly and dramatically in less that a decade.
Arab-owned stores have sprung up in every major street in the city and the local community
radio station CKDU 97.5 FM has become home to the largest number of Arabic-language
specialty programs.
The first word of Arabic uttered on air in Halifax was on October 7, 1995 from a group of
amateur programmers hosting a show entitled Radio Egypt. Four years later in 1999, this very
show was presented with a prestigious award from Canada’s National Campus and Community
Radio Association (NCRA) in the category of Community Involvement for the all-day
broadcasting of the political specialty program "Through Arab Eyes." There even used to be an
Arabic weekly newspaper in Halifax, Al Maraya (The Mirrors), which lasted for a more than a
year, but didn’t do well once updated Arabic news was on the internet and with the arrival of 24-
hours Arabic satellite channels to local subscription packages.
For a new community, the new migrants have been going a long way to stay in touch
with their respective homelands. Arabic student organizations sprung up in each of the city’s
four urban university campuses, as well as several Arab coffee shops opened and travel agencies
to cater to their needs. Much the same way as any other migrant community, the push-pull
pressures of maintaining connections with the homelands and adapting to the local sensibilities
are a difficult equilibrium to balance. However this population was distinct from many others in
several respects.
The Arab community is characteristically more affluent than most other Arab
communities elsewhere in Canada. Most of the families that made the move came not under any
refugee or asylum classification, but either as investors or entrepreneurs. Most had come from
the oil-rich Gulf States after having accumulated enough capital to forge new livelihoods in
North America. The competitive salaries in these countries, however, have split many of these
families. While most of the husbands sustain their homes in Halifax financially from their
income in these countries, making periodical visits, the wives and children lead separate lives in
eastern Canada.
Capitalizing on a growing market, several satellite service companies arrived with
subscription packages to Arabic television stations. For those families that wanted it and could
afford it, it came as a ‘savior’. Once a luxury five years ago, the service is now within most
families’ price ranges. The popularity of the service speaks leaps and bounds for the community
and its members’ sense of identity. Undoubtedly, having Arabic television at home would affect,
in some form, the process of cultural adaptation that follows immigration.
It is this effect on assimilation and immigrant acculturation that I wanted to investigate in
my project. Having lived within this community for six years, I had built sustained relationships
with many of its members of varying nationalities and religious affiliations. In this period I had


Convention
Need a solution for abstract management? All Academic can help! Contact us today to find out how our system can help your annual meeting.
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.
Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!
Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!
Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

first   previous   Page 4 of 19   next   last

©2012 All Academic, Inc.