Long, long ago I left Iraq for political reasons. I lost „home“ there and never quite got over that.
I went to Germany, I became German because my mother was German. That was lucky but I couldn’t settle or integrate in Germany and was very unhappy there. I was always “the Turk“ there. In those days that was a thing.
So I left that “home“ and came to London as an EU citizen. I loved it. At last I felt totally accepted and integrated, even loved and valued. I married, had children, worked and made yet another home. A “real“ home at last, or so I thought until June 2016.
There were a few “blips“ along the way…. like after 9/11… and when Iran was playing up….being Muslim and Shi‘i and all that.
After the referendum I was really frightened. Already not an EU citizen by birth, already having lost home countries and moved and searched and lived in exile, I became British. After more than 30 years.
It changed my relationship to the U.K. Before that I felt I belonged here, even as an Iraqi/German/EU/progressive Muslim/Shi‘i/woman. Since then, I am plagued by guilt. My father would turn in his grave if he knew I’d become British. Iraq used to be a British mandate, with a puppet monarchy until 1958. My father had to go to war for the British. My country rose up in revolutions against the British. The British have more recently continued to bomb and meddle in Iraq.
My only coping mechanism looks to be the denial of my past, my family history, my identity. That’s impossible.
I’m not sure if I even exist anymore.
Just take it day by day.
Mostly I feel utterly lost.
How have I deserved this? @
Nadia, 59, German/British/Iraqi, in the UK since 1985
First published February 2020
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