I asked many residents of the Heim, whether they could give me an interview. But nobody agreed. They did not want their face in the newspaper. This is why I interviewed my brother Shabir Taheri. Just like me, he lives in Germany since 13 months and knows the country a bit better than others, who just recently arrived. I asked him, when he feels like a stranger in Germany.
Do you sometimes feel like a stranger in Germany? If yes, when and why?
Even though the German people are very friendly and helpful, I sometimes feel alienated.
When did you first start to feel like that?
The first time that I felt foreign in Germany, was when I went to see an apartment with my mother. We were looking for a flat urgently, because my mother had justhad surgey and at the moment, we only have one room for five people, without bathroom or kitchen. For my mother it was the biggest wish to find a new apartment.
But when we came to the appointment, the landlord asked us whether we were refugees. When we said yes, he started to be speak to us in a very unfriendly way and made fun of us. He said, we should leave because he would not give an apartment to refugees. I wanted to cry, but I could not do that in front of my mother. Not all Germany are like that though, most of them are friendly and that is why mostly I feel happy here and not strange at all.
When did you feel accepted?
When my mother underwent surgery we felt poor and alone. I thought about when she would be able to leave hospital. How we would be able to take care of her in the refugee shelter.
Comment: My brother and I had been concerned about the hygiene conditions in the shelter. Also there is no good food there, both which she needed to recover from the surgery.
During this time the German teacher of my mother came to see us. She said, that we will not be left along and that she will support us with everything she has. She said, that we could live in her apartment and that my mother could stay there until she would feel better. This is when I realised, that benevolence has no religion, no nationality, no language and no skin color. You just need empathy.
What does “stranger” or “foreigner” mean to you?
Feeling a stranger or alienated for me means,
- when you have to leave your home country;
- when you see other children with their fathers and you, yourself are all alone with your problems and thoughts at the age of 14;
- when you have to start from scratch;
- when you need to repeat classes, that you had already finished with good grades in Afghanistan in Germany;
- when you miss your home country but you cannot visit it.
I think feeling “like a stranger” has to do a lot with having to do things and not being able to decide freely.
Do you feel different, when you spend time with your friends from school and footbal?
When is that?
When I make mistakes speaking German and everybody else is laughing. When they ask for my adress and I have to say the adress of a refugee shelter and then people turn away from me.
Do you think you will always feel like that?
I think a lot about this question.I want to get to know Germany. I want to get to know the German culture and accept it, but I also want to share my culture with friends. I will learn hard and try to be a good person. I will try everything to not feel like a stranger.
Interview by Bahara Taheri.