Hassan Akkad

What's it like to say goodbye to your family, your friends, your entire life – and head out into the unknown, never to return? As the Migrant Crisis continues to displace hundreds of thousands of people around the world each year, and as Priti Patel weighs up policies to deter those who wish to seek asylum in the UK, Annie zeroes in on the human experience at the centre of something too often reduced to statistics and rhetoric. Hassan Akkad has lived the world-upending change of seeking asylum. Born and raised in Damascus, Syria, he was arrested and imprisoned for taking part in protests against the Assad dictatorship. He was subjected to horrific abuse at the hands of his captors, and eventually fled the country. His journey to the UK began on a rubber dinghy off the coast of Greece, and ended, months later, in the arrival hall of Heathrow airport. What happened in-between transformed his world, forever. But Hassan's story does not end with his arrival in the UK. He is a teacher, an activist, a filmmaker – and now, an author. His memoir, Hope Not Fear, is a powerful and moving account of the treacherous journey that Hassan and countless others have been forced to make. It is also a vital, optimistic portrait of resilience and the human spirit – which makes fertile ground for one of the most inspiring conversations we've heard on Changes.

Hope Not Fear is available for purchase here: https://www.panmacmillan.com/authors/hassan-akkad/hope-not-fear/9781529059830

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