Sarah's keyrings

I am 16 years old and I was born in Lebanon.  I have been living in Melbourne for almost two years. My family and I have periodically lived in Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar, Jordan and Australia. My parents fled Lebanon during the refugee crisis almost thirty years ago.

My parents came to live in Melbourne and, after a few years, they decided to return to the Middle East.  When I was 8 years old, my family moved back to Australia, where we remained for two years before returning again to the Middle East.

Two years ago we were once again back in Melbourne and when we arrived, I caught up with an old friend who I had met when I was in primary school here in 2007. She and I had kept in touch via email. We reconnected and she would come to my house and to all our family functions.

Recently, my old friend questioned me about my identity and asked me: “Are you Arab, or are you Australian? Because you can’t be both!” When I explained to her that my parents are Australian citizens and so am I, she demanded that I show her my Australian passport. I was very hurt by this confrontation and felt that it was impossible for me to be exclusively Arab or Australian.

I think it is very important for people to get to know Arab Australians better and to understand that we live across our traditional culture and still be a part of Australia.