I’m a Lebanese student currently living in the UK. I used to love my country as a kid, until I grew up to find out that my country doesn’t care about me.
I tried so much and failed to maintain a feeling of belonging as I kept growing older. I never understood the people there, and they never understood me, but still tried to find a reason to stay and try to make a change, even though I was facing many severe problems on a personal and a general level.
After getting sick of everything there I finally took the decision to leave, a decision that I was spinning in my head for years, but always ended up creating reasons to avoid it.
This time I decided to forget about everything that is not related to work, because personal reasons kept me from taking that decision for so long.
Last year I traveled to the UK to try to pursue my dream and become a filmmaker, a dream that is out of the question in my country where very few know about filmmaking and art in general, perhaps because people are so busy trying to live under the rule of warlords and mass murderers (some of them were sentenced to death for their horrible doings against mankind), who for some reason are back leading their political parties as if nothing happened.
But even after leaving, the problems of my diseased country are still following me. The collapse of the economy in Lebanon due to all the corrupt politicians robbing the country dry, gave reason for the same political system to freeze the accounts of people shamelessly, while politicians and those with connections to them managed to easily transfer all the money they had in Lebanon to banks outside.
Since the protests started in Lebanon on October 17, 2019, I’ve been suffering form a tight financial situation. Now because of that my degree is threatened and I might be evicted from my flat if I fail to pay for accomodation.
Even after knowing that, the bank that my family has been dealing with for many years (Banque Libano-Française/BLF) has been doing nothing but giving false promises and procrastinating, with my father going back and forth and me undergoing more and more pressure which is so humiliating.
I can’t concentrate on my studies anymore, even though I managed to maintain my good grades until now, but it just keeps getting harder and harder, especially with the whole confusion caused by Covid-19 that is already a big enough problem for everyone.
My awesome friends have stepped in and started a fundraiser to help me finish my studies, some of them made an exceptional effort along with their families, to pull me out of this miserable situation.
Despite my young age, I managed to gain a very good work experience before coming to the UK, later on I came to understand that this experience is irrelevant when you’re applying for jobs in the UK, because they all ask for UK based experience.
My Tier 4 student visa allows me to work for 20 hours a week, but I’m not allowed to freelance which is the standard in our domain.
Working conditions in the UK for people like me are almost impossible, there are many laws that present obstacles for any career-seeking path.
To stay and work here you need to get sponsored by a UK employer. As far as I know, most employers run away when they hear the word “Sponsorship”.
Now I have to think about alternatives, Germany? Italy? What’s next? Where do I start again? I always need to start again, learn a new language, speak with a new tongue… It’s always as if no matter what I do, due to my origin I keep getting pulled back to the start line…
I’m tired of applying for jobs and recieving the “Unfortunately we won’t be moving forward with your application, and due to the huge amount of applications we can’t tell you why exactly…”
I know why, you don’t need to tell me, it’s obvious, I see it in the mirror, in my name, in my passport… I know “Why”.
We come here, pay shitloads of money, way more than anyone else, seeking a degree in hopes for a new start, a new life, a new career path with like minded creative people, but sad to say that it’s not at all about opportunities, it’s about coming and spending your money just to get told to “fuck off” later on…
What about other Lebanese people who made it here?
I’ll tell you what:
When you approach them to ask for advice only, nothing more, they act all high and mighty, they lecture you, some of them even deny their origin.
You could be a 100 times better than them when it comes to talent, capabilities, and skills, yet because they were fortunate to get another passport or citizenship they’re untouchable now. Of course not all of them are like that, but that seems to be the majority of cases.
Why am I writing this? Just to say I’m tired. Sometimes I wonder why I keep trying so hard, why don’t I just accept my fate? I see people fighting and getting recognized everyday as oppressed minorities, well, I’m a minority too.
If it wasn’t that bad in our countries we would’ve never seeked leaving knowing the complications of the process, knowing that every time we apply for a new visa, their will be questions about whether we’ve ever expressed an extremist opinion, or have been involved in a group that is recognized as a “terrorist organization”.
We’re a minority that is just seeking a future, a window for exploration and creation, a minority that doesn’t give a shit about all the stupid wars you shitheads keep involving us in.
We’re a minority that is always at “The Start Line”.