Mehran, a construction worker that picked us up outside Norrköping. He drove us to Nyköping and on the way there he told us about his life.
30 years ago he was living in Iran. He was political active and fought for freedom. When the revolution came to Iran he, as many others, hoped it would bring peace to the country. It didn’t take long before he realized he was wrong.
He was studying at the time, took an active part in the student union and spread information opposing the government. Until school kicked him out. They didn’t want opposition there and Mehran started working. He had a very well paying job and continued being political active.
“Then, one day, I was told I had to do the compulsory military service. Do you know what that is? No? I will tell you. It is three months of education, and then you are sent off to the military and on your first day you are shot. Dead. I felt that i wanted to live a little bit longer, you know. A little bit longer.” He laughs, smiles, makes a gesture with his hand in the air. Life.
“So I had to escape. I had to run away from Iran. I paid 1.5 million SEK to get out. One and a half million. We were a few people escaping. We lay in a truck, on a loading platform, with tanks around us. Here and there the truck had to stop, inspectors stood along the road. They had spears, sharp spears. They would stick them hard among the tanks, randomly, if any one of us would have been hit we would have died immediately.”
The truck took Mehran to Turkey. From there he made his way up to Sweden.
“But I was rejected. They didn’t let me stay. I had to go back to Turkey, and they wanted to send me back to Iran. Treated all refugees very bad. I got a false Id, and made my way to Sweden once again. A friend of mine was set to Iran. He was shot dead at the airport.
I had been here for six months when the police discovered me. They took me in to interrogation, asked me why I had a false Id. I told them my story, what happened my friend. That I would die if I had to go back. So they let me stay. I got a residence permit, and a citizenship. And a 200 SEK fine for being here with a false Id.” Mehran laugh at the memory.
“200, hahaha, that was amazing. The best thing that could happen to me, I was so happy.”
Now he has lived here for 23 years and he really likes the country. “But I want to go back to Iran. Of course I do. But I can’t do that because I don’t know when, or if, I will come back to Sweden. I have a job here and a family, I can’t leave them for that long. They might keep me there for months, maybe I won’t get back ever again. Because I once escaped, I’m a political activist.”
He also told us that in Iran you must never stick your thumb up like we do here. “It’s like the middle finger, it’s very bad. You just wave with your index-finger like this.” He waves with his finger in front of him. In Sweden, that means “no,no,no!”.
Culture. It’s amazing.
Now, let’s continue to Stockholm.