Minhaaj Rehman in his memoir describes his experiences of traveling in Europe from a naive, bucolic and traditional eastern perspective. After having faced racism and discrimination during his study in Sweden, in his despair he decided to hitchhike out of Europe to Turkey – as the title says, param yok, without money. In a consistent struggle between hope and pessimism, he fought street dogs and border guards, the literal and metaphorical coldness and met numerous people from all backgrounds and cultures showing heart-melting kindness.
He journaled his views throughout his journey, his stupefying cultural shocks alongside experiences of profound humanity. The honest, captivating story-telling mixed with incredible courage and endurance makes Param Yok an unforgettable tale of a young Pakistani student traveling in a paranoid and xenophobic world.
Quotes from the book
I am not arguing asceticism, pennilessness, and living off others here. Param Yok stands for the human aspect of an apparently hopeless world.
Scandinavians have always been top of the chart, scientific liars. Statistical use of facts and myths,
the spinning of words and diplomacy is their forte and I have always been an uncontroversial fan of their talents.
It was always about one more piece of paper, a degree, a work permit, an EU passport and a
driving license. List went on and on while immigrants worked odd jobs, two or even three
jobs, took worst treatments, afraid of nationalistic parties, being killed like Merwa Sherbini, who was stabbed 18 times in Dresden, Germany for being a Muslim and for testifying in a verbal abuse case in the court.
Like all children, it takes a very long time to appreciate what your parents have done for you and unfortunately, some of them don’t live long enough to see and enjoy this gratitude. My mom
was one of those people.