Monday, September 21, 2015

From Syria - or other country - to Sweden: We are many

I am on Bus4You taking me home to Linköping. Bus4You left from Nils Ericson Terminal where several organizations were working hard to help new arrivals, mostly refugees, coming from Syria and several other countries.

I am starting this Post in the hope that volunteers I met there will read this and add to it or tell me their stories. I am also creating this for use in the New York Times Comment sections (will explain tomorrow, Tuesday, I hope.

Here is the scene at Nils Ericson. I have used Photoshop to add a bit to the hijab of one of the two young women wearing hijab so she cannot be identified.

At the counter young women wearing Islamic Relief banners are giving food and drink to new arrivals some of whom you do see here. I spoke with a college-age son from one Syrian family who in high-level English told me that he and his family had been traveling for 17 days and had finally arrived here in Gothenburg, Sweden. They were not done traveling. At the same time that I would board my Bus4You to take me to Linköping, they would be boarding Bus4You that would take them to Oslo, Norway!

The people helping out here are members of Islamic Relief - The Front Line, Red Cross personell, and staff from Migrationsverket. As far as I  could tell, most of the groups sitting on benches and on the floor were families of several different ethnicities.

Here I introduce an extremely helpful Islamic Relief person, Ismail, who gave me an overview in English and Swedish and then helped me track down a young woman I believe from Kirkuk whom I want to meet my friend Sipel from Dohuk, north of Kirkuk.

Ismail, if you want your identity to be hidden, let me know (gmail up to the left) and Photoshop will hide you.

Tomorrow I will be at the Red Cross in Linköping with my colleagues from Iran, Finland, and Sweden where we offer Träna svenska for anyone who wants to talk and listen. Every week brings new arrivals - recently Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Bulgaria, and Somali - and we have a ball talking and listening.

As concerns the New York Times, this is just a preface. Every day the New York Times web edition has Editorials and OpEds on the flow of refugees to Europe. A single Editorial can have up to 1000 comments, all of them first reviewed before being released - or rejected. I read 100s every day and write my own. What troubles me deeply is that so many of my fellow Americans (I am dual citizen, USA, Sverige) are so ill informed that they write that these refugees should not be accepted because they are muslims or - I may give samples tomorow. I doubt that none has ever met a real live muslim so perhaps until they do they can live with their fears of the "other".


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  2. I am also an avid readerofNYTimes online.....especially te comments. I welcome your blog. I have never met a muslim in my life. I am a 55 yrold female who is greatly concerned about muslim refugee assimilation into an entirly different culture. ThANk you for your hospitality and interest in clarifying what is happening in Sweden.

    1. Hi Tina, thanks for visiting the blog. I am so busy at the Red Cross now that I am not keeping up. Anytime you want to know more send Email to my Gmail address. I spent 3.5 h at the Red Cross yesterday and as always was rewarded by the students and visitors and at the same time overwhelmed by the need. I helped a wonderful Somali, Naiimi, with her practical nurse homework, a Kurd with his English essay, a Palestinian who is applying to work in a program in the West Bank to help the people there, and talked with an Iranian man who became a highly successful cook way up north in Sweden where my grandparents (fathers side) came from. All are muslims but they represent the range from quite religious to completely secular. Of course extremist muslims do not come to the Red Cross.

    2. Tina I just wrote a reply thanking you but it disappeared. Do not have time now for more but feel free to send Email to my Gmail address. Larry

  3. Thank you for giving some insight into what is really happening with the integration of immigrants from war torn countries. The nativist and racist rantings of Donald Trump and the like makes me fear my fellow citizens here in the USA have forgotten who their own ancestors were, and the conditions under which many choose to come here.

  4. Here in the Washington DC metropolitan area, almost everyone knows many Muslims... some who have been here for one or two generations, and some who are recent arrivals. Just saying...

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