My name is Saif. I’m from a country called Iraq.
Once when I was a child we visited my grandmother who was living in a house with a huge garden covered with palm trees. I asked my grandma why don’t you cut these trees down? They make the view ugly. She answered me, that these trees represent us. Our roots extend deep into this land. We have lived, loved and suffered and we will die here. From then on, whenever I saw a palm tree I looked at it and felt that it is just like me. I have dreamed of putting my roots down in my land, the land of my parents and grandparents. I have imagined my good future. Having a nice house and a job, getting married and having a family. Just like any ordinary citizen, who doesn’t see his life in another place, not thinking to live another way, without his family and friends. Having to let go of my own traditions and habits.
Well, life changed! After the war in 2003, my life was quite different due to the outcome of the wrong policies; the new Iraqi government, the holders of democracy of insecurity. The lack of attention to education and the killing of ambition as well as frequent violence. After they destroyed every beautiful thing left in our lives, I decided to cut my roots from the land that I lived in for years. Going on a trip to nowhere. On a trip, which I call ”the Death Journey”. On a trip, during which I proved to myself that I deserve to live. I crossed seas and countries searching for my life. I had faith that I would reach my goals one day, to try to find another motherland.
I have been through so many difficulties that I wouldn´t have dreamed of seeing, apart from in Hollywood movies of the first and second world war. This journey let me keep my name only and gave me pale skin, a skinny face full of sadness as well as a longing for family and friends. This is the journey of suffering that each and every asylum seeker has been through. They have been separated from themselves and have been born again.
The funny and strange thing about democracy and freedom is, that it gives us the right to choose, which country we seek asylum in. The Iraqi’s are being forced to seek asylum, this is our fate. There is no escape from it. I stand today in front of the wonderful Ripoviza garden looking at the trees and I wonder if their roots were extended here a hundred years ago. I am deciding to be born again, and have a new life in the land of eternal life Finland.
Det här är del 1/5 i vår bloggserie där flyktingen Saif berättar sin historia, läs presentationsinlägget här.