Publication date: February 2017 | pdf

Everyone staying at the refugee reception center has two stories--the real one and the
one for the record. The stories for the record are the ones the new refugees tell to obtain
the right to humanitarian asylum, written down in the immigration department and
preserved in their private files. The real stories remain locked in the hearts of the
refugees, for them to mull over in complete secrecy. That’s not to say it’s easy to tell the
two stories apart. They merge and it becomes impossible to distinguish between them.
Two days ago a new Iraqi refugee arrived in Malmo in southern Sweden. He was in his
late thirties. They took him to the reception center and did some medical tests on him.
Then they gave him a room, a bed, a towel, a bedsheet, a bar of soap, a knife, fork and
spoon and a cooking pot. Today the man is sitting in front of the immigration officer
telling his stories at amazing speed, while the immigration officer asks him to slow
down as much as possible.
--Hassan Blasim, The Corpse Exhibition and Other Stories of Iraq