How do refugee journalists find their new lives in Germany? DW’s video series "Dear Germany" brings you their impressions. In this video, Syria's Bilal Eid tells how he sees Germany, where many things don’t fit together.
Five journalists from Syria, Uganda, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Azerbaijan have been involved in the "Dear Germany" project.
DW wanted to know from them: how is it working out for you, one, two or even eight years after your escape? What do you think about your home country? What frustrates you and what do you hope for? What would it be like if you wrote everything down as a letter to Germany? These questions gave rise to the concept of "Dear Germany."
Together with DW, the participants wrote an open letter to Germany. The video segments of the refugee journalists are as diverse as their resumes.
'Why are there homeless people here?'
Twenty eight-year-old Syrian Bilal Eid arrived in Germany two years ago. He is enrolled in a media studies program in Darmstadt. There have been many changes in his life: early in life, he moved to the United Arab Emirates and did communication studies in the University of Sharjah. He describes how he felt when he came to Germany – a country full of contradictions.
"Germany, sometimes you make no sense," he said. The many bureaucratic and, for him, somewhat absurd rules are bothersome: for an apartment, you need a bank account and for a bank account you need an apartment.
He poses a question to the German society: "I have to admit, you were often so good to me. Here I could calm down. Nevertheless, when I go through your streets, I ask myself: in Germany there is justice, dignity, freedom and more, but despite everything there is homelessness, women earn much lesser than men, there is racism and much more.
That doesn’t all fit together, does it?"
A depressing record
According to Reporters without Borders, Syria is the most dangerous country for journalists. The Assad regime tries to undermine critical reporting through censorship and surveillance. Critical journalists are often tortured and killed. Jihadist groups assault and threaten entire editorial teams. Since the civil war broke out in 2011, 130 media professionals have died. Foreign reporters rarely venture into the country.
The most dangerous countries for journalists are Syria, Afghanistan, Mexico, Iraq and Yemen. Reporters without Borders counted 74 deaths among media professionals last year, with 53 of them targeted because of their work. Others died during their deployment.
More and more journalists are also fleeing countries such as Azerbaijan and Turkey, Jens-Uwe Thomas from Reporters without Borders said. After their arrival in Germany, many have to start all over again and are therefore separated from their dream jobs. The loss in reputation weighs them down. "That is certainly frustrating," Thomas said.