Destinations Magazine

Assimilation Report

By Stizzard
Assimilation report Give me some sugar, neighbour

IF ALL of the roughly 567,000 Syrian refugees currently in Germany were like Firas Alshater (pictured), there would be no integration problem. Mr Alshater is living proof that alienation and trauma can be overcome with a good attitude. In Syria, he was tortured in Bashar al-Assad’s prisons for nine months. “You sit there, hear the torment of others, and you don’t know when it’s your turn,” he recalls. In 2013 he escaped to Germany. “I had heard that the Germans are closed,” he says. “No, they’re not!” Now 25, he rarely looks back.

But Mr Alshater fled to Europe at a time when the flow of migrants was still manageable. That changed a year ago, during the night of September 4th-5th. Masses of refugees who had trudged through the Balkans were stranded in a train station in Budapest. Fearing a humanitarian disaster, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, allowed the whole lot into Germany. What was meant as a one-off exception was interpreted in the Middle East and Europe as a new open-borders policy, attracting even more refugees. Germany’s initially euphoric “welcome culture” soon soured,…

The Economist: Europe

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