One of the biggest reflections having come from Iran and seeking refuge in Britain would be that I constantly live with half of my heart there and half of it here. There are particular memories that stand out such as the day I was leaving - how sad and confused I was as to why I’m leaving all my family members. I didn’t necessarily know where me and my mother were going but I felt the sadness in my grandfather and my uncles.
You don’t necessarily want to leave your home, you don’t wanna [sic] go somewhere new you don’t wanna [sic] leave your friends and family. My father wanted nothing to do with politics but unfortunately he was a fighter pilot, and all he loved was flying jets. He was one of the number one fighter pilots or ‘aces’ as you’d call them, but he had all of those merits stripped away from him, they needed him to be very close to the regime and that’s not necessarily something he wanted.
We come from a Kurdish background and to be part of the regime to such an extent you’d know you’re betraying so many of your family and friends and so on. No, respect is a big thing and honour. The reason Identity, language, culture is important to a Kurd is because we’ve been oppressed by different people. He was imprisoned a couple of times and following a series of events he finally had to escape as his life was in danger, which resulted in us being separated and then after about, I think, two years we left.
I do have memories of the journey here, it was very difficult for my mother, she had to carry me, she’s a very strong woman, very persistent and determined. One memory in Italy, I was very scared as the police had German Shepherds that were barking and I think we spent the night in a jail, which was cold. From France we got on the back of a lorry, which got on the ferry to Dover I think and that was just difficult for my mother as we were on it for countless hours on metal bars, very cold, very painful, no ability to go to the toilet.
I think the whole journey took us maybe two three months and then I remember finally getting here and UK border force opening the back of the truck with like a knife or scissors or something, very polite, very comforting, sense of safety. When I did see my father again that day it wasn’t like one of the scenes you’d see in the movie where the, the kid runs up to his dad, hugs him and stuff, I was a bit set back. In the back of the Ford I remember from [sic] like the whole two three hour road drive, I was just looking at my dad through the rearview mirror.
I hadn’t seen him in two, three years, I didn’t even know why he had left in the first place. I knew I was safe, but I wasn’t necessarily happy, I was just trying to figure out who is this guy (laughter). I found some great friends at Salusbury Primary School, friends that I’ve kept 20 years later now, but the early early days were very difficult. The first day which was, my mum was on the other side of the school fence and I was just holding on to the railings as if it’s a jail cell, I think someone had to pull me away. I was angry at my mum, why have you left me here (laughter).
I have loads of memories at Salusbury World. Really enjoyed the art, I think art’s a great way to express yourself, especially when you’re dealing with a bunch of kids who have had different types of difficulty and everyone’s got their own story. When I was doing my A levels I had a lot of different family problems going on, in Maths I got U, U, U the first time I did it, retook it and I got A, A, A.
I thought the universe is against me and it’s just me having a difficult story and then I realised, despite not everyone coming from that trumatic refugee background it’s a common trend for people to think that success and happiness and, it’s just gonna (sic) be one day someone comes and says here's a gift boss you deserve it, doesn’t work like that, you have to go and work for it yourself. I’m currently studying for a maths degree. My dad always used to tell me “study what you have a passion for”. Unfortunately we have too many materialistic people in our generation now, where you don't have to be a mathematician to know numbers go up to infinity, money’s a number, you can’t get happiness, cos (sic) you can’t achieve infinity.
We’re looking at a model jet, it was given to me through my father, it represents his story and as a result my story of being a fighter pilot, the political issues leading to us having to move, how life has changed from then til (sic) now, and in a symbolic sense especially for the oppressed individual flying represents freedom and that in essence is I think what we all strive for isn’t it, freedom to do what we want, freedom to live as we want.