The Culture Nerd: Wali Safi

Wali Safi has been in the news here in Iceland quite a bit the last few months, even if neither his name nor photo has rarely been used. Wali is an asylum seeker and had this to say about his origins: “I was born in 1977 in the eastern part of Afghanistan. I have finished High school, and I was in my second year of Economics collage when I was forced to leave my country because of fierce war, insecurity and injustice. It has been almost 12 years that I am far from my country,” he says and adds that he prefers not to dwell too much on the bad experiences he had, both back home and at the hands of authorities in Europe.

Wali is quite the linguistic, speaks english, greek, persian, hindi and pashto. And he’s travelled quite a lot, although not exactly first class. “I have been living in countries like Iran, Turkey and Greece, and on my way to Iceland I have spent short periods of time in countries like France, Germany, Sweden and Norway and since June 2008 I’ve been living in Iceland, as an asylum seeker.”

And what has he been doing? “I have worked in a pharmacy as a non-professional worker, I was a volunteer in The Red Crescent Society in my country and have worked as an employee in different supermarkets. While I was living in Afghanistan I was playing different local sports which are not popular outside Afghanistan. But I also like running, swimming and cycling, music and movies.” And finally, where is he headed? “My dream is to complete my un-completed eduction and to have a normal, safe life, I think every human being deserves that.”

But enough with the intro, now it’s time for the nerd-questions.

The last book that made an impact on you:

I’m reading a book right now about the life of  Fidel Castro by Fidel himself and Ignacio Ramonet, but the book which I can say was in some way impecable was The Gadfly by Ethel Lilian Voynich. It is about struggles of international revolutionary in Italy.

A film that touched a nerve:
The Pianist … I think more words will always poorly explain this Roman Polanski movie, but I simply don’t like imaginary movies like Avatar!

Who should play the lead in a film about you?
Who will play it better than myself? My Life’s movie is still going on and I am playing it. Life is kind of a play which is ending when we end. But if still I should choose someone to play my lead it would be Wentworth Miller.

What CD should the reader put on while reading this?
I would like to suggest a collection of pan-flute by Gheorghe Zamfir, specially Einsamer Hirte, which is exactly my age and I’ve been listening to that since I remember.

Favorite poet:
I have been fan of eastern(central Asian)  poets like  Saadi,

of one essence  is the human race,
thusly has creation put the base.
one limb impacted in sufficient,
For all others to feel the Mace.
The Unconcern’d the Other´Pilght,
Are but Brutes with Human Face

Memorable teacher:
The most memorable teacher of my life was my late father, who was Professor at a Medical College.

What was the last lesson you learned?
Life is full of sudden surprises, some are good and some are bad, but there are always ways to survive.

Most notable undiscovered artist:
Everybody could be the most notable undiscovered artist.

Where is the dream?
Dream is in the Freedom.

A good advice for saving money during the financial crisis:
Stop watching commercials on TV.

What is your most memorable food experience?
When I was invited to a restaurant  to eat lobster for the first time in my life,  it was a real comedy.

What’s the most important person you’ve gotten drunk with?
I am not an important person, but one time I was drunk and I saw myself in the mirror and told myself  “You are really drunk”

What music fits the times?
Generally I’m listening to all sorts of music except heavy metal. But the music which fits the times from my point of view is relaxing music like the collections of Enya.

Where do you see your self in a couple of months?
My life is unpredictable, nothing is sure, everywhere or maybe  nowhere!

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Will also be published in Icelandic here on Kistan.

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