“A home to me is where people respect each other”

My name is Athir. I am an Iraqi writer and journalist and I live in Malmö, Sweden. In Iraq, I worked with different TV channels after 2003, because I had studied communications and media. I also worked as head of oil management in Iraq. I was in charge of 150 people. My work was insecure and uncertain because there was terror in Iraq. We distributed the oil in Iraq from northern Iraq to southern Iraq. I saw my parents daily sitting outside the house waiting for me. We have wide roads in Iraq, every door in the area was like a stop for everyone where you can sit together and talk. During that time there was unrest in the country and it was not safe, but they were still waiting for me at the door. I asked them why are you still there. They answered that, you have not told us what you are working with, but we know it’s unsafe and dangerous for you. My parents decided that I would leave Iraq.

Swedish-born people live a good life in a country that provides safety and security, they grow older and study, live a normal life without mental pressure. It’s not easy to tell Swedes that I hid three days in a small truck inside a bigger truck, and the big truck was in a boat, and I could not breathe. It is not easy for the Swedish people to understand the situation or think about that idea.

I hid behind a small mountain for three days and it rained on us, while police dogs were searching for refugees. These events are hard to grasp, this can be seen in a movie, a series, or an action movie. For me it took three months, from Turkey to Sweden. I walked a month on foot, through the woods. A lot of things happend on the road, there were some who drowned; some were eaten by different animals; some committed suicide on the road. The road to Europe is torture

A home to me is where people respect each other. If you travel anywhere in the world, for a few days and have fun, you will always remember that trip for the rest of your life. But imagine a country where you’ve lived throughout your life, I’ve lived 35 years in Iraq. I long for places in Iraq that I have not visited. I miss the social life in Iraq. I miss the Iraqi personality, even the breakfast in the morning, when you eat a lot of food. I miss the energy. Although there is so much unrest and war in the country, you always see a smile.

Maybe I will start crying now, what I miss most is to see my parents every morning. It’s very tough. I always think of them. When they talk to me via … excuse me …, via the Internet and I see my parents age. This is indescribably difficult for me. I’m not afraid of death even though I was living in Iraq which was unsafe and eventhough we also had Al Qaeda in our country. But as I said, my parents are getting older and I do not get to see them, it’s hard

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.

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