HUMAM (Iraq)

Humam has the big ambition to give one billion in the world “an occupation which they enjoy and not just do to survive”. He speaks in a determined voice through a neatly trimmed beard under intense brown eyes and a shaved skull. The lines in his palms bear traces of ball bearing grease and of no fear to get hands dirty. The what and how of his vision may not be in place yet he admits sitting on a stool under thousands of tons of concrete forming the slip bed of the decommissioned Kockums ship yard. Around him well ordered racks of rims, pedals, chains, cranks, nuts, bolts and the tools needed to take apart, repair and reassemble a bicycle. It is here in the Cykelköket (“The Bike Kitchen”) where he volunteers help people to an easier every-day. Everybody is welcome to come by, learn, make use of available tools and learn how to fix their own bike.

Humam had heard of The Bike Kitchen a few years before he came by to repair his own bike. He saw Simon, who was running it at the time, running around like a chicken without a head with the impossible to task to attend to all. Adding to Simon’s frustration was often a language barrier as many of those coming by did not speak Swedish preventing him from conveying his knowledge. “I had no knowledge about what he [Simon] was doing however I could convey what he wanted to say into Arabic, English, perhaps Russian and somewhat into sign language”, “I jumped in from nowhere to translate and now I am here fulltime. ”

A few months earlier, during the launch of “Mobility Challenge” a campaign to challenge commuters to adapt a more sustainable and healthier commute Human was squatting next to an upside down ladies bike. Klaffbron threw sharp shadows across the asphalt on the sunny afternoon. A breeze came of the adjacent sea. Tools, spare parts and grease removers filled the front of a large box bike. It was a good day to fix bikes outdoors. He moved a wire brush methodically along the chain whilst rotating the pedals. Rust and crud fall to the ground as he shared bike maintenance tips with the owner. He hands her the brush and she brushes on with the newfound bike maintenance know how.

¨It is very important for me that I feel good inside otherwise I amount to nothing…”

Humam’s personal journey began in Baghdad, Iraq 1978 and before his teenage years he had lived in Algeria, France, back to Algeria before heading to Syria, Russia, Syria and finally with mom, dad and his sister settling in Sweden in the early 90-ies. He acknowledges that it has been tough to adjust to the situation around him; talks about the frustration of not being able to achieve as much as he wanted and admits that he were close to go down the wrong path. “If you feel at home around the world you have no country, the globe is where you should be. I belong to no country have no land”, “From my perspective, I am Global”. However he still sometimes feels lost wondering if this is the right way forward and wonders if it would not be easier to do what others say. In a quick contradiction he answer “new thinking will not come if I follow in the path of others”.

He philosophically talks about the domino effect, karma and what goes around comes around. “Why not take the chans to perhaps research something new which makes me happy in the end even if I get halfway or not reach the goal I have in any case done something that have satisfied me. 

On that day at Klaffbron he had empowered, added a squirt of oil, made someone smile and “roll on with a little friction as possible”

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