Speaking to an Iraqi asylum seeker Monday who came to Finland in October 2015 made me tremendously sad. He lives in northern Finland with his children, wife and newly born baby who is less than half a year old today. Family, children, new life in a new country away from the violence of his former homeland should be cause for celebration, right?
There was no cause for celebration because the hostility outside his home is sometimes too overbearing.
Recently, the asylum seeker friend whom I’ve known almost a year was going to buy a sofa from tori.fi.
“Before we could close the deal, the owner of the sofa asked me 3-4 times where I was from,” he said. “I finally told him that he was from Iraq and then he told me to ‘fuck off’ and ‘fuck you!’
For some asylum seekers Finland is a disappointment. Photo: Enrique Tessieri
In the apartment block where he lives with his family, everything was fine with the neighbors until two Iraqi families moved to the same building.
“Every morning a man knocks at our doors and if the children are playing and shouting at 8.30 pm he comes by and bangs at the door,” he said. “Once he shouted at my son because he got scared and I threatened to call the police. This goes on everyday.”
Another time the asylum seeker went to the local Lidl and was stopped by a woman who started to ball him out.
“Why are you protesting in Helsinki [Railway Station Square], soon Migri [The Finnish Immigration Service] will oust all of you from Finland!” my friend said.
“There’s an Iraqi woman who has breast cancer but the social worker refuses to buy her medicine because she’s a refugee,” he said. “She got one negative [for asylum from The Finnish Immigration Service].”
The asylum seeker said that on many occasions he feels like he would want to die to end his boring existence in Finland where he’s been waiting for almost a year and a half for his residence permit. He has one rejection and is awaiting the district court’s decision concerning his appeal.
“I want to move to another country, anywhere,” he said.