“I will never forget these three days in the boat”

My name is Khaldoon Qasim. I was born in 1989 and I come from Basra, southern Iraq.
My childhood was normal, but also special because I grew up in the 90’s when the country was occupied. I grew up in a well-educated family, surrounded by books and culture. My dad is a theater director. I studied art with musical focus. I worked in the media.
After I finished school, I worked as a journalist. I was a cameraman and worked on different TV channels. After working for a long time I knew many politicians and got in touch with the government. I started thinking: where is Iraq going? And where am I going? I realised that if I would stay in Iraq I would’nt progress.
There was a time when I was against the idea of leaving my country. But I had many problems and therefor I decided that I could’nt continue like this. Journalists and people generally think in one way and the government thinks in another, so for me it did’nt work to stay.
It only took me two weeks to make the decision to fly. I stayed for a month in Turkey and I wondered how I could move further. I realized that the only way is to fly over the sea to reach Greece. I did’nt tell my parents that I would travel across the ocean. I just told them that I would move from Turkey, and they did’nt suspect anything.
I will never forget these three days in the boat. There were children and women. I did’nt know if I would arrive or not. Then I came to what we thought was an island. But it turned out to be a small stone block in the middle of the ocean. I remained on the block for two days, until we got help. Then we had to walk for a long time and try to get a document in each country we arrived to. I encountered many dificulties that I will never forget. I just wished the day would end and looked forward to the next day.
I finally arrived in Sweden. I had to wait about two years until I got my residence permit. I had decided that I would not just sit and wait for the residence permit.
My goal is to have a normal life, the kind of life always wished to live. I began to contact various associations and organizations in culture, film and journalism. I tried to do good things for myself. I went to a journalist course with professional journalists. I started making my own movies and documenting different things.
Now I’ve got a residence permit and I will try to reach the next level and learn swedish. I will search for jobs at different workplaces that I dreaming about.
If everything goes well, I have many dreams, dreams I could not dream of reaching in Iraq. But here all doors open and I can do what I want, here I will have possibilities. If I take the right steps then I can achieve what I plan in the future.

A Million Stories Sweden: Nizar Keblawi, Nina Olsson, Sara Sarabi, Malin Gillberg, Daniel Björklund, Mats Nordström.

A Million Stories Sweden volunteers: Fariborz Ghadir, Mohamad Mohsin, Yazan Saad, Tarek Aloudallah, Dalia Saleem, Yara Ali, Ahmad Younes, Chaimae Hamri.

In association with



Dublin Core: Language: swe Subject: asylum, refugees, A Million Stories, Sweden