Opt Out

Would you erase part of your identity for some peace of mind?

Ahmad Nassri
2 min readJun 27, 2017

Did you opt to have Damascus appear as your place of birth?

My friend asked me today, He’s also a Syrian-Canada Citizen. We grew up together in Damascus, Syria. He’s now filling a form to renew his Canadian passport.

Just as my parents did, his family immigrated to Canada long before the brutal civil war started in Syria. Back then, it would have never occurred to any of us that one day, we would opt-in to erase our place of birth from our passports.

Up until this afternoon, I didn’t even think that was an option …

You can! You just need to sign a form stating that this might cause you to be interrogated in other countries, or have your visa denied.

It’s a good idea. It’s a sad and horrific thought to even consider. But it’s also a good idea…

Fuck Syria, we’re doomed to be cursed for the rest of our lives.

He’s right, we’re blessed to have avoided the horrors of the Syrian civil war, but we’re not free of it, even our Canadian citizenship does not shield us from discrimination based on something as innocuous as “place of birth” on a passport.



Ahmad Nassri

Co-Founder @ Cor.dev, Advocate of all things Open Source, Startup Advisor, Entrepreneur. Previously: npm, TELUS, Kong, CBC