I wake up to the rights I take for granted and think about these 38 men every morning. When I first encountered them I desperately wanted to help. I hoped that they, in their dreams, had a more humane life than when they were awake. But as soon as I began portraying them I found out they were tormented by nightmares during their sleep. And I went, night after night, to portray them in their sleep. The hunger strike went on for 28 days.  I was hoping to be able to show a more humane image of them compared to the usual one of the Arab/ foreigner/war victim/ beggar/protester etc etc that we are so used to that we don´t care any more.  I wanted to be fair to their humanity and I wanted them to be seen. I spread the pictures through Facebook and wrote about their situation daily. I was soon contacted by independent newspapers and activist related platforms.

So began my journey into this project that taught me so much. Where I´ve met with each one of them and listened to their stories as much as we were able to communicate with each other. A couple of them spoke Swedish and some spoke English and those who didn´t speak any of those, well, some of their friends translated, we showed pictures on the phones and used sign language… One of them said to me: “ if I had your rights, your basic human rights, I could go to school and learn Swedish”. Others told me about the nightmares where bombs killed their friends and about how lucky they felt when they could manage to get in touch with them and find out that they were still alive. Most of the conversations evolved around this: missing loved ones and the waiting. Lingering like ghosts.

I wrote this while it was going on. I met them on the 17th of August. They had been on hunger strike since the 5th of August and they didn´t look good. They had been in Sweden for between 2 and 12 years. 12 years! Without basic rights allowing them to work or study or have a library card.They started eating again by the end of the month but they were on strike in those tents until late November. Now almost all of them got their permanent residencies. But the situation in Sweden has just gotten worse for people in need of a place to escape to, a place to live in. As you might know the world is a sick place where your human rights depend on where you were born and what color your skin is. And meanwhile childrens bodies are washed up on european beaches.


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