Old Man

When I was in the asylum home, I met an older man. He was from Iraq. Old man. White hair. I don’t know how old he was. He was on a wheelchair. He was staying in the asylum home for four years. When he came, he wasn’t on a wheelchair yet, he only used crutches. I think his health got worse because of long waiting and worrying.

They put him in a room with other refugees. I imagine that it would be better for an old person to have his privacy and his peace. But he never got it. Nobody helped him. Sometimes some other refugees took him to the city center with a bus, so he could do some things he wanted to. For example, to get a haircut and a shave. That was his ritual, the only reason to leave asylum home for some hours.

The Ministry for internal affairs gave him a negative. I don’t know his story, but I imagine that he didn’t leave his country just like that. Especially if you’re old and sick, like him, you don’t leave just like that. Even us, the young ones, were forced to leave, and we can walk on our own two feet. This man was at the end of his life, but he still left. He probably didn’t have a choice. He tried to buy himself a few more nice years.

But Slovenia, as I said, gave him a negative. They didn’t give him a refugee status. He said: ”Ok, so send me back.” But they didn’t do that either. Whenever I visited him, he cried. He felt like a baby, totally helpless. They didn’t let him live here, they didn’t let him leave or send him back to his own country, where he could still keep some dignity, even if it was dangerous.
And then he died. This summer. I think he died from sadness.

X, Syria