A Stateless Man’s Birthday Wish

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So I just turned 27 today.

I don’t have a six-pack, a degree or a job. Oh, and I don’t have a country.

I have a lot of hope though, that things will always get better.

Someone asked me what’s the thing I struggle the most with.

To be honest with you, I hate waking up every day having to lie about who I am.

It feels terrible but I have not had much choice.

I regret leaving the United States when I could’ve tried to stay, and it’s not because of how things turned out for me,

but because of the agony I brought onto my father.

By returning to Saudi Arabia I put him in a position where he had to take care of me despite disapproving of my life choices.

My father is a devout Muslim and my deviation from that causes a lot of conflict between us.

He loves me, but he cannot accept who I am.

We just don’t see eye to eye. The way he sees it, I need a lot of “fixing”.

He wants me to settle down in Saudi Arabia with the rest of the family.

He’s exhausted all efforts to achieve that. It’s been two years and there’s no solution at sight.

He will not take any other options where I could settle elsewhere on my own because he’s afraid to lose me.

There are several countries in this world where I could purchase residency rights, but I don’t have the money.

I am at risk of spending the rest of my life in a labor camp in a country I’ve never been to, Eritrea.

The government there forces military conscription on all the youth and indefinitely.

The risk becomes imminent every time my visa is about to expire.

Still, my father is at no rush. The longer this limbo lasts the bigger window there is for me to become a good Muslim he thinks.

Tough times in life result in spiritual awakening for many people so I understand where he’s coming from.

I just hate to watch my life pass me by and do nothing about it.

All I ever wanted was to write songs and sing them. Does it have to be this complicated?

I cannot legally reside or work anywhere. I don’t have a source of income except relying on my family.

I’m three steps away from a military prison in Eritrea: my valid passport, a tourist visa, and cash to get on a plane to the next destination.

I have been constantly traveling from one place to another. I am a refugee, disguised as a tourist.

I’ve been strangled by two chains: my fear of going to Eritrea, and my financial dependence on my father.

For two years I thought there was no way out, until I found a way.

A few months ago I realized that I don’t have to live anywhere or settle down.

I am a citizen of the world and the internet is my realm.

The internet has no borders and no boundaries.

I realized that I just have to figure out a way to make a living and I chose YouTube for that.

Ever since, the ideas have just been flowing in my mind and the possibilites are endless.

What I am most passionate about is music.

And what I really want to do is make life easier for those who experience the struggles of statelessness.

I have been privileged. I have a passport and so far I’ve always had a roof to sleep under.

I must become a voice for those who have no voice.

I believe that love brings more positive change than hate.

I choose to focus on what is similar between us all as people, as that’s the best way to make us all care for one another.

I’m going to start traveling again in February and I plan to spend twelve months visiting every country in Southeast Asia.

I will be exploring musical cultures of the area, interviewing both veterans and rising talents,

and introducing you both to their music and stories.

It will be a multi dimensional journey around the world, carried through sound.

My journey starts on February 5, 2014, the day I turn 10,000 days old.

Please help me by sharing this with your friends online through facebook and twitter.

I have no way to speak but through you, and I have a lot to say.

Help me do my part in making this world a better place.

Please me do my part in making the world a better place and join the movement , click here.

2 thoughts on “A Stateless Man’s Birthday Wish

  1. Change is part of life. Where there is a darkness, there is a ray of light .
    After every night, the sun rises to bring new joy, new hopes.
    Hope this ray of light will knock @ your door very soon….!!!!!

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