You can learn what it is like being a refugee in this short film.
In 2003 when her father, a political activist, was murdered for opposing the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country where more people have been killed in violent conflict than any other in the world since World War Two.
Angry and distressed about her father’s death, it was too dangerous to go to the funeral. Following in her father’s footsteps, Nathalie became increasingly involved in opposing the Congolese government – mobilising women, in particular – to bring about democratic change and end state-backed violence, bribery and corruption. The Congo is a failed state, where millions of people live in fear of indiscriminate violence, murder, rape and torture.
A few months after her father’s murder, Nathalie helped distribute leaflets at an anti-government demonstration, attended by thousands of people, who called for immediate elections, which had been postponed for the umpteenth time …
Reza arrived in Leeds earlier this year, hiding in the back of a lorry after a gruelling three-month journey from Iran that took him through Turkey, Greece, Italy and France. For much of the journey he was cold, scared and hungry. The original plan was to go to Canada, but that fell through because there wasn’t enough money.
He knew nothing about England and spoke no English. Arriving in the middle of a cold night, Reza was told to get out of the back of the lorry and fend for himself. He was tired, confused and starving when he was picked up by the police and spent the rest of the night in the police station before he was taken to social services.
Reza was born in 1997 in a small village in the Kurdish part of north-west Iran, near the Iraqi border where Saddam Hussein had launched his first chemical weapons attack ten years earlier…
Hussein was born in Beirut in 1968 when Lebanon was a place of comparative peace and harmony in the Middle East. He is Muslim, but part of a mixed Muslim and Christian family. His early years were spent in a largely Christian area of the capital. Circumstances like his were not uncommon. In those days, Hussein says, religious identity didn’t matter so much; young people saw themselves primarily as Lebanese.
This was not to last. The Arab-Israeli conflict began to spill over into Lebanon in the form of thousands of Palestinian refugees. A burgeoning trade in illegal arms and drugs, corrupt politicians and clan-based gangsterism filled the vacuum left by normal government. Lebanon began to buckle under these pressures and in 1975 imploded into a brutal and long-lasting civil war…
It only takes one person to ruin your life. In my case, it was a government official in Uganda who had friends in powerful places.
Several other people have made my life a misery since that day, but I wouldn’t have met any of them had it not been for the government official. My whole life has descended into a nightmare since then. I wouldn’t be here in Leeds if I had never met the government official who was working in my office as an accountant. I was happy until that moment. Then he raped me.
Being raped changed everything for me, not just psychologically but in so many other ways, too. I was transferred to another office and then eight months later, the same man came to my new office, but this time he came with two of his friends. All three of them raped me. I desperately tried to escape and when the third man was raping me I managed to push him away, but they tried to stop me by cutting me with broken glass.
I went to the hospital, bleeding. A doctor stitched up the wound and the nurses contacted the Police, but there was no investigation and the nurse lost her job. I can only imagine that the Police were bribed….