Monday, 4 January 2016

Iraqi refugees at "Hei Helsinki" comics workshop

Two panels from Firas Sabar's comic about his perilous journey from Iraq. The story ends with his arrival at Helsinki airport. Note: In Arabic you read from right to left.

Hei Helsinki arranged a comics workshop for a group of Iraqi asylum seekers. They stayed in Helsinki at at a reception centre, but the workshop was held at Kiseleff’s house in Hei Helsinki’s premises in three sessions in November - December. The workshop was facilitated by Leif Packalen of World Comics Finland. The Iraqi artist Mohaned Durubi did the interpreting at the workshop.

During 2015 an unprecedented number - about 30.000 - of migrants came to Finland to request for asylum. This put a lot of strain on the authorities, but also generated many positive initiatives from NGOs and spontaneous groups. The Hei Helsinki initiative is a good example.

Samples from the workshop:

Hasheim Jama's story about the car bomb that killed his father.

A detail from Khattab Uday's comic about the religious fighting in Bagdad. The man with the gun says: Either you follow us, or we will kill you.
A detail from Mohammad Al Fith's love story, which ends with a broken heart. 

Alaa Al Abady's story is about his journey to Finland and the reunification of his family here.

Posted by Leif Packalen

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