“We were 16 people in a small car”

My name is Imad. I came to Sweden in August 2015 and have lived here for 3 years. I was a freelancer up in Iraq, I went to high school and then I entered the cultural university, but could not continue my studies due to the situation in the country.

During my childhood, I lived a regular life. I did not care about the politics that happen in the country. Iraq was occupied at the time. But when we grew older we began to notice the difficulties in life. We tried to stay out of the situation in Iraq, but we had to be part of the politics and we could not build a future for ourselves because of corruption.

When Isis took over my city Mosul I could not live but decided to fly from the country. I fled to Turkey and then to Sweden. It was a difficult feeling to leave my city but I never looked back because behind me there was death and I fled to an unknown place. I knew that thousands of young people killed daily.  I had no choice, even though the road was difficult. The boat trip took about 4 hours with big and strong waves at sea, but eventually we arrived at a Greek island.

I chose Sweden because I had heard and read about the country that treated people with humanity. You do not often encounter racism, but there are exceptions and some racism, but it is a good population and a wonderful country. My goal was Sweden and I arrived.

I remember an event in Hungary, Budapest. We were 16 people in a small car. We sat on top of each other. The car had problems along the way and we were rolling over, but I would like to thank God that we made it. We arrived at a forest which was famous for the fact that criminal kidnappers refugees, killing them and selling their body parts. I will never forget that night, it was a very difficult night. But we managed to find another smuggler who took a lot of money to send a car and drive us from that location. It was a hard and tough situation.

My life in Sweden is different from before and after the political residence permit I received. I hope someday to travel and meet old friends and family, but right now I’m studying. I know there will be some difficulties in Sweden, but it’s a much better life, and better future. There is plenty of time and this country gives to the one who works for the country.

I am worried about the laws that the Swedish parties come up with. Some obstruct residence permits and citizenship for new arrivals. We do not know our future, will it be like in Iraq that one must fight and then have one’s future destroyed? I’m afraid that a racist party wins and is against new arrivals. We are worried about this and especially for the future that we do not know anything about.

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