I didn't write it.

My Roommate was a Refugee. This is my story.

Prefatory note: All conversation  in this article is paraphrased. I was not recording or taking notes, so the material in quotes is not verbatim. But neither is it a Thucydides-style fantasy. The tone and content are accurate. A couple other minor facts have been changed to stymie any JIDF fags who are reading this.

Going House-to-House

I have been trying to run this trip on the cheap for two reasons. First, I am constitutionally penurious, and second, I feel a stronger sense of mission when I am subjected to substandard living conditions. Asceticism, imposed or willed, clears the mind. After all I am not in Sweden to have fun.

At first, my plan had been to stay mostly at hostels. This would allow me freedom of movement in accordance with my miserly needs. I can go without bobo comforts like refrigerated food, daily showers, HDTV and a kitchen SodaStream. This is my European Holy War, not a damn vacation. 

The main issue with hostels is security. I am carrying several hundred dollars worth of technology, that cannot fall into the hands of a kebab or a vacationing Australian. Yes, hostels usually offer lockers, but it becomes a nightmare anticipating how to pack, transfer and hide cellphones and laptops and envelopes full of monopoly money– all the while travelling alone and trying to carry out your daily functions. Plus, if something does get stolen, or even just lost, there is no recourse. The thief could have been any one of the bozos in the room, or any one of the staff. Hostels are not all that cheap anyway.

My first night in Stockholm I gave hostels a try, and it still cost me about $30. But for the last week, I have been using AirBnB. Granted, it is all very hipster–you are staying with random people you have contacted through an online app. They could strangle you and smoke your corpse in the pantry and no one would know for weeks. But that is a risk I’m willing to take, because AirBnB is very economical. In Orebro, I rented my own room in a 5-bedroom apartment for two nights for about the same $30. My flat-mates naturally gave off the stench of hyper-modern, hippie-eco-faggotry, but they were very nice. Furthermore, I’d have a few faces to finger if any of my of my dank-meme-spreading tech-tools went missing.

But thirty a night is still more than I want to spend. My inner Jew sang a Kaddish for every lost shekel. Where else could I cut corners? So for my next two night stay–in Uppsala, Sweden’s former capital and home to a boring chain of man-made hills that the Swedes use to bait alt-rightist neo-pagans into believing are an Iron-Age site–I found accommodations for 22 dollars a night. The catch? My host was named Muhammad.

The Good Muzzie

I have known my share of Arabs. Muhammad is the whitest Hadji I have ever encountered. His skin was paler than my, I insist, only slightly tanned Italo-German hue. A wispy beard and nintendo-player build completed the picture. Were it not for his accent, he would fit right in at a Super Smash Brothers conference. The fact that he was advertising on AirBnB alone suggested that I designate his threat-level as “low.” I locked out my pocket-knife and concealed it next to the bed just in case.

The first night I opened with some softball questions about his background and interests. Muhammad left Syria soon after the outbreak of revolution in 2011. He said he went to Greece for graduate study, and decided not to go back to his hometown in central Syria because the war had escalated. He came to Sweden by plane like a person. His spoke English fluently, and admitted he did not have much use for Swedish. Working part-time at the university, he mainly used English.

I judge people by the books on their shelf. Muhammad impressed me. He had the to-be-expected mini Quran, Arabic-language textbook for Swedish, some dictionaries and some technical tomes in these languages. He also had a bible. Noticing this before anything else, I asked if he was Christian. “No, Muslim. I am just interested in religions.”


“Fuckity fuck fuck” I thought… I can see it now. The NYT is gonna write a full-spread on this guy. “Meet Muhammad, the Average Syrian Refugee.” It will be the centerpiece of the Hillary Administration’s pro-refugee propaganda effort. And then we’re all fucked. Shoah’s off, boys.

I was bolder the second night. I asked directly about the war. “Who is the US backing, in your opinion?”

“Assad, for sure. The thing people don’t understand about the war is that Assad and ISIS are not fighting.” He went on to explain that Assad had released from jail all of his most fanatically Islamist prisoners as soon as things started to spiral out of control early on. That the government and ISIS were collaborating to suppress other opposition groups.

I rejoined that surely the US was backing ISIS, or that we at least tolerated them. He agreed with the latter sentiment, and insisted that if the US were serious, we would be attacking Mosul, not bombing Raqqa. “There are no ISIS in Raqqa. Raqqa is nothing. Their base is Mosul. They are weak in Syria, but they are there because it is…”

“Symbolic” I offered. “Because of the Umayyad Caliphate?”

“Yes symbolic, but no. Because of the Day of Judgement.” Some Muslims belive the final battle between al-Rum and the believers will occur in Northern Syria at Dabiq (after which ISIS named their propaganda rag).  

“But Assad is the worst. ISIS is bad, but not as bad as people say.”

I took all of this with a grain of salt. Regardless, this Syrian’s assessment of the war struck me as far truer than anything I have read in the NYT. Still wondering how Assad was clinging to power I asked if people in Eastern Syria were fighting for Assad because they think he’s the least bad option.

“Definitely not. No one likes Assad. We would all rather die than let Assad stay in power.”

“Then why didn’t you?” I thought to myself, but did not bother to pronounce, because I knew the answer. His was typically Arab bluster. Muhammad was not the strong sort–the fire-in-the-belly, stoically masculine Defender. I wouldn’t call him a coward, he just wasn’t warrior-caste material. He was a natural priest-scholar–the much vaunted Syrian engineer (his specialty: bacterial biology) who would compensate for Europe’s lack of human capital. He was an autiste. Every people has them to some degree or another, and I would not write off a man for not being Achilles. It’s not as if I have ever done anything spectacularly brave.

Muhammad also provided some insight to the job-market in Sweden. The universities are overrun with non-Swedes. He put the composition of the graduate-student population at his university at “50% Chinese and Indian, 25% German and South American, and 25% everything else, including Swedes.” He editorialized that, “Swedes don’t value education, with just a bachelor’s you can get by and have a good job.” I didn’t see the need to start a fight on this one, being more interested in hearing his impressions than converting him. He was sort of right–in Sweden whites still occupy many of the lower-level jobs that in the US have fallen to Asians and browns. Sweden has vestiges of the old white-working-class utopia, but the decay is setting in fast. It seems as if most of the shop-managers are immigrants.

Muhammad lived up to his race’s reputation for hospitality. Though of the barest means–he fulfilled his sacred obligation to offer his guest tea. I slyly avoided taking any, lest it be poisoned. He did not attempt to slit my throat in the night. If only he were representative of his kind.

Next up: Things that go Dirka-Dirka in the Night



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