‘The Road To Nowhere,’ a brand new print zine sharing stories about the experiences of second-generation immigrants, experiences and cultural identities features poetry from Tahla Krosschell & Sheyi Bamgbaiye, photography by Jai Toor & Moses Fuad, and short essays & stories by Gina Agnew, Sairana Abraham, Aysha Al-Feikaki, Tola Coker and more.
Profit from the first 100 copies sold will be donated to Beirut and Yemen aid-funds via the International Rescue Committee. We spoke to its creator & Province staff writer Dalia Al-Dujaili to find out more about the project.
“I hadn’t really seen anything like it before; a physical print of a collection of stories from second generation immigrants,” she told us. “Even though the population of second generation immigrants is very large in the UK and it’s such a multicultural country, we don’t really hear very much about this subsection of people in the creative industries. It’s always to do with politics, immigration policies etc, and it can be quite negative and quite stressful, and I wanted to make something that was just creative, fun, thoughtful and tasteful. It’s created by 2nd gen immigrants and for 2nd generation immigrants because there are a lot of us who find it difficult to express ourselves and our unique position in society.”
Part of Dalia’s motivation was to manifest a feeling that’s quite hard to ariculate. “It’s very hard to express the feeling of being in a liminal space between two things. It’s not just second generation immigrants who feel that way, most people have felt that way at one point in their life; like they’re being tugged in two different directions. It can be very uncomfortable, incoherent and incomprehensible. So I wanted to manifest all of those feelings and emotions into something physical that I could touch and feel. So that it would be a relief, not just for me but for people like me, who want to get those thoughts and feelings out of their head and on to paper.”
“Meeting all of these creatives; writers, photographers, artists, poets, that really wanted to get involved was a really rewarding experience,” she tells us of the process. “It was so great to meet those kinds of people, to talk to them, to discuss our weird positions in life. Our experiences span from the Middle East, to Japan, to Nepal, to the Caribbean, Nigeria, India… so our experiences are very diverse, but that one thing that is keeping us all connected, that one common thread in our stories, is that we are the children of immigrants. I think it’s really powerful for people to read this stuff and feel like they’re being heard & seen, for once, in a way that’s not negative or uncomfortable for them. I hope that it also increases awareness and educates people who aren’t children of immigrants to the struggles that we face, to our experiences.”
Donating proceeds was a personal decision for Dalia. “My parents are Iraqi, I was born in the UK, and when tragedies happen in the Middle East (which, sadly, is very often) I feel very helpless. I feel like I can’t really do anything apart from send money, and it just feels a bit uncomfortable. I feel useless. I have family & friends in Beirut, so after the Beirut blast I just felt absolutely distraught. I was so worn down, as was my family, and I wanted to do something that was not just giving money but also had some kind of sentiment behind it. I wanted to do more than just sharing an Instagram post, which is absolutely fine if you haven’t got the money to send, but it can feel really surface-level, so I decided that all the money from the first 100 copies would be split between Yemen & Beirut. Beirut is very close to my heart, but a place shouldn’t have to be close to my heart for me to care about it.”
Closing the loop, some of the money raised by the zine will go to immigrants in the UK. “More than just sending aid to countries like Yemen & Beirut, the money also goes towards re-homing refugees. I felt like it was important for the money to also be going to re-settling refugees, helping asylum seekers in Europe, and so some of the money stays in the UK and directly goes towards helping refugees find jobs and homes.”