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read the full story
Since the moment Asala and her siblings entered this world and gained awareness of their surroundings, they realised that stability was uncertain. Financially and mentally, we were unsure of what safety meant. Their parents made the courageous decision to leave behind their Sudanese heritage, the food they cherished, and even family, all in pursuit of a better life for them. In their quest to see them become the best versions of themselves they took the most daring step a parent could take – risking our lives by putting them on a boat bound for Europe. They endured ten days of deprivation, with no food or water, until they were fortunately rescued by the Italian coastguard. The experience exposed them to dehydration and hunger like they had never known before. It begs the question: what would drive parents to take such a perilous journey if they truly believed their lives and the lives of their children were secure?
Upon arriving in France, a country that champions equality, liberty, and fraternity, we began the process of integration despite the challenges posed by language barriers and the ongoing struggles faced by their parents. They felt as though they were losing their children to a culture they found unfamiliar. However, their children adapted better than they ever could have imagined. They graduated from high schools and universities, turning their parents’ dreams into reality.
The firstborn, Asala 17 at the time became a shining example of successful integration, winning her first beauty pageant just a year after their asylum case was accepted. She represented fraternity during the pandemic and selflessly prepared and distributed 6,000 meals with her Family to what she considered the real heroes – doctors, nurses, police officers, and firefighters. After eight years of integration at the age of 20 she became the first among her Family of 6 to apply for French citizenship, the identity she and everyone in her family had always yearned for, no longer defined as a refugee officially belonging yet the French authorities denied her citizenship solely because she married an Australian national.
Dear Reader, Identity is not a static concept but a dynamic and evolving journey of self-discovery. It is the essence of who we are as human beings, shaping our beliefs, values, and relationships that strong and authentic identity provides us with a sense of purpose, belonging, and fulfillment. It empowers us to navigate life’s challenges, connect with others on a deeper level, and contribute to the world around us. Embracing and nurturing our identities is not only essential for our individual well-being but also for creating a more inclusive and empathetic society that celebrates the rich tapestry of human diversity and that is what refugees seek the minute they land on a foreign land.
Deep down, we all grapple with an identity crisis, whether it manifests externally or internally. From the moment we enter this world, we are bestowed with an identity. Our skin colour defines us, our name becomes our identifier, and the beliefs and traditions passed down by our ancestors shape our sense of self. However, what transpires in the spaces between these defining markers is entirely up to us. It is here that we confront the choice to rebel against the
predetermined or accept it as our own. May we become a voice for the voiceless, those who find themselves in the midst of an identity crisis. Whether you are wrestling with the turbulence of being exiled from a familiar path due to life’s harsh realities or grappling with the complexities of sexual identity, remember to treat yourself and those around you with gentleness and compassion. May these words serve as a beacon, illuminating the path of self-discovery for those who seek it. With this testimony We aime to weave a tapestry a simple insight that celebrate the beauty and resilience of the human spirit. We understand the struggles inherent in
questioning and reshaping one’s identity, and our intention is to offer solace, understanding and to unite with compassion. May you find comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone.
Through Asala’s Narrative we hope to foster a deep sense of connection—a reminder that our struggles, though unique, are shared by others navigating their own identity journeys. Remember, dear readers, to approach yourself and those around you with kindness and empathy. Embrace the complexities and nuances of your own identity, for it is a mosaic of experiences, beliefs, and dreams that make you who you are. Allow this exploration to be a transformative and empowering process, one that leads you towards a greater understanding of yourself and the world in which we coexist.
With Love and Hope
Author, Asala Gabbani
A Child of the world.