Sunday, January 6, 2013

Destroy a Refugee's camera, NO PROBLEM Sir!

My Best Souvenirs from Sweden 
I don't know where and from when I should start but soon, it'll be eight years since I was forced to leave all that I've built all my life, my career, family friends and above all my beloved country due to an unfortunate incident that happened to me to "live" in Sweden. Being a refugee and to live in a very far away country wasn't my choice; if it was the case I could have had done (like three of my Ethiopian classmates) it when I came to Europe/Finland for the first time in the 1998 to study Special Education. One of our fellow Ethiopian classmate was attacked by four skin-heads
in a broad-day light at store where I left him five minutes ago; it could have been me because his attackers claimed that he looked like a Somali, how convincing. To make the long story short, all of us except three of our country people came back to Ethiopia after finishing the forty-five days crash-course. I'll never and ever forget how we were just counting each remaining days to go back home but I didn't know at that time that, what goes around comes around. I've never imagined I'd end up next door to Sweden and taste that same fate (with a different twists) which I thought avoided it fifteen years ago (huh, time flies).
Gå hem javla neger  (Go home Bloody N####r )
I don't know if I've this magnetic attraction to racists/criminals/bullies etc but it's been always like that (it could maybe my minuscule stature, unfortunately I'm too old to grow muscles:)). Anyway, such name callings had become so common to me (most of the time it had been said in low voice so as not other bystanders to hear it) after I moved to Stockholm a couple of years ago. However, I couldn't take it anymore when this guy who is twice my size said these words openly and loudly while I was going to a metro station. I said en gång til (once again) and he repeated it proudly and arrogantly. He came and started punch me when I tried calling the police to tell about the incident and then grabbed my mobile from my hand and put it in his pocket; can you believe this? Those teenage kids skating on the nearby field and their parents were just watching live show but did nothing either to intervene or call the police when a fellow human-being was attacked in front their eyes. I urged him to return my mobile but he started to walk away from the place so I had no choice but to stop him and then he begun to attack me aggressively which eventually turned out into a full-blown fight for life and death. And then this young Swedish guy came and asked us what's going on and I told him that I want my attacker to return back my phone. Then, he left us there when he found out that I was the victim not the other way around. I yelled and screamed hjälp, hjälp to those bystanders but they went their own to my amazement. Finally, when my attacker knew I wasn't budging he smashed my cell-phone on the asphalt and started to run. Luckily, I managed to put all the pieces together and contacted the police so that they caught him after an hour or so chase on the streets of Stockholm. What still shocks me is not that I was attacked by a racist psycho but rather by the apathy of the bystanders who seemed to be entertained at this human tragedy. 

Destroy a Refugee's camera, NO PROBLEM Sir!
I still don't understand why I never listen to my instincts and that could be one of the reasons why this ugly incident happened on the early evening of July 10th 2012. I was in town and I'd a really bad headache but it was also summer and sunny; so, I decided to stay out and take some pictures, even though my gut feeling was telling me to do otherwise. When I came out from the sub-way station at the University I saw this bus-driver taking nap ( I thought so) sprawling his feet on the wheel, I was like what an amazing pose (if I knew what was awaiting for me). I took out my camera and begun adjusting the zoom, alas before I knew it the guy that I thought was napping, jumped out from his seat and strangled my neck and took away my camera in a split of seconds. Then a couple ( a Swedish guy and his Asian partner) arrived to us while we were arguing, they tried to find out what's going on and suddenly the guy sprang from the place. All I heard was this sound boom; my knees turned jelly, my heart almost stopped beating and I felt like part of my body was ripped off. All I could say was vad gör du (what are you doing); he just drove his bus and disappeared from the scene leaving me and my lifeless camera on the spot. It was surreal and I still couldn't comprehend how a normal person did such things to another person. I was frozen and couldn't move for a couple of minutes but all that I was hearing was somebody mumbling: "no problem, I've written the bus number we will report this to the police"; hmm, if he knew what I had in my luggage. I told him that I'm undocumented asylum seeker who is wanted by the police to be deported back to my country. Anyway, he called customers' service of  Stockholm's Local Traffic (SL) and reported the incident; well, they told us I should report it to the police which I couldn't for the obvious reason so I e-mailed what happened to his employers with all exact details. To make the long story short I made the report to the police last December since I'm no longer paperless (undocumented asylum seeker); hmm, the investigator however told me she dismissed the case since the suspect's employers keep no records of their employees for more than one month. Can you believe this??? I went to the police station because I thought such things couldn't never happen in Sweden. 

The investigator: " I called three people at his employers' office and none of them know which guy broken your camera and that is why I dropped your charges."
Me: "But, I gave them the bus number and the exact date/time and place where the incident took place"
The investigator : "you know, some companies erase video recordings of their CCTV cameras and that could be the case" (hmm, have you ever seen an investigator defending the defendant?)
Me: "But, they are trying to cover up and avoid all the consequences at any cost. It's impossible for a reputable company like that hiring random people from the street and not keeping its employees' record. Would you please do something?" I can see bloods are rushing into her cheeks and her eyes are bulging with anger. 
The Investigator: "Do you want me to march in to their office with a gun and force them to give me his name? No, Thank you!
END of discussion. 
SIGH! What I still don't understand is that such things are happening in a country which champions itself as the land with a rule of law, equality and fairness. These two souvenirs remind me NOTHING but how helpless, powerless, defenseless, hopeless and nameless alien I become over the last eight years after I left everything behind to live in "freedom". And guess what, I will never be surprised if I read a news that some criminals get away with their heinous crimes; for me it's deja vu. What scares me most right now is that if I've similar (or worse) souvenirs to collect during my endeavor to FREEDOM. Exile SUCKS, it really does!

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