I’ve been thinking for a long time about how to express my views on the current situation in Finland concerning how asylum seekers are treated. The past three months I have become friends with people who are experiencing this process, and what I have heard and seen through their eyes, is making me even more worried about the state of human rights in my country.
I am also very much in doubt that the way asylum seekers are treated here is constructive, and good for the future of this country. I think we are both wasting huge amounts of human and economical resources, and loosing our humanity and status as civilized people. I cannot let cynicism and racism flourish without trying to fight it.
Thousands of mostly young people are now waiting to know if they will be allowed to start building a future for themselves, or if they will be sent back to danger and quite possibly death. Most of them now know they will probably get a negative decision, and many are trying to find work or other means to get a permit to stay here. But finding work is also highly restricted to them and difficult. The resources that are now spent on keeping them inactive and waiting, could instead be spent on helping them integrate well into our society.
In the end of July Sunniva Drake published an Iraqi man’s negative asylum decision online, and this text has since been widely discussed in media. Shortly after this decision was published two writers, Merete Mazzarella and Monika Fagerholm, decided to write letters to the government and Juha Sipilä (article in Swedish). This has inspired many more to join in and write letters. And it also inspired me very much, but I decided to send a drawing instead.
But one drawing is not enough, it has to be more. And what should I draw? I love to draw eyes. Eyes are highly symbolic: seeing is believing, seeing is understanding, seeing is witnessing, seeing someone’s eyes makes it hard to be indifferent, the eyes are the mirror of the soul, or a window to our minds… The meanings are many.
The drawn eyes above are my own. And my message is clear: I see you, I see what you are doing, I will not close my eyes to it.
But now I need more eyes. So I am asking you to help me and participate. Send me a photograph of your eyes, and I will draw them. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what you look like. Depending on how many photos I receive and how fast, I will decide an end date, and then send all the drawings at the same time to the government and Juha Sipilä.
You can send the photo to jennykwiik [at] gmail.com OR send me a Facebook message here. Also tell me if you want me to include your (first or full) name on the drawing or not.
I also hope other artists will join in and send drawings or artwork. I hope this will spread even more, because we must not be quiet. People are suffering, right here right now.
Here is the address, for those who want to write or send drawings:
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä
PO Box 23
Address in Swedish:
Statsminister Juha Sipilä
I have received many photos, thank you very much to all! I have 15 drawings finished in 6 days, and I hope to keep up this pace the following weeks. But more eye photos are needed! My first goal is 100 drawings.