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Elaf Ali's book about honour repression: ”This book would have given me hope when I was young”

It is fifteen years since Elaf Ali left home, left Kristianstad. She grew up in a family controlled by honour norms. Not until she left home did she begin to feel free.
This spring her book about her life as she grew up was published. She would have liked to read just such a book when she was young. ”Then I could have felt hope that it would come to an end one day”.
Kristianstad • Publicerad 7 juli 2021 • Uppdaterad 7 juli 2021
Elaf Ali will be at the Book Festival in Kristianstad on 3–4 September. In the spring  her book was published about how hard it was to grow up in an honour culture.
Elaf Ali will be at the Book Festival in Kristianstad on 3–4 September. In the spring her book was published about how hard it was to grow up in an honour culture.
Foto: Mikael Persson

The title of the book is 'Who said anything about love? Breaking away from honour repression'.

– This is the book I wish I'd been able to read when I was growing up. If I'd read it when I was 15 and my father was at his worst, I would have felt some hope that one dayb it would come to an end.

When she had her first period, everything changed.The control increased. No swimming lessons, no school excursions, no spending the night at a friend's. And absolutely no contact whatsoever with a boy. Now her parents shifted their focus to her future – she was to be a wife and mother.

”Even though I was subjected to racism, I love Fjälkinge”
Elaf Ali
Elaf Ali's book ”Who said anything about love?” has received a lot of attention this year. About repression by her father in the name of honour. After a long struggle it developed into a proper meeting between father and daughter.
Elaf Ali's book ”Who said anything about love?” has received a lot of attention this year. About repression by her father in the name of honour. After a long struggle it developed into a proper meeting between father and daughter.
Foto: Raben & Sjögren

Elaf could not understand why her brothers and Swedish friends had different opportunities and rights. Why should she be married off - she wanted to find love for herself.

– Even though I was subjected to racism, I love Fjälkinge. There weren't so many other Elafs there, so I compared my life to that of my friends. So I have my years in Fjälkinge to thank for who I am.

She hopes the book can help other young girls who are victims of honour repression, and be a help for people who encounter different forms of honour repression in a professional capacity.

– This is still a big problem in the community in Sweden, reports show that hundreds of thousands of girls are victims.

Facts

Book Festival – Elaf Ali one of the authors

3rd–4th September. Skåne's biggest book festival, has been held since 1999.

This year with the theme ”For better or worse”. With an audience at Kulturkvarteret and digital on other occasions.

There will also be live streamed discussions about books with several authors. Also various forms of entertainment between talks, and poetry from a special podium.

Short story competition and workshop for young people. Read more at Kristianstad Bokfestival

Elaf Ali came to Sweden from Iraq when she was four. The family lived in Fjälkinge. As an adult she has realised her dream of becoming a journalist.
Elaf Ali came to Sweden from Iraq when she was four. The family lived in Fjälkinge. As an adult she has realised her dream of becoming a journalist.
Foto: Mikael Persson
”A lot of people associate honour norms with religion, but that is not true”
Elaf Ali

How can your book make a difference?

_ We must begin to talk about it, all the time. A lot of people associate honour norms with religion, but that is not true, we had honour norms long before we had today's religion. My parents, for example, were not religious.

Elaf believes that honour norms and honour repression are a big problem in the community,, although they are hidden.  She hopes her book will contribute to bringing the problem out into the open.
Elaf believes that honour norms and honour repression are a big problem in the community,, although they are hidden. She hopes her book will contribute to bringing the problem out into the open.
Foto: Mikael Persson
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Så här jobbar mosaik.kristianstadsbladet med journalistik Uppgifter som publiceras ska vara sanna och relevanta. Vi strävar efter förstahandskällor och att vara på plats där det händer. Trovärdighet och opartiskhet är centrala värden för vår nyhetsjournalistik.