If you had the opportunity ever to know Ali, one of the first things you’d know is his arduous journey from Finland to Iraq and hopefully back. During the roughly three years lived in Finland, the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) to tell him that he isn’t wanted here.
This is his situation today: Ali left voluntarily in June 2018 to Iraq, got married to his sweetheart in Turkey in October of the same year, and applied for a visa to Finland on the grounds that he is married to a Finnish citizen.
After a long wait, their chance to live together in Finland was dashed last autumn by Migri, which claimed that their marriage is fake.
Both have appealed the decision to the administrative court.
“Sometimes I lose hope and it is really a stressful feeling,” said Ali’s wife. “I hope things will work out. We will find a way.”
Apart from doing everything legally, the couple sent a letter to Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo asking her to intervene in their case.
“I haven’t got any reply from her office,” said Ali’s wife. “Not even confirmation that they received our letter.”
There is always a question that arises from Ali: “How long before I can be by my beloved wife’s side?”
If there is one matter that characterizes Migri in Ali’s and his wife’s case it is the sheer cruelty and arbitrariness of how Migri treats asylum seekers from the Middle East, Ali’s case is one from a long list of other Middle Easterners married to a Finn.
Just like Finland’s inhumane family reunification policy, the human right to establish a family in Finland is denied by a country that claims to value social equality and justice.
In my book that is called hypocrisy.
A message* from Ali (12.4.2020):
How are you, it’s been a long time since we chatted. I hope you are feeling well. I don’t know what’s happening to me. I’m not having good days as I once did a long time ago. I don’t know what to do, but I remember you. You’ve always lent a friendly ear, and thank you for helping us in our ordeal. There are many thoughts, some that appear when I’m working or when I’m resting. Matters become worse before I go to sleep. Every time I close my eyes, an image appears of a picture (see below) I took in a police cell I was detained.
My heart starts to beat faster when I remember the unfair treatment I received in Finland by the police. It generates a lot of anxiety and sadness. I sometimes watch movies before going to sleep to forget. But I cannot sleep as so many things are swimming around in my mind, like the nightmares, the nightmares I see every night. One of these is of the police running after me. I try to run, but there is nothing I can do. I cannot escape. The nightmares are so intense that I can’t stop them from appearing. I tried many times by not thinking of what happened. I tried everything even with the help of video calls with my wife every day and every night. But it’s to no avail. The nightmares appear. I wish I could do more and be stronger, but it’s so hard. I’m sorry for sharing this with you.
- Ali’s journey: Getting married in Turkey and the long wait. Will he get a visa to Finland? (15.10.2018)
- Ali’s journey (June 13, 2018): The long journey back. Baghdad feels like a sauna (13.6.2018)
- Ali’s journey (May 20, 2018): Last full day in Mikkeli, Finland (20.05.2018)
- The police officer, and the asylum seeker’s lighter: “I’ll give it back to you in Baghdad” (24.2.2018)
- Asylum seeker in detention cell 208: Two pictures, two views of the Joutseno immigration removal center (22.2.2018)
- Asylum seeker in detention cell 406: “I’ll either be sent to Lappeenranta or Joutseno” (20.2.2018)
- A letter from an Iraqi asylum seeker in detention cell 406 in Joutseno, Finland (31.10.2017)
- Asylum seeker in detention cell 406: “…I’m happy to be free again” (23.11.2017)
- Asylum seeker in detention cell 406: Administrative court halts deportation order temporarily (17.11.2017)
- Iraqi asylum seeker in detention cell 406: “Migri doesn’t believe I’m a Christian” (10.11.2017)
*The original message was slightly edited.