The mood has changed
By Sameer Ibrahim
In 2015, Germany, the economically strongest country in Europe, opened its doors benevolently to those fleeing war and misery, bringing hundreds of thousands of refugees into the country. The university city of Tuebingen, like other cities, took in more than a thousand refugees, having a population of only about 90,000. The majority of the fugitives were accommodated in sports halls and reception centres as well as a small number in residential buildings. Due to the large crowds and the limited space in the reception centres, the refugees were initially concentrated very densely in the city centre. At that time, Arabic and Persian were often heard in the bustling places of the city. From the Germans, however, we had heard only a few sporadic words that were not very important. Nevertheless, we remembered them because we had heard them so often: “All right”, “Good” and “Shit”.
The language schools that taught German filled up with refugees after the BAMF had given its approval for German courses to those eligible to participate. Dozens of university students also agreed to help the refugees to overcome the difficulties they faced in school.
The local parishes also played an important role, for example in helping to fill out forms and accompanying refugees in hospital in cases of emergency. Of course, we must not forget the Asylum Centre and Caritas, especially the merit of their exemplary assistance in family reunification, problems with residence permits and others.
Now that three years have passed, the situation has changed considerably to this day due to the rapid efforts of the city’s inhabitants and the relevant authorities. In the meantime the temporary reception centres have been closed, with one exception near the District Office. The refugees have now found a life in private or social housing in the city and its surroundings. Finally, the days without privacy are over and the German language has become the language of everyday life with which people talk to Germans and non-Germans. Some of the refugees have found their way into the job market or university places, others still find it difficult to learn the language.
In the meantime I have seen some fugitives in cafés and public parks who cheered for the German team at the last Football World Cup. This is an essential step on the way to integration and a peaceful community.