Welcoming New Canadians

Last night, when I got home from teaching class, I saw that Mariam Makhniashvili’s body had been identified and that the police believe that she was not murdered. It appears that she feel to her death from a hwy 401 overpass above Young street.

Mariam was a new Canadian who didn’t have a lot of friends and who loved to read. She was a quiet 17 year old who mostly kept to herself. She parted ways with her brother at their school on September 14th 2009 and wasn’t seen alive again.

I don’t know anything about her other than what is being reported, but some of the information seems to resonate with me. Our family moved to Canada when I was 9 and almost immediately I was an outsider. I did make friends fairly quickly but found that many of the would turn on me or simply just stop talking to me. As a young person you are ill-equipped to make the call that their behavior says more about their past than it did about my present so you internalize it. I was the immigrant freak, who spoke funny and was the brunt of the jokes when the class bully was feeling small from whatever living hell he was going through.

I thought about jumping, a lot.

I never did and instead felt anxious and sort of went into myself finding the evidence to validate that I wasn’t the same as everyone else. Again, a child will do these things when because their brain doesn’t process information as effectively or in the same way as an adult.

Children are important and they are worth being nice to. The waste of one life is too many.

Rest in peace Mariam.