Whenever an asylum seeker, irrespective of how many times his or her application for asylum got turned down, there is one matter that must be done: write, write and write.
Not too many understand it, but it’s very important because at this moment every asylum seeker who is here is shedding roots or writing their history in Finland. I am certain many years from now, when we write about the hardships that the Iraqi community faced in Finland, we’ll search for those anecdotes found in diaries and in oral histories.
Here is a short story about an Iraqi asylum seeker who gave us a glimpse of his life in Finland:
I was with my uncle outside in Baghdad when we both got shot by a gang of militias. I survived, my uncle died instantly. I was rushed to a hospital where I recuperated after a couple of months. I then moved to Syria in 2011 because I wasn’t safe in Iraq. I moved to Syria in 2011 and stayed there for four years but there was a terrible civil war going on there as well. I moved back to Iraq in 2015 for a couple of months and went to Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria Germany, Sweden and finally arrived in Finland on September 26, 2015. Crossing 10 countries to reach Finland was dangerous.
A picture of the lucky couple’s hands. Where there is love there is a way, right?
I have had my asylum application rejected twice. I’ve been in a relationship with a Finnish woman for over a year. We live together and love each other. We want to build our lives in Finland. I will be getting married this week. All the red tape to get the permissions from Iraq to the Finnish Embassy in Turkey have been overwhelming and forced us to postpone the date of our wedding. But everything is in order now and we’ll get married through the register office this week.
I don’t want to go back to Iraq because it isn’t a safe country. People don’t have any right in Iraq. You have two choices, though: to join the militias or face death.
I chose life. That’s why I’m not going back to Iraq.
Please respect my decision.