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Creative Series
Beyond Borders

A Bird

Author: Noaz Deshe

Once the dream of living in one of Europe's most advanced societies is no longer a dream - what is reality like for a Syrian man in the middle of a Swedish forest?

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Behind the Scenes

By Noaz Deshe

In 2016, like many others, I found myself volunteering in boats on the Mediterranean and later in refugee camps across Greece.

I met Adam Yunis in a refugee housing in Greece. He was living with four other men in a room while waiting for a decision on their asylum cases. Adam was a Red Cross volunteer, and thanks to his fluency in English he could translate people's emergency requests to the staff at Idomeni - an unofficial refugee camp established on the Macedonian-Greek.

As was the case with Calais, Idomeni was eventually broken apart by the Greek military moments before it could become a permanent village for thousands of refugees.

Adam escaped the Syrian war, but will not talk directly of his escape, his torture at the hands of militants or the family he left behind. Instead, he chose to become a poet.

We discussed making a short film about his frustrations with himself being lost in the Swedish integration system and the extreme isolation he felt. He would call and describe his language classes as pure comedy. At the time, his only local friend was Janne, a 60-year-old Swedish canoe instructor in an adjacent lake.

It seemed like a fitting opportunity to capture their surreal, unlikely friendship and explore Adam's chances in a small, nearly empty village in the heart of Sweden.

Four years later, I caught up with Adam, who is now two years into his Swedish experience. He expressed anger, frustration, and a longing for Greece.  

'A Bird' was shot over one day in 2020 in Ryd - a village 2 hours north of Malmo, Sweden.

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