Awad Jammal

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Denmark has given me everything – just not a job; I managed that on my own. I have had my own company. Without a job you do not become Danish. A lot of youngsters watch telly all day and become criminals. The punishments are not severe enough, so they laugh at the police and the judges, and carry on with more crime.

Seems people brought their problems from Lebanon to Gellerup, so I would much rather live elsewhere. But my wife wants to live here. I can go to the bazar without being scared. Back in Lebanon I could not even sit on a café with a cup og coffee and a newspaper without being scared of car bombs.

An Israeli soldier stopped me in Lebanon, and stamped my passport. He knew of course that doing so no Arab countries would accept me. He wanted to ruin my life. Because now everybody would think I was Jewish or an Israeli spy. So, I was kicked out of Abu Dhabi where I worked. I was sent from airport to airport over the next seven days. Larnaca, Athens, Teheran, Kuwait, Bahrain, Tripoli and Cairo.

Back in Lebanon I went into hiding for three years. Later I came to Denmark. While I waited for my wife and children to get up here, I sent money to them. I lived off lentil soup and walked to and from the language school in the snow to avoid the bus fare.

I say just like H.C. Andersen that Denmark is my mother and father. Here I can breathe freely. When I had arrived in Denmark I wrote to my mother and told her she should have left me outside the Danish Embassy when I was born, then I could have lived all my life in Denmark. My children have been given something worth gold from me: they can live in Denmark.

Awad Jammal / 69 / male / married / children / pensioner / Aarhus / from Lebanon, palestinian background / came to Denmark in 1989 / residency permit same year