‘In Iraq I would have died quickly. Here I feel I am dying, but very slowly’

Millennial refugees describe their lives to The Guardian, first, Akeel, 28, from Baghdad, who is now in Calais, France: I have been in the camp for six months now. It feels like such a long time. I get embarrassed when I speak to people who aren’t in my position. They probably just see me as a refugee and look at me with sympathy. If we had met in Baghdad I might have seemed quite cool.

I had a good life there. My life was probably very similar to that of anyone else my age. I wasn’t always living in a tent on my own, eating food from tins. I had such good friends. I really miss laughing with them. I adored my family, I still do. All my relationships are carried out on my phone now. I am on it all the time. It’s the only way to have any kind of life outside of this place.

I used to be a teacher. I taught maths and English. I wanted to be headmaster one day and run teaching camps for disadvantaged children in Iraq but who knows what I will do now, if anything. It’s hard being young in the camp – I mean, it’s hard being any age. It is just so, so boring. I feel like my 20s are going before my eyes. I feel 50, not 28.

I used to look at life with excitement, and wonder what would happen in the future – that’s what it’s like when you’re young. You have so many possibilities. I wanted to do a lot of good in my country. Now I feel like I am just a lot of needs: someone who needs a home, who needs food and on and on. Not someone who can do something for other people. That is the worst part of it.

I try to keep up the things I like. I love football. I try to play here and sometimes we watch matches on our phones. But we are all now thinking constantly about what life will be for us.

In Iraq I would have died quickly. Here I feel like I am just dying, but very slowly. [Continue reading…]

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