Their story is almost a cliché. Please read this wealth – scroll down for that link pls.
Alison Jeffrey is a middle-class girl from the grasslands of Alberta. Raised by a “Red Tory” family, she was part of the PC youth movement, but after a degree in politics she went into business administration. Now, she’s organizing a charity gala in Edmonton.
Saren Azer is a Kurd seeking refugee status in Canada after fleeing persecution in Iran. He is passionate about Kurdish politics, but is also a doctor-in-training and a rising star in asthma research at the University of Alberta.
They meet at a professional event — he has been given a scholarship from her charity — and despite the cultural differences, or perhaps because of them, they have an instant connection.
“It sounds silly now, but I was swept off my feet,” says Alison. “He was charismatic. He had a presence.”
Alison Azer has been searching for her four children Sharvahn, 11 Rojevahn, 9, Dersim, 7, and Meitan, 3. They’re now believed to be somewhere in war-torn northern Iraq. (Christina Ryan/National Post)
Within three years Alison becomes Mrs. Azer. The couple moves back and forth between Alberta and British Columbia as Saren builds his career and they have four children — two girls and two boys.
A happy love story.
Except that over time, Saren, who is Muslim, becomes increasingly rigid in his beliefs and consumed by Kurdish politics. He wants to move the family to the Middle East.
The marriage falls apart and an acrimonious custody battle begins. When Azer takes the kids on a “holiday” he never returns. Alison would later find out they are in a remote village in Kurdistan in northern Iraq.
If this sounds like an all-too familiar plot, there’s a twist.
Thanks to his work with Kurds in Canada, Alison’s ex-husband has his own Tory ties. He has figured prominently in the Conservatives’ public relations push to intervene in Iraq. As defence minister, Jason Kenney praised him to his 50,000 Twitter followers. Saren was even welcomed into the prime minister’s office and warmly greeted by Stephen Harper.
But when Alison asks Kenney and his team for help getting her children home — not once or twice, but four times — they refuse to meet her.
Western countries have certainly intervened in the Middle East for citizens’ welfare: British diplomats forced the extradition of two Kurdish men involved in the honour killing of a young British woman; pressure from Sweden was behind a Kurdish military operation to rescue a teenaged Swedish girl from Islamic extremists.
But while law enforcement agencies have stepped in to help Alison — the RCMP has issued a warrant for Saren’s arrest, and Interpol has sent out a “red notice” to police agencies around the world — there has been no action from the Canadian government. Not from the Conservatives. Not from the new Trudeau team.
It has now been more than six months since Alison’s children disappeared.
“There are four Canadian kids being held captive in a war zone and no one seems to be doing anything about it,” says Alison. “Canada has a lot of clout in this region right now with the Kurds. It is time to use it to bring my kids safely home.”
A security image shows the Azer children entering northern Iraq on Aug. 15, 2015
– See more at: http://news.nationalpost.com/features/there-are-four-canadian-kids-being-held-captive-in-a-war-zone-and-no-one-seems-to-be-doing-anything-about-it#sthash.ozws4Vk1.dpuf