Making Home Away

So I sat them down and told them: the five of us are here, me, you and your father, wherever the five of us are, that place should be your heaven.
Discover their stories


Current 'Home' Windsor, Ontario, Canada

A young Iraqi refugee, who was an engineering student in Syria, speaks of his experience of injury and injustice:

"(I left Syria because of) the prejudice there. Not the war, keep that in mind. There was a car bomb close to where I studied in Lattakia. I went with a group of people to check on the victims. There was another car bombing. Thankfully, I came out alive with just one major injury that required surgery. Again, thankfully, I survived the surgery.  But, as a result, I missed my final exams.  I wanted to try to rewrite them, but the Dean of Engineering said I wasn't allowed, even though I explained my situation. I figured out that he wanted money in order to allow me to (resit the exams).  Being the poor student I am, with no family or friends in Syria, I couldn't afford to do so. Even if I could, I wouldn't pay because it is my right to write those exams. However, I wasn't able to. So I decided that I'm going to be leaving Syria.

To me, it (home/belonging) simply means being able to live in a just and peaceful area. There is nothing worse than injustice. Living in a war zone can be bearable, at least for me it was. But, living in a society that has no justice is the worst feeling in the world. As a human, I require the feeling of freedom in living how I want without fearing for my life. Fearing for my life happened a lot in Syria because I was always afraid I may come across someone who will abuse their authority, or abuse the ancient laws of that country."

Research conducted by the University of Cambridge and Syrian academics in exile highlights the links between justice and access to education, demonstrating processes of politicisation and militarisation, as well as human rights violations including disappearances and murder, which have impacted Syria's higher education system since the conflict began.


This extract is from an interview conducted by SUZAN ILCAN during 2019 as part of the British Academy funded ‘Lost and Found: A Digital Archive of Migration, Displacement and Resettlement’  project’s Making Home Away archive.