The event opened up with an oscar nominated short film about the tumultuous 4.1 mile journey that 600,000 refugees made in 2015-1016 from Turkey to Lesbos. The Greek coastguard captain heroically rescued refugees stranded in the violent sea. The documentary let the scenes speak. It was powerful and especially taxing when small children were seen dead from having drowned. After the film, there was a presentation and discussion.
Germany has learned from its Turkish population that came to the country largely in the 1970’s as guest workers. The lackluster of adequate integration policy made it incredibly difficult for Turks to become full members of German society. There are second and third generation Turks who still struggle with the German Language. In order to prevent what happened then, the German government now funds an extensive array of language, professional, and culture courses with the goal of developing productive refugee/ citizens who can contribute to German society.
Interestingly, refugee crime rates do not exceed that of native Germans. If and when a crime is committed by an asylum seeker, it is sensationalized and this fuels the rhetoric from people opposed to Angela Merkel’s liberal refugee policy. Politically motivated attacks on refugees are far higher. Revisiting integration, the speaker found that integration is paramount to avoid crime/radicalization. When people (refugee or not) do not feel like full members of society they become marginalized and eventually parallel societies sprout. Some of the countries with the largest refugee populations in the world are often deprived of the resources to take care of them. Also, they are not always politically stable and with a large refugee population. These countries include, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey. This is why other western countries need to take a stand and look at Germany as an example.
This was a great program and the discussion was particularly revealing. I hope more events like this are held next year.