Today was a day of reflection. I spent my day with several young men from Syria that are here in Sweden who are applying and waiting for their visa. They live in a small town outside of Ullared, all they have is eachother, their smartphones and their hopes and dreams of living in love and peace. I was invited by the organization 4H Halland to have a lecture and workshop about the power of social media. We talked about social medias opportunities to public opinion, democracy and social impact.
What hit me the most was that they have so much love and greatfulness in their hearts. And what hit me even more is how ignorant and how the Swedish integration system is a total FAILURE. They shared their stories with me and told me how they arrived to Sweden in the dreams of living in peace, but how they randomly got placed in this camp, outside of Ullared, 1 mile into the woods. They have no option what so ever, to just accept it and do the best of it. What they miss, and want is to LEARN Swedish, LEARN about the Swedish culturem history and tradition.
So, I was there to meet and talk to them, to listen to them and hopefully make them feel like someone is really caring about them. I gave them a workshop exercise where they in groups discussed a social issue that they would like to change. It could be anything – anything they felt in their hearts that they would like to change. This is what they did:
”No violence, no racism, social media is a tool for democracy to people in the world. Respect different cultures and religions. We want justice. Make sure our children, the next generation – make them know about war, if they know about the war and the pain, they will save and work for peace. We wish to fix how Swedish people see people like us, we are war refugees, not all arab people are daesh. In Syria, we run from them. We came here because we want to feel like humans, to experience freedom and live a democratic life. We want to say thank you to the Swedish goverment and to the country, this is why we painted this picture to tell you how we are greatful for you and that we are not terrorists.”
”We hope that the Swedish goverment and Swedish people wants to meet us who came, and exchange our cultures together. A meeting could be about the life in Sweden tell us how you live in Sweden. We dont know anything about Swedens and how you live here, if this would happend it would be much easier for us. It´s like tea and suger. If Sweden is the tea, we are the suger. We want to make your lives more sweet :). No matter if you are old or young, we dont know everything! You didnt know anything about Syria before the war… All we knew about Sweden was that it is cold and that you are about 9 million people. In Syria we are 30 millions. We will respect you more if we know your history. Sweden have freedom, freedom of speach freedom of media and stands humanity – we need to know more about you. With this picture we hope the war in Syria stops, we are not terrorists, we just want peace.
Thanks to Sweden, the politicians, the people, the king, everyone!
”A problem and issue that we have is that the transport is expensive. Where we live in the camp, it sometimes feels like a prison. We can´t go out, we hope they will move closer to the city. We are depending on Linda who is the resposible of the camp – if Linda is not here, we cant do anything… We would like more possibilities to move around. We get 700 kr/month, that is not enough for us to move around. We would love to meet more people and learn Swedish, it´s not possible if we are stuck here.”
”We want to create an action plan where we devide us into groups A B C D and creates a t shirt where is says ”I am a refugee, I am a human”.
A – Stand at a street with much people, give them flowers and a big smile – thank them for their hospitility. This is because we want to show something good and that we are happy to be here. We will take photos and videos and upload it on social media.
B – Show photos and videos before and after war. This is so show and create awareness of how we were in danger, people died, got raped… Show them why we search about peace and a good life here. We ran from war, we ran from terror, we are humans, we are like like you.
C – dance traditional dance to create awareness and make people look at us.
D – create a website with information and make people support our case. We could also be at a eldery house – to get to know them, learn the language and hear abot their lives.
In every country in the world there is good, and bad… We are good.”
Thank you Halland 4H for the invitaton and the opportinity for me to meet you all. I am very thankful, and hope to see you all again