Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 19.

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

  1. Ricardo Labarca – Chile

My name is Ricardo Labarca, I come from Chile and will tell an old story which took place in 1973 and it represents the most important communication of my life. On that time I was in prison in Chile during Pinochet’s dictatorship, I had an enormous anguish, my young brother had a bullet wound, my father was captured and tortured by the militaries and rest of my family was also persecuted. A cousin brought me a message to jail: My family has taken refugee in the Danish Embassy in Santiago de Chile and for me that was a relief, the end of my anguish. This meant that my family was alive and – in times when the military forces made people “disappear” I was about to have the same destiny – but since the military get to know that there were people waiting for me  in Denmark, they could not mistreat me with impunity .

After that I could arrived in Denmark as a political refugee, meet this fantastic society and start my life again. That message changed my life.

 

  1. Moyo – Tanzania

“My name is Moyo, from Tanzania and the first person I wanted to call were my friends in Tanzania to tell them how was the life in the old continent, in Europe. But none of my friends had a telephone at home, so first I needed to call to one of their neighbours. After one hour I would call again so my friend would be waiting to talk to me, although sometimes I had to call two times to reach them. I remember we used to talk until I ran out of coins”.

 

  1. Ivana – Bosnia

In 1995 across Bosnian refugee camps in Denmark there had been a rumor about how to hack card pay-phones.

The way to do it was super easy: First you had to put three extra numbers before the one you were dialing. Then, while talking on the phone every so often, you had to press the star button so the amount of money on the card would remain the same.

I used to talk with my friends and family for hours until my ear was hurting and it turned hot and red.

The free phone thing lasted only for a few months, nevertheless it made coming to a new country a bit more easier.

 

  1. Miguel Vega – Chile

My name is Miguel Vega Olivares and I came to Denmark as a refugee during the coup in Chile while Pinochet’s dictatorship. I was deprived of my right to the expression because I could not communicate with my family in Chile, I could not call by telephone because the lines were intervened. Hence our communication had to be by letter, but the letter had to arrive to a post in Tagna, Perú. Then my mother traveled frequently to Tagna to receive and send the letters, in that way we could know how was our family and also share more complicated information needed it for other colleagues in Chile, because the freedom of speech was censored. This is solved with amnesty in 1986 where I could travel back again to see my family and get to know the details of those years we were away.

 

  1. Fatma – Somalia

My name is Fatma Ismael, I came to Denmark in 1990 running away from the war in Somalia. When I left I didn’t know who was left behind and who had died. Then the first person I manage to talk to was from Ethiopia, the news were not always good, I was in shock for not knowing who I had left behind or who had left me.

 

  1. Jamil – Afghanistan

When I was 4 years old my dad flew to Denmark, I didn’t understand why he was travelling or where he was. He couldn’t call us during that time. One day I said to my mom “Daddy is here I can feel his smell“, she denied it but suddenly my dad gave us a surprise: he was at home. I went to sleep and the next day he wasn’t there anymore, he had to return to Denmark, where I live now.

 

  1. Ghada Baba Nasser Lebanon

November 1999

“I came to Denmark when I was around 19 years old, at the beginning of that period I miss my family in Lebanon and at that time the were very limited connections communications to talk with your family, it was not like is it now that you have technology, social media, facebook, etc.

So it was really hard to talk with my mother even for a few of minutes.

 

  1. Abi Erham – Turkey

I was about 17 years old, at that time I did not have a telephone in my house, so I remember that I used to use the telephone booth located at Stefansgade and Julius Bloms Gade. When calling I could not communicate directly with my family, so a messenger would pass the message that I would call again in an hour. As soon as the phone was ringing,  the nerves took over me and when I heard my mother’s voice on the phone I always bursted into tears.