About me

Omar Personal Main Photo

I am an activist, writer and photographer living in East London.

I was born and raised in London, as well as Abu Dhabi, Sudan, Bangladesh and Jordan, as my father was working for UNICEF when I was growing up. Besides those places, I have also lived in Egypt and Belgium. I have an eclectic family background – my father is Egyptian and my mother is half Northern Irish and half Dutch and grew up in Rome. I therefore very much consider myself a citizen of the world, however much people like Theresa May may decry that!

For as long as I can remember I have been interested in politics, but being with my grandmother when she died was what turned me into a political and social activist. In October 2000, I sat by my grandmother’s bed as she neared the end of her life at Alexandria University hospital in Egypt. The hospital was dirty and poorly equipped. The nurses were uncaring, perhaps knowing that my grandmother would shortly die, which she sadly did. That experience was harrowing and life-changing.

I left the hospital vowing to myself that one day I would help rebuild it, so others did not have to go through the same experience that she had. Returning to the UK, I joined the Labour party and threw myself into campaigning on all kinds of social issues. I had a fairly privileged life growing up, but it was the experience with my grandmother that made me realise that nothing can be taken for granted and that everyone should be guaranteed dignity – in life and death.

More recently, after my daughter’s experience at Whipps Cross Hospital, where I confronted Boris Johnson about her treatment and the state of the NHS, I set up Rebuild Our Health Service to fight for the funding needed for new buildings and equipment that the NHS desperately needs.

I studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford before working in Parliament for Emily Thornberry and at the Young Foundation. At the Young Foundation, I worked with Rushanara Ali to co-found the UpRising Leadership Programme and on research projects for the then Director, Geoff Mulgan. I also gave oral evidence on behalf of the UpRising Leadership Prograamme before the Speaker’s Conference on Parliamentary Representation, a cross-party committee of MPs and Lords set up to make recommendations on how to make Parliament more representative. I then studied and trained to be a solcitor and have been in practice since then. I am also vice-chair of the Society of Labour Lawyers, which is an official affiliate of the Labour Party and brings together Labour Party members in the legal profession.

I love writing about political issues. I have written about the NHS for The Guardian, about Aung San Suu Kyi and the Rohingya crisis for the Huffinton Post, about Brexit for Left Foot Forward and Labour for a Socialist Europe and for LabourList about lots of different subjects.

I have always enjoyed photography but have become more serious about in the last few years. You can see some of my photography here. I hope you like it!.

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