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A Refugee

Not until I myself became a refugee, did I fully understand the real meaning of the word a refugee. When I was a young boy, I used to watch on TV people in faraway countries carrying their possessions and fleeing for their lives. Their facial expressions witnessed of the pain and suffering they had gone through.
In a shaky voice, they spoke about a war, destruction, killings and many other terrible things, which I because of my young age could not completely understand. They had lost everything and they were going towards the unknown.
At that time, I could never have imagined that one day I was going to be one those anonymous people who had lost everything and became just a number in the statistical reports. One beautiful summer day I boarded the bus which would take me faraway for my home town and which would never take me back.

For after a prison camp, killings, ethnic cleansing and all other atrocities which I have witnessed during the war, I knew that I would be unable to return and walk the streets together with the same people who behaved worse than animals. And I also knew that on the day when I had left my homeland I had died a mental death.
Coming to Sweden it was a shock. Not only cold weather, but above all people’s behaviour. My inner voice told me the very first moment that I was not welcome here. Unfortunately, that feeling did not change all these years. Walking the streets of the town in which we refugees from Bosnia were accommodated, I came across some Swedish men who scowled at me telling me something which I could not understand. It would take me about two years and my assiduous learning of Swedish to understand that those words actually were insults and curses.

I would hear them in the following years many times, almost at regular intervals. They were uttered usually by ugly, overweight Swedish men, who probably believed that immigrants and refugees were the cause for everything bad which had happened in their lives. At the beginning, whenever I heard them, I felt as if someone had been hitting me in the stomach. I asked myself how someone could hate a person only because of the colour of his hair or the country of origin.

How can someone vent one’s own frustrations and failures onto poor refugees who had come to his or her country only because their existence in their homelands had become unbearable? After years of living among them, I believe I know the answer. It is simple - a lack of real love. Children who grow up surrounded with love, when they become adults later spread that love around them like a beautiful flower is spreading its delicate scent.

And those who are not surrounded with love do not even know what love is. They could have read about it or watch it in some of the Hollywood kitsch productions. However, their hearts remain cold and they are unable to feel the palpitations which give a human being a sensation of flying. As adults they suffer and they are angry at themselves, at the society and at everyone who they regard as weak and inferior.

At the beginning when I still was interested in the Swedish society, I visited many families. They would usually show me their homes and when they opened a child room, it looked as if I found myself in a toyshop.

The room would be packed until a ceiling with all kind of toys and games and I felt dizzy. Do they try to compensate children with material things instead of giving them a true love, for which they do not have enough spare time?” I asked myself remembering that I had just a few toys, but instead, I had received a huge amount of love.