Comic Slams Norway’s Treatment of Somalis
Norway’s treatment of Somali asylum seekers has come under attack in a series of comic strips funded by billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundation.
One of the two Norway strips tell the story of Faiid, a young Somali stuck in a kafkaesque round of asylum interviews, which send him into a deep depression, making him start to wish he’d stayed in his war-torn homeland.
“Sometimes I think I’d take the bombs,” Faiid, who fled Somalia after his brothers and father were shot by Al-Shabaab, exclaims to his best friend after years in limbo. “How I wish I could go back. This is no life here: No job, no wife, no money, no house, no respect. It is no home where you are not wanted.”
Faiid is forced to attend hours of pointless courses, run by unmotivated instructors, with one Norwegian language teacher even falling asleep in class.
The strips, based on interviews with refugees in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Leicester, London, and Malmö, were written by journalist Benjamin Dix and illustrated by artist Lindsay Pollack.
“Meet the Somalis depicts experiences many of us will never know, like fleeing a warzone with your children or, worse, leaving your loved ones behind,” Dix and Pollack write in their introduction. “But more often, these stories portray the values shared amongst many of us, like the importance of family, well-being, and identity in an ever-changing world.”
The other Oslo strip tells a more positive story, showing Amiir, an early and well-integrated refugee to Norway, taking his highly westernised family back to his village in Somalia.
Dix, a former UN official, previously wrote an interactive comic book based on his experiences working in Sri Lanka.
– The Local