Whether I feel foreign? Both yes and no. I have experienced racism a few times, but overall I don’t feel foreign here, because I live in a democratic country characterised by the values I have always fought for. I was 17 when I was jailed in Sudan because of my involvement with the political left wing, and during my time in prison I lost my sight as a result of torture.
I seek refuge in books. Literature gives me an identity, a space for thinking freely, and a new understanding of myself and the world. I have grown up with a father who read everything he could lay his fingers on, and who taught me that if you only read what you are allowed to read, you become stupid. I remember clearly when I was nine years old, the secret police set fire to our bookshelf, but my father continued to collect books. For example, my father read Soviet literature as a sort of rebellion against the regime.
In Denmark I associate books with freedom. I am free to read what I want, which means that I am free to widen my horizon in all possible directions. When I read Hans Kirk’s description of the community of an authoritarian Danish religious movement in “Fiskerne”, I learned more about this particular part of Denmark, as it once used to be, while at the same time I also gained insight into some of the general mechanisms in all religious communities all over the world. Everyone should have the freedom to acquire knowledge. Also, the audiobook format gives me a sort of freedom that one may otherwise miss when you are blind, namely the freedom to take care of myself and not rely on the assistance of others.
33 years / male / single / masseur and teacher on the masseur training for the blind / Frederiksberg / from Sudan / came to Denmark as a quota refugee in 2001