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Sofyan Aswad: Discrimination was a hinder for my dreams

When the war in Syria began in March 2011 I was just finishing my srudies in journalism at the university. I started working as a war correspondent in Aleppo for a Lebanese channel. But my dreams of working in Lebanon soon crash-landed.
Sofyan AswadSkicka e-post
Kristianstad • Publicerad 6 februari 2019
Sofyan Aswad
Detta är en personligt skriven text i Mosaik Kristianstadsbladet. Åsikter som uttrycks är skribentens egna.
Sofyan Mosaik redaktionen
Sofyan Mosaik redaktionen

The war in Syria was ruthless, it was a complex situation. So I made up my mind to leave Syria and go to Lebanon. I started looking for a job as a journalist. I asked the TV-channel I was working for if they could help me by giving me a job at their office in Beirut.

Unfortunately their answer was that I couldn’t appear on TV as an announcer. ”You’re not a Lebanese citizen”, the boss said.

This came as a great shock to me. I had studies for four years and graduated from a university in Lebanon. Why this discrimination? Why do they treat me, and everyone else who is forced to flee to Lebanon to escape the war, like this?

Time passed. I tried to work as a journalist in Lebanon, but my passport hindered my dreams. I wasn’t allowed to work on TV, as I said..

Can you understand what it means that a language teacher whose work involves teaching Swedish pupils Swedish is an Arab with an Arabic background?

Here in Sweden you are treated just the same as everyone else, no matter what it says on your passport, where you come from, what your religion and ethnic background are. Here you are treated according to what you can do and what experience you have. You feel that you are a person with rights and obligations.

”Can you understand what it means that a language teacher whose work involves teaching Swedish pupils Swedish is an Arab with an Arabic background?”

When I see all these children here in school, I think of the refugee children in many countries who don’t get the chance to go to school.

Your children aren’t welcome here, they weren’t born here. So they can’t go to state schools.

There are many children living in camps who dream of going to school, of their birthright to study and play. But they can neither study nor play because of the discrimination they and their famiies suffer.

I see all of these differences, and I realise how great my new country is, with laws that ensure equality for everyone , irrespective of nationality, religion or ethnic background.

Here you feel that you are part of a big community. You feel that your children will grow up in a oountry that guarantees them a decent life and a good education, and protects them from all the forms of discrimination we see in many Arab countries.