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Refugee Council of Australia
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Nazem’s story

This story was published as part of the Refugee Council of Australia’s previous campaign, Fair Go, supporting family reunion.

After all these years, look at me and my situation now, I am an old lonely man, far away from my wife and children, sitting here in Australia and I cannot sleep without taking sleeping pills.

My name is Nazem. I arrived in Australia 8 years ago by boat. I came alone, leaving my wife and children back in Iraq because I knew the boat journey is very dangerous. Later, I was accepted as a refugee in Australia and obtained citizenship. I have tried different avenues but I am still waiting to be reunited with my family.

Back in Iraq, I was the head of a tribe that consisted of 4,000 men. After all these years, look at me and my situation now, I am an old lonely man, far away from my wife and children, sitting here in Australia and I cannot sleep without taking sleeping pills. I have diabetes and my feet is in a bad shape. At one stage my mental health got very bad and I started to hallucinate. I always feel very lonely and depressed.

I have 6 daughters and 1 son. My youngest daughter is 14. My oldest daughter got married but she is back at home with her child after her husband died in Iraq. So I am responsible for them as well. Men and women are not equal in Iraq. Women cannot go out. They cannot do anything.

What can I tell you about the condition of my family when they have not seen their fathers for 8 years? I was very close to my children. They had never left me for a single day before.

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