June 2009, Sunday
In Damascus, it is 43 degrees Celsius. It has got to be afternoon when we step out into the waiting white Toyota Landcruiser, with the text of the UNHCR. Michelle Alfaro has worked at the UNHCR office (the UN Refugee Agency) in Damascus for almost three years. The situation, as she sees it, is almost hopeless, with one and a half million Iraqi refugees (if not more), and the few pleasures of everyday life. Today it is a bit of a festive atmosphere in the white jeep, when it turns up on road number 2, which will take us out of the bustling Damascus and further out towards the border with Iraq. The trip will take three hours and bring us into the desert landscape. Here, on the border with Iraq, the seven-kilometer-wide no man's land, lies the refugee camp Al-Tanf.
Sweden has decided to accept 150 of the total of 850 refugees who fled here from Iraq. All of the 150 selected as having a particular need for protection and a strong need to get a new home. No one considered having any chance of returning to Iraq. The last of the accepted group of refugees will now be transported out of the camp to be transported to Sweden.
The sun is in zenith, and it's hot. It is not the incredible heat in summer, winter's biting cold or the many sandstorms that most people fear, but scorpions and rats, and poison snakes crawling into tents in their hunt for rats. 
Dag Kymell and Fredrik Larsson from the Immigration Service provides information to the families that the UNHCR has assisted in the selection of the Immigration Service in-depth interviews on the spot. The delegation consists of six officers they are sharing the six delegates who have the difficult task of assessing which of these are in accordance with Swedish law, a special protection needs and in such cases can be considered as quota refugees
Another perhaps more deadly danger is tent fires resulting from cooking on gas kitchens or by an electrical fault. Electricity comes from a diesel driven electricity unit and headed out to each of the tents. That way you can operate TV sets and upload by mobile phone. There are two important channels of information that makes it possible to keep up with what's happening around the world and in particular on the situation in their home country - Iraq. All have left something behind and hope to be able to return slowly fades away as the days are added to the year and become the memories.
After the information meeting with Dag and Frederick are the families called for an interview with one of the six managers. They each have their smaller tents, with a desk, an interpreter and a few chairs. On the desktop, their laptops, pen and paper. A napkin pack is made of the tears that often come with painful memories retold and re-experienced. After the family and the Administrator have exchanged a few polite phrases with the help of an interpreter and some brief information, taken a picture of the family so that the administrator more easily remember all those interviewed. Then you start with the interviews with each of the family members. Since the children are under eighteen years is necessary consent from the parents of private conversation with them. Most have nothing against it.
Since 1948, when the Israeli - Palestinian War was raging and the Israelis called the War of Independence and the Palestinians 'Nakba' - the disaster, displaced one million people from their homes and many Palestinians fled to neighboring countries around. In Iraq was part residence. Here they could live work and learn. But U.S. and Allied war changed everything, and the volatile city condition that was created after the fall of Saddam Hussein, could not protect the Palestinians. With anonymous letters, they were warned that they would be killed if they do not "moved". Shortly thereafter began the attacks.
It can be a difficult process to define one's identity, then there are a lot of false documents in circulation. Not nessecary because the person want to pretend to be someone else. In most cases  false documents depends on that you needed a passport as soon as possible in order to leave Iraq, but to get a passport you need to have an identification card. To get an ID card issued could take two months and on the black market, it takes a couple of days. If the basic document is false issued it makes the passport false, no matter if the information is correct. At the Swedish Embassy in Damascus they issue the new passports containing quota refugees' residency.
1 o'clock in the morning, at Hotel Four Seasons, Damascus. The team from the Migration Board works late into the night at their hotel inside Damascus, by going through the interviews that they did during the day. The trip out to the refugee camp takes 4h. This means that you must already go at 4 am. Due to safety reasons they must not be on the road after dark. Back journey is already at 4 in the afternoon.
July, Sunday 2009
Yousif meet me at the car when I get out. We walk over to the tent where the girls and Ghadah doing the last packing. There are some who have left and the most beloved possessions are pushed down. After the bags are packed and arranged together with the other refugees' bags to be on the same bus, starts the big farewell. First collected the nearest relatives of one of the tents and then gives himself Yousif, Ghadah and the kids out to say goodbye to everyone else.
Since Yousif also been active with music teaching in the camp school is some parting more painful. Especially among the children who do not know when the next will face its appreciated and important teacher again. Parting is sometimes very emotional, that even for me as a viewer's hard to hold back the tears.
Names to be called out by Mutasem Hayatla, who works for UNHCR and has been responsible for the camp's operational part, since the first refugees arrived five years ago. He is now on the step to one of the buses. For him, days like this is incredibly happy, since he hopes the camp will be able to close before the years end. It is a febrile loading of bags and it is packed with people who want to say goodbye. Yousif and family walk into one of the bus and waving goodbye.
After we crossed through at the checkpoint at the Syrian border, the new Swedish passport is distributed. Yousif leans back and looks at Ghadah and their children who are anxiously watching the passports.
The time is already twelve at night, when we check in the luggage at the airport. 32 kg overweight. The staff behind the counter at Czech Airlines sighed.
First sight of the Swedish soil. This year, Sweden has decided to help the 1900 refugees from five different locations arround the world, in order to resettle them in Sweden. One of the camps is Al-Tanf, where nobody in the camp considered to have any chance of returning to Iraq.
June 2009, Monday
When the airplane well lands in Växjö, the journey have last for twenty-two hours and we are all worn out. However Ghadah are most worn, since she is five months pregnant. The last flight between Arlanda and Växjö was considerably rough, and she vomited.
Dazed meet the family Yousif's brother at the airport. Ali and his nephew As'sad who have lived in Växsjö for four years. The joy is great and Ali successful drive the car in wrong direction by misstake and must call for help to find the right way. Once we arrive at the home of Ali, the party is on. All talking in each others mouth and laughs.
June 2009, Tuesday
Carin Brito is the family's administrators on Introducing The Team of the municipality and she has asked to meet with the family at 13:00. Yousif and family arrive in good time with the help of his nephew As'sad. 
The team, as Carin works for, is designed to help new arrivals as soon as possible to enter into Swedish society. Among other things, she explains how it works with the apartment that the family will live in. It is a local apartment that is temporarily before having to get their own contract from the Housing Service. Normally it takes anywhere from six months up to one year. The most important step, though, is to get a personal number so you can apply for a ID card with the tax authorities. 
Malaak try her new bed. The family has just received the keys to the apartment. In the camp was  the hole familly sleeping in the same bed and for Malaak who is three years old, it is the first time she has a separate bed.
Since it is now summer holidays there will be a couple of months before the family may begin their studies at Swedish for Immigrants (SFI), and Carin is soon off for vacation as well. She has notified Malaak to kindergarten, but when they find a place at the nursery school may be long as for other children. Mariam is to start in school in a class of immigrants in august, where they only read Swedish first year, and then become placed in ordinary Swedish school
July 2009, Thursday
I ring at the door bell of the famillys apartment. Yousif opens with a broad smile and says welcome. We drink morning coffee and have breakfast together. Ghadah helps Mariam to put up their hair in braids. Malaak is still asleep. Yousif sigh and look out the window when suddenly he says - Now it does not matter what happens to me because I know my family is safe.
Mariam in school learning swedish
Mariams first contact with Lucia celebrations.
Mariam with her new best friend from the Balkans

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