Jubair Ahmed (Essex, UK)

My journey

Although I was born in Bangladesh, I was automatically British because I was born after my father came here. That's why I came to this country.

Jubair's sister was already in London, in the family home in Manor Park. Jubair was originally supposed to travel with her but was involved in political struggles in Bangladesh and was eventually forced to flee the country.

I was involved with politics in Bangladesh. I was not interested in coming to London. My father kept pushing me to come; a visa was issued, extended and expired - once, twice, three times, five times, seven times. Last time, in 1984, during the movement against [President] Ershad, people were being arrested in Habiganj. Everybody wrote to my father telling him to bring me to London or else I would be sent to jail. My mother also pressured father to bring me here. One day suddenly plane tickets arrived. I was finally convinced.

Jubair arrived in London just before his father's final visit to Bangladesh:

I arrived four months before he went to Bangladesh. When I came to London, father went to Saudi Arabia with my mother and then they came back to London. One month later he went to Bangladesh and after one month, he died.

Jubair noted that none of his siblings wanted to come to London, nor did his father originally intend to bring them.

Everyone would say, 'Your father is in London, why don't you go?' But we were not interested; my elder brother didn't want to come. And my father wasn't interested in bringing us. He thought it was a rude country and his kids would be spoiled. He came here for financial reasons, otherwise we would not have come. Father would say, 'These are wicked people, it is better not to come here'. He was unwilling to bring us because of the cultural differences between the two countries. Under pressure from others, my father applied for all of us to come. However, only my younger sister and I were under 16; my elder brother and sister were not allowed to come.


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