When I first came to Australia, I never felt like I belonged. No matter how much I tried, there was always something missing. I didn’t know what it was. Then, a few months ago, I went back to Iraq. I was very excited. I thought I would be going to a place where I belonged 100%. But then when I got there, I felt exactly the same way, that I was like everyone else but that there was something different. Finally, I realised that the things that you experience shape you, and that it’s hard for those who haven’t had those experiences to understand you.

One day, at the airport in Queensland, I was talking to my Mum on the phone in Arabic and there was an older gentleman and he started swearing at me. After I hung up, he said, ‘Is that Arabic? This is Australia so speak English!’ Then he started shouting that he didn’t want to sit next to me on the plane.

But I remember another time, when I was leaving for Iraq, there was a very tough looking immigration official and I was worried he was going to interrogate me about why I was travelling to Iraq. Then the woman in front of me started crying because she was leaving her husband, and the official pulled her aside to give her a tissue.

At that moment, I realised that no matter how much some people are against migrants, there will always be people who show humanity.

Arrived 2008

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