I miss home. Perpetually. I scroll through my twitter home page, with journalists and analysts sharing articulate insights into the politics on the ground. The terror and dominance of ISIS, the tensions in Jerusalem, the simmering chaos in Baghdad: I watch the images of war paint my screen daily as winter sets over Britain.
I went to a bonfire last night and lit my first firework, it reminded me of when I was 11 in Baghdad, I was on a Ferris wheel in a theme park and I saw a firework fly into the sky and I remember thinking ‘how great! Even in times of war they still have fireworks’ only this one didn’t go off. It continued to travel through the sky, arching high. Then it fell, there was a moment of calm, everyone held their breath in the stagnant air. Then the ground shook and my ears hurt. People screamed, my uncle drove on the pavement. We got home, ate watermelon and laughed about it.
Identity’s a sticky word isn’t it? Simultaneously negative and positive; individual and universal. I’m from Iraqi-Palestinian heritage, London born and raised and currently living in Paris. So when people ask where I’m from I have no idea where to start – each is a different world and yet I have the audacity to call all three home. Do I have a healthy identity crisis? You betcha.
I think the first thing to state quite clearly is that barely anyone is any one thing anymore. That’s painfully obvious and if you’re reading this thinking ‘no shit sherlock’, know that I’ve put that statement in for the many people narrow-minded enough to victimize diversity and conflate homogeneity with superiority. We live in a globalized world where identity is not easily summed up in one word anymore. Our ‘global village’ seemed to spring up faster than a mall in Dubai: suddenly there’s an openness and accessibility surrounding everything from the way we do business to inter-personal relationships. And for me what makes globalization so pertinent is that it is – for want of a more original term – global. It is no longer just the West engaging with the rest of the world but rather there’s now a real level of connectivity across continents and cultures. And with it comes a global movement of mass-migration but ironically we applaud globalization and criticize immigration. So those products of mass-migration: those of mixed heritage are more numbered than ever but society still questions where they come from. While I recognize and appreciate that often people’s misunderstanding stems from infrequent exposure, poor media and societal ignorance, it doesn’t make being a so-called ‘third culture kid’ much easier.