Anna Knappe, Amir Jan and Laura Böök
Duration: 21 min
Mohajer (Camp-e-forsat) narrates the experiences and struggles of Afghans born and living in exile. The film was shot in an asylum seeker reception center in Forssa, a small industrial town in Finland, together with a group of Hazara asylum seekers who had recently arrived in Finland. Mohajer (Camp-e-forsat) is a video portrait of the people, but also of the camp, an old hotel which was used as a reception center for asylum seekers in autumn 2015. The film combines images of the empty hotel with the voice of the Afghan mohajers, who are trying to define the word mohajer and what it means to them to be one. The contradicting stories and definitions highlight the diversity of the different experiences, making it impossible to define who is a legitimate mohajer. Applying asylum in Finland represents a new beginning in life, an opportunity, or forsat in Persian, but also difficulties in terms of integration and identity.
Nilofar: “When someone asks me where I’m from, I say I’m from Afghanistan, but I’ve never been there. Mohajer means not belonging anywhere, not where you are and not where you’re from or you parents are from. My husband says that we’re born mohajers. There is no other name for us. When they ask your name, you should say your name is mohajer. Our umbilical cords are cut with the word mohajer. Even in hospitals, when a new Afghan child is born, they say a new mohajer was born. They don’t say this woman’s child was born, they say one Afghan mohajer was born. Those two words, Afghan and mohajer, are attached together, it’s always Afghan mohajer. Then many who have migrated, try to detach themselves from the word mohajer. But in a new country, you’re still a mohajer.”