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Hope Not Fear: Finding My Way from Refugee, to Filmmaker to NHS Hospital Cleaner [9781529059816]

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'I've experienced the best and worst of humanity. I've been detained and beaten, and welcomed and respected. And yet, this story - my story - is one of hope, not fear.'

A frontline covid ward cleaner.

A BAFTA award-winning refugee.

A photographer and filmmaker with an instinct to raise awareness, help and connect.

From the jasmine-scented streets of Damascus to uprisings, protest, torture and being forced to flee his home, Hassan Akkad has experienced the unimaginable. Yet, he still holds on to hope and chooses to see the kindness in humanity every day.

Driven by an unshakeable instinct to raise awareness, help and connect, Hassan describes both his perilous journey to the UK - the subject of his BAFTA award-winning film 'Exodus' - and his life in Syria before the war. Since seeking asylum in the UK, it is this caring instinct and determination that has seen Hassan share not only his experience as a is unique eye-witness as a refugee, but to the coronavirus pandemic, where his documentation of work as a cleaner on a London hospital Covid-19 ward instigated a government U-turn on excluding the families of NHS cleaners and porters from its bereavement compensation scheme.

With his unique storyteller's instinct, Hassan has captured hearts the world over. He bridges national and political divides, his humanity, sense of service and ideals bring people together. Readers of his story in Hope Not Fear will not want to cry, but to campaign because his message of triumphing over adversity by standing together, united in kindness and love, is the single most important message of our time. In this book, he shows us why.

AUTHOR: Hassan Akkad is a Syrian refugee, cleaner and refugee rights activist living in London. He fled Syria in 2015 and after a punishing 87-day journey across Europe, he arrived in London. Akkad was part of the team that made Exodus: Our Journey to Europe which won the BAFTA for Best Factual Series or Strand in 2017. He worked in film and TV production and for Choose Love, a refugee advocacy organisation until the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, when he took a job as an NHS hospital cleaner at Whipps Cross hospital in east London. He documented the pandemic through photographs of his colleagues posted on social media. His posts went viral and he has since been featured in Vogue, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, BBC News and Independent. Hope Not Fear is his first book.

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Hassan Akkad
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