Young connected migrants

Video portraits

Meet Farhan in this video-portrait


Farhan is a 16 year-old young man ‘from Iraqi Kurdistan’ who currently lives in Utrecht (the Netherlands). He was born in the Netherlands to parents who fled from Iraq. At age 4 he moved back and he grew up in Iraqi Kurdistan, before returning to the Netherlands nearly 2 years ago. He is passionate about animals, and frequently takes his neighbours dog for a walk in a nearby park. He continuously updates his friends in the Netherlands using SnapChat, Facebook and Instagram. Also, he shares 90 percent of his life with his life-long best friend and nephew, who lives in Iraqi Kurdistan. Farhan goes by the slogan ‘Be yourself. People don’t have to like you, and you don’t have to care’. Farhan uses social media to publicize his engagement with the international community of fellow Kurdish people seeking to establish greater autonomy for Iraqi Kurdistan. Although he knows it may have repercussions, he feels it is important to engage with this cause online, there he argues  “we can say we are Kurds, we are trying to become a proper country, to make our own decisions”. He posts photos on Facebook and Instagram about the cause, and takes selfies with the Kurdish flag: “Look I have 30 friends in the Netherlands, and maybe 5 in Germany, and 5 in Switzerland, so they see these photos. So they know Iraqi Kurdistan exists”.

Video in Dutch, English subtitles available.

Credits: Farhan, Koen Leurs (production & editing), Karim Shalhoub (director & camera), Music: ‘Habiba’ by Boef (instrumental version The Exergon).

Funding: NWO VENI Young connected migrants (project number 275-45-007), Utrecht University Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON) Knowledge valorisation grant, Utrecht University focus area Cultures, Citizenship & Human Rights (CCHR) seed funding.