Tidbits of Arabic News translated into English

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I am in Sweden, thank God

They've had lots of conversations with refugees and immigrants on the BBC Arabic lately. Here's an interview with an Iraqi man called Haider. Haider fled from Iraq to Istanbul, and from there to Sweden (<3 <3 <3 my darling Sweden !!!!! <3 <3 <3).

He had to leave Iraq in the 1980s or early 1990s for political reasons. The BBC interviewer asked him: didn't you realize how dangerous it was, and that you would be entering another country illegally?

Haider said: if I stayed in Iraq, I already knew I was a dead man, so I really had no other choice.

He went to Istanbul first, and from there caught a direct flight to Sweden! But other people were not so lucky. He knew a refugee family with a small three-year-old boy eating dirt from the ground because he was hungry; the family was caught and lives in Iraq to this day.

So, how did he get a direct flight to Sweden? Because he already had relatives living both in Sweden and in Denmark. They sent him a "passport, well, you could call it a forged passport" which got him onto the plane. While in the plane, he flushed the fake passport in the airplane toilet. When he got to my darling Sweden, he told the simple truth of his flight to the authorities.

He was held by the authorities in Sweden for a few weeks. At first, because he was so used to the Iraqi mess, he was scared every time he saw a police officer, but then he started to remember, I am now in a democratic country, I am in Sweden, alhamdolillah (thank God.)

He was asked many questions by the police. The last question they asked him was: what was the thing that led you to need to come to Sweden? He said: only that I was born in Iraq. That's the only reason. The police officer tapped him on the shoulder and said, alright then, you're in.

In nine months, he got the residency permit, and in four years he got Swedish citizenship, and "now there's no difference between me and other Swedes, at all."

I love this man! Just think, his nice words were broadcast live on the BBC Arabic television, to all the Arab audiences, on one of its most-watched shows (I think), plus on the Internet, and it will be replayed twice before the day is out.

The last thing he said was:

At first, when immigrants arrive in Sweden, they say, "okay, one day, I'm going to go back to Iraq, or Syria, or Lebanon, or wherever." But then they never do.

Haider says he would never give up his Swedish citizenship. But if the problems in Iraq got solved on Friday, he would be on a plane going back on Saturday. That's okay, because then he can contribute all the beautiful Swedish experiences he's gotten, and God knows, Iraq needs that badly!

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