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Salim Assi


The constitution protects my Danishness, and from that perspective I am 100% Danish. But in reality I feel that it varies. When I hear the voice of Søren Espersen the percentage drops, while at other times it increases. I was on holiday in Lebanon in 2006 when the war broke out. We immediately received text messages from the Danish Foreign Ministry, telling us how to deal with the situation. And I remember thinking, “Wow, there is a place called Denmark, and there they worry about me.” In that situation I felt very grateful and very Danish.

I am not a member of any political party or association, because I want to speak my mind freely. Through my paintings I can express myself without feeling intimidated, and I do so, even though it can cause problems. I have indeed lost jobs because I stand up for myself and express myself politically, but I will not compromise. Mostly my artistic work and my messages are centered around the Palestinians’ struggle to get their own country. I probably can’t change the bigger picture, but perhaps I can make a tiny difference. And rather a candle in the dark than spitting into the night, as they say. I once did a mural which I called “Intifada 3”, but many people misunderstood the message. They failed to understand that my criticism was aimed at the Zionists and not at all Jews. So it ended up being a political matter, and the wall I had painted on was demolished. In a democracy one cannot say that a mural is not allowed to be political, since there is freedom of speech. But you can pull down the wall, and they did exactly that.

42 years / male / in a relationship / children / self-employed / Brøndby Strand / born in a Lebanese refugee camp / Palestinian background / came to Denmark via family reunification in 1992

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