The Parliament for Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Photo by Harald Hoyer
My name is Greta. I’m a student from Germany and I’ve been doing an internship at Migrant Voice for the last four weeks. During my time in London a lot of things have happened during the ‘migrant crisis.’ I have been following the news in the UK, but also back in Germany in my state - Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. That’s why I would like share with you a summary of an article from SVZ.de about Moha, a man from Syria, who arrived 3 weeks ago in my home town. What he has experienced? How has he felt? And how do the Germans feel about immigration?
Moha is 30 years old. He fled from Syria to escape the civil war and for the past year he has been on the move. For a long time he was in Turkey, then Greece, before he reached Germany. He hasn’t seen his family for one year - he has only been able to speak with them on the phone.
Every male in Syria between 18 and 40 has to enter the army. Moha didn’t want to fight in the war, he wanted to live. That’s why he became ‘a refugee inside his own country’. He hid from the army in Damascus before finally he reached the border and started his way to Europe.
For three weeks he has been staying in an initial reception accommodation in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, a federal state in northeast Germany. A lot of families are accommodated there. But most refugees arrive alone. All refugees sleep in a big hall with many pallets. Everybody gets a locker for their belongings. But that’s it. Moha described it as: “It’s like on a railway station. Only the train doesn’t come…”
Last week, after a physical examination, he finally received the paperwork confirming his residence authorisation. It had been a difficult process. Before receiving it, he waited nearly two days in front of the registration office without food and sleep before someone finally told him he didn’t have to stand and wait, he just had to come back on Monday.
“Nobody tells us anything. They understand when I’m speaking English but they answer just in German. And I can’t speak the language,” Moha said.
He said that some people arrived in the town after him, yet they are already registered. He feels that Germany needs more staff to organise and control everything. Now Moha is waiting to be assigned an apartment.
German opinion on the issue of refugees is varied. According to a survey (by ARD Deutschlandtrend), 45% of people who are living in the new federal states (East Germany) like Mecklenburg-Vorpommern stated that immigration is a disadvantage for Germany and that the subject scares them. In the old federal states (West Germany) the image is completely different. There, a lot of people think immigration benefits and enriches Germany.
Moha is staying in the East and he has learned it the hard way. While he was in Schwerin, the capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, he faced discrimination because he is a refugee. But for Moha it was okay. He knows that every country has people who are against refugees. And sometimes it looks like these people reflect the whole opinion of the country. But the survey shows the opposite is true. 87% of all German citizens stated that they are ashamed of the violent protest against the refugees.
I completely agree with this opinion. Tomorrow I will fly back to Germany and looking forward to meet refugees like Moha.