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My name is Aqeel. I live in Exeter in Devon. I am a lecturer in Drama and a theatre practitioner. I am from Syria but have been living in the UK since 2009. I have had the experience of trying to support two people to come to the U.K. on short term visas.

My situation

I came to the UK in 2009 on a scholarship from Syria to pursue my MA and PhD in drama. A little under 3 years after I came, war erupted in my country. I haven’t been able to go back to visit since 2012, and I am now not allowed to return home for political reasons. 

Two things in my pocket

Three things I am waiting for

The end of war and economic collapse in Syria

To lose weight and stop my health deteriorating

To have citizenship and be able to travel freely

What I would change if I was running the country

End all nuclear weaponry and reduce funding for arming and involvement in wars in general Spend that money on education, social care, NHS, the arts, and foreign development (not aid, sustainable development).

A ritual I can’t do

When I wake up I have to kiss my son and daughter even if they don’t feel like it, and I can’t start working before I’ve had strong red-blackish tea.

Three things I can see out of my window

My elderly neighbor whom I love. I always take any chance to chat with her. 

A woman with some sort of disability who lives alone and often sits by her window in a large accommodation for people with disabilities. 

My young neighbors across the street who keep ordering with Deliveroo and tease me.

Things people
say to me

‘Awww, I’m so sorry,’
‘it must be hard for you,’
‘how is the situation back home?’

Two pieces of music that get me through

Dhafer Yousef is a Tunisian musician and composer, Hayajan is a Jordanian band, and Lena Chamamyan is a goddess that is currently residing in the human body of a Syrian singer/song writer!