I was lucky that I didn’t get back to the MKO!
Hanif Bali was only three years old when he was separated from his parents in Camp Ashraf and was sent to Sweden. The 29-year-old Hanif is now a member of parliament for Sweden’s Moderate Party.
“I was lucky that I didn’t get back to Iraq”, he said in a documentary that was filmed from a day of his life by Manoto TV. When in 1991, Massoud Rajavi ordered his rank and file to leave their children under the pretext of the Gulf War, Hanif and many other children were transferred to Europe where they were kept in the MKO’s team houses or by Swedish families or Iranian sympathizers of the MKO.
“I have had seven to eight mother,” Hanif said about his childhood as an immigrant. His biological mother was not allowed to call him except once a year on his birthday. “About my father I have very few memoires,” he said with a regretful look.
A large number of children of the MKO members were then brought back to the MKO’s camp in Iraq, Camp Ashraf. Some of them were eventually killed. Hanif was determined not to get back to the unpleasant life of the group in Iraq although the group recruiters tried to convince him to join the group when he was eighteen. The recruiter showed him a film of his father. In the film, Hanif’s father tried to indoctrinate him to go to Iraq and to allegedly fight just like his childhood friends who had gone to Ashraf and had been killed for the group’s cause. “I was shocked by the film because it was the first time to see my father,” he stated. He was lucky that his aunt was with him in that recruitment meeting. ”We won’t discuss it now”, she said. So, Hanif who felt angry with his father went home. He was very angry with him that after long years of no call and no contact, his father was just asking him to join the group. “Today, when I think of that day, I still get angry”, he told Manoto.
“This was a hard decision for a young boy to take”, he asserted. ”If I had accepted to join the group at that day, I would have been in a camp in the midst of war, in the midst of misery.”
Hanif was grown up in a democracy far from the cult-like totalitarian system that brainwashed parents to leave their beloved children behind for their leaders’ ambitions. He defines the big gap between his life and that of his parents, “The big difference between me and my parents is that I don’t see the world as black and white”.