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cherriecouttsphotography.com » Cherrie Coutts Photography

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"Father is not so important" – a ridiculous statement from a forward thinking government?

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Image used with permission from LENA LARSSON. © Lena Larsson

Imagine being able to be with the one you love. Imagine having a child with that person that you love. Imagine having a wonderfully integrated life in a new country with your family. And now imagine being torn away from that family. I bet you’re thinking something along the lines of “Oh, gosh, thank goodness that’s not me!”. I know I did, selfishly. But, this is what might soon happen to Adel, Emma and their daughter Selma.

Adel is originally from Iran, who came to Sweden as a refugee (so… for all intents and purposes… illegally). Just stop to think about that for a minute. Refugee. Yes, I know all the arguments that go on about this topic and I have witnessed such arguments first hand when I took the Swedish Government’s free Swedish language program, SFI. I even heard with my own ears, first hand accounts from other students who came to Sweden as Refugees. And yes, I thought to myself how lucky I was to not be literally fleeing for my life, walking across a whole continent, losing friends and family along the way, fearing I might die if I go, but knowing I will certainly die if I stay… all for the hope of a better life. I am fortunate enough to not have to have gone through something as horrific as that.

It’s saddening to think that a man could be sent back to the very place he was fleeing from in the first place because he’s here “illegally”… Yes. It’s law. I know. I, myself, had to leave Sweden to apply for a visa as I could not stay while the decision was being made. I, however, did not have a family and a one year old daughter, and I certainly didn’t face being hanged if I did return to Australia. For me, it was a cushy wait in a warm, safe country with my family and friends, fearing nothing and able to go about my everyday business like normal.

It amazes me, that in a country that is (self proclaimed) the most equal and forwarding thinking country in the world, would ACTUALLY tell a family that a Father is not as necessary as a Mother to a child’s wellbeing is absolutely LUDICROUS. Are we living in some sort of backwards misogyny I wasn’t aware of or are we in 2013??? Yet, this is EXACTLY what one representative from Migrationsverket told Adel and Emma. That as long as the Mother was in Sweden, the Father being present was not important (and I paraphrase). WHAT? WAIT…. because… everywhere I look here in Stockholm, Fathers are out with their kids socialising and taking them to school… and wait… don’t they even stay home from work on PATERNITY LEAVE to look after their kids??? Or, am I seeing things?? So much for that forward thinking, equality between men and women attitude this country prides itself so much on…

So… let me see if I’ve got this straight, here. Sending a man back to certain death because that’s the law when applying for a visa, even though he’s been here, FULLY integrated and with a family and a job is MORE important than a child needing her Father? Wow. Makes soooo much sense. But, you know, here’s what I’m thinking… why is it THAT important that he leave Sweden while the decision is made? Are they going to say no to his request? Are they afraid he’ll disappear in Sweden if they DO say no? Just like with any law… there needs to be exceptions for extenuating circumstances. Saying there’s no proof he’ll be put to death if he’s sent back doesn’t fit with the fact that he FLEED in the first place. People don’t just up and leave with nothing, risking their lives just to take an extended holiday in one of the coldest, darkest country’s in the world. It JUST. DOESN’T. HAPPEN.

In a few weeks, a decision about Adel’s future will be reached… and I have to hope that this adopted country, culture and people of mine will come to realise that this certainly is not an ordinary case and should be looked at more carefully and considered more compassionately. I hope that someone with a heart will see that this decision won’t just affect Adel’s future and his life… but that it will also have a profound affect on his daughter, Selma. Let’s say for a moment that they do send Adel back and God forbid… something does happen to him… how will that affect Selma? Knowing that her country, her people, sent her Father back to his death because “that’s the law”…? Well… she’d never recover. No-one would. But hey… she’s got her Mother, right…

If you would like to read Lena Larsson’s open letter to Migrationsverket please click on the link, here. You can also read the letter, which is pasted below (in Swedish).

The photography community here is in full swing to try and get this story noticed and hopefully try and make those in charge think a little differently. The more we stand together, the more we can affect change.

There is also a Facebook group you can join. https://www.facebook.com/groups/112843665533633/

And Lena Larsson’s website http://www.lenalarsson.com/

You can also check out the protest list HERE


“Hej Sara, Till att börja med, jag förstår att ditt jobb är att sköta informationen för Migrationsverket – inte fatta besluten själv, men eftersom du är den enda människa som publikt yttrat sej i denna fråga vänder jag mej till dej.

Du vet säkert inte vem jag är, men våra vägar har korsats en gång den här vintern. Jag har bloggat om familjen Larsson Khanzadpor på vinst och förlust. Ända sen dagen jag först träffade dem. Arga, vädjande blogginlägg. Vi har slitit som djur med att sprida och få underskrifter till en PROTESTLISTA. En lista som Emma skickat till migrationsverket – varje dag. Gissar att du inte sett den? Har du sett alla namn på listan? Eller mina blogginlägg för den delen?
Jag däremot, läste din kommentar till Emma, Adel & Selmas fall i AFTONBLADET. Den där kommentaren där du sa att Adel hade kommit hit olagligt och det är besvärande för hans fall. Gör inte alla flyktingar det? Kommer in olagligt alltså. Är det inte den olagliga flykten som gör det till just en flykt? Hade allt varit aviserat, stämplat och klart i passet kanske man egentligen inte behöver komma någon annanstans? Vad vet jag, men tycker bara det låter logiskt. Flykt/smyga/ljuga/springa. Allt hänger ihop på något vis. Som att flykten är en konsekvens av ett riktigt otäckt skarpt läge. En reaktion mot ett hot. En fara för sitt liv. Flykt är något både du och jag har noll erfarenhet av. Vi vann i livets lotteri. Vi föddes i ett land där man t.ex. har rätt att skriva de här raderna.
Det var inte bara den kommentaren som lämnade mej frågande och uppgiven. Det var det där du sa om att migrationsverket inte tycker pappor är så viktiga: –
“Det finns undantag när man har småbarn, eller om barnet påverkas negativt av att inte vara med sina föräldrar. Men nu finns det faktiskt en mamma i Sverige, och då blir det svårt att överklaga på den punkten.”
Har du barn Sara? Om du har det, anser du att deras far är så oviktig att det inte spelar någon roll om han lever eller dör? Anser du att de kommer få det minst lika bra om han försvinner? Att det inte kommer skada dem? Har dina barns far ingen funktion alls i er familj? Älskar du honom? Kan du föreställa dej att han blir fängslad, slagen kanske dödad utan att du får en klump i magen? En skenande puls? Kan du ens föreställa dej?
Jag vet. Det här är väldigt personliga frågor, men jag MÅSTE ställa dem. För du är en människa precis som Adel. Inte en siffra i statistiken. Om du stod inför samma situation som Emma, Selma & Adel skulle inte du vilja visa för domaren att er familj visst är värd något. Att ditt barn faktiskt skulle fara illa utan sin far. Att deras liv kan slås i spillror. Skulle inte du vilja visa din familj för den för dej ansiktslöse domaren? Se honom/henne i ögonen? Tala med honom? Skulle inte du vilja att han eller hon skulle ställa de där riktigt personliga frågorna?
Emma, Adel & lilla Selmas öde avgörs om ett par veckor. Deras överklagan tas upp i en domstol – där de inte får närvara. De tillåts inte föra sin egen talan för deras lilla familj. Eller för Selma som bara är ett ynka år gammal. Är ett enda år verkligen all tid ni kommer låta henne få med sin far. Om inte Emma och Adel får föra hennes talan, vem ska beskydda henne då? Svenska staten har uppenbarligen inget intresse av att hjälpa henne. Nu berövas familjen Larsson Khanzadpor rätten att ens tala. Är det demokratiskt tycker du?
Är det för att det blir lättare om man slipper se människan bakom sifferstatistiken som de gör att de inte få komma? Det blir kanske lättare att fatta ett beslut om att slå en familj mitt itu om man slipper se dem i ögonen när man gör det?
“Nej han verkar skum, han kanske bluffar. Kan han bevisa att han blir hängd? Har vi ringt Iran & frågat? Nej, skit samma. En pinne till i statistiken. Ut med honom. NÄSTA!”
Är det därför de inte får komma? Är det därför de inte ens beviljas rätten att förklara hur ont det gör. Hur rädda de de är. Om du visste att du har en dryg vecka kvar till domen. Och du har nekats chansen att få komma och prata med domaren för att rädda livet på ditt livs kärlek. Hur skulle du må? Skulle du sova om natten? Skulle du desperat vilja få chansen att i alla fall träffa den där domaren? För att visa att du har ett ansikte. Att du finns på riktigt.
Hur känns det? Känns det?
Lena Larsson, Stockholm 2013 01 19″

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