Imad with his family in 1994, shortly after their arrival in Australia.
Source: Museum Victoria Palestinian Community Photographic Collection

I obtained my visa to migrate to Australia through the Australian embassy in Jordan, where I had lived for three years after fleeing Kuwait with my wife and infant son when Iraq invaded. The plan was to stay for a couple of years until I received Australian citizenship and then return to the Arab world, but 16 years later and blessed with two daughters, I’m still here.

Having the passport and being an equal citizen makes a big difference. It means freedom of movement and respect, that you’re not a nobody. It’s a legacy for your kids.

At the beginning, things were not easy, even though I had lived in a Western culture before. The feeling of not belonging has haunted me. I think of the red earth of my homeland, of eating msakhan (a Palestinian dish of chicken and onion on flat bread), of being with those you love. Any happiness you have here is limited by it.

Working and living in Australia has had an impact on my thinking – things are easier, there isn’t that bureaucracy you have to fight all the time – but the dream of a free Palestine will always stay in my mind.