Daniel, 30: ”My aim was to survive. And then to live.”
Protests in Iran are now in their third week. Daniel Valizadeh sits in safety in Kristianstad and follows the news. He can't sleep at night for worry, but he is also full of expectation about events in his native country.
– If I'd been there I'd have been in the front line. Absolutely, what's happening now is so important.
That could have cost him his life, and he explains the force behind the present protests.
– They're dead already. When your soul isn't free, you live as though you were dead. Unfortunately there will be more bloodshed before it gets better, but there are a lot of people who are prepared to risk their lives fighting for democracy and freedom.
”It's as if I'd overslept before a marathon, I have to work a bit harder to catch up, he laughs.”Daniel Valizadeh
Since 2016 Daniel has led a different kind of life. He fled from Iran after converting to Christianity and daring to say what he thought of the regime. He was beaten up and threatened with being sent to prison. His aim was never to come to Sweden.
– My aim was to survive. And then to live.
And that is exactly what he is doing today. He gives a broad smile. He thanks the congregation in Broby for making him welcome and feel secure, and also his Swedish 'parents' Berit and Fredrik who mean everything to him.
Daniel has never had any difficulties in school. Perhaps that is why he learned Swedish so quickly, but on the other hand, right from the start, he asked questions about Swedish all his waking hours.
So he was able to skip most of Sfi and go straight into a course in basic Swedish before getting through the natural sciences course in just over two years. For nobody was prepared to accept his Iranian merits.
– I'm a bit older compared to my fellow-students at university. So I'm in a bit of a hurry. It's as if I'd overslept before a marathon, I have to work a bit harder to catch up, he laughs.
But at the same time he sees advantages in being 30 and a university student. He has experience of life, but also a clear goal and motivation. He wants to be able to support himself and his family, at the moment they live on his wife's salary and his student loan.
– I hope to be able to go on and take a master's degree, or perhaps do a postgraduate course and do research into cancer and the immune system.