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I reflect often on the words of French philosopher Simone Weil: “To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.”

I felt compelled to speak these words at the funeral of my adopted Irish grandmother, who passed away several years ago, and whose welcome of my Iranian family into her family has been the most defining and affirming aspect of our lives in the UK.

I saw this on the first of January 2017, as I wandered through the crowds of people who had come out to see the Hull City of Culture opening ceremony, which celebrated 75 years of the city’s history in the main square – pride, to see, hear and celebrate their history projected on glorious light show onto the buildings of Victoria Square.

I understood this watching Memoires d’Immigrés, twenty years ago as a teenager. There is nothing more grounding and empowering than to be accepted for who you are, as you are. To belong.

What do 'roots' mean to you? Share your stories and thoughts in the comments below.


Elhum Shakerifar is an independent creative producer of documentary film and photography. Her work includes the award-winning documentaries A Syrian Love Story, Even When I Fall and Almost Heaven. She is also a festival programmer and an occasionally translator of Persian poetry.

#Migration #Belonging

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