A Syrian Refugee in Berlin

Source: Orit Arfa in The Jerusalem Post, February 27

…For my orientation on my first day in Berlin, I met with Til Biermann, a local reporter for Bild, who was kind enough to introduce me to a Syrian refugee named Hamza (last name withheld), a graduate in journalism from Damascus University who interns for the paper.

Hamza was to serve as my (informal) translator during my forays into the Berlin refugee camps.

At first I was concerned that Hamza wouldn’t even want to talk to an Israeli reporter – let alone for an Israeli paper – but the 26-year-old was all eagerness, warmth and smiles. We met at the Starbucks near Checkpoint Charlie, the former checkpoint between East and West Berlin and a popular tourist destination.

My pressing question, as a Jew and Israeli, was: Are refugees from Muslim countries importing Islamic anti-Semitism? “I think the last thing a refugee is thinking about is the Jewish people and Israel,” said Hamza, speaking of his Syrian brethren. He arrived in Berlin last summer, via a tumultuous journey from Damascus to Lebanon via Turkey to Budapest and finally to Berlin. His parents are still in Syria.

“Everyone understands if you will be here in Europe you have to forget everything about this. The government taught them to build this hate. It’s fake. It’s not something real. The government found this enemy for nothing.”

To most Syrians who fled, the dictator Bashar Assad is the greatest enemy – not Israel….


One response to “A Syrian Refugee in Berlin

  1. Peter Rehak

    It will be interesting to read what the Israeli reporter writes. One wonders whether other Syrian refugees have the same attitude as this young man.