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Politically-disillusioned youth? Far from it!

Anne-Sophie Brändlin | Tim Schauenberg
June 10, 2024

Many young people in Germany believe democracy in their country is under threat and don't feel represented by the government. Samira Ghandour and Can Aru from Berlin are both politically active. What drives them, and what are their goals?


"We are here, we are loud, because you are stealing our future," shouted thousands of young people at the Fridays for Future demonstration in Berlin at the end of May. Their message: more climate protection!

Samira Ghandour also took part. She has been active in the youth organization for five years now and believes climate and democracy can only work together. The 19-year-old and other young people feel they are not being heard by those in power and that their interests are not sufficiently represented. It's one of the reasons they're protesting. They want to help shape democracy. According to a new study, many young people in Europe see this very democracy in danger.  

Can Aru's political involvement also began with protests. He is now active with the Green party in Berlin. Instead of complaining, he decided to do something and help make a difference in his neighborhood. For the 23-year-old, democracy means getting involved. 

As a Green candidate, he doesn't have it easy in his district. Time and again, he said, there are insults, threats or attacks. Aru's grandparents came to Germany from Turkey decades ago. He has had a lot of experience with racism, which is one of the reasons why he stands up for people with a migration background.

"Racism and xenophobia are totally present in this society," he said — another reason he went into politics. 

Whether on the streets or actively involved in politics, Can Aru, Samira Ghandour and the demonstrators have already made a difference. They believe that those who want to protect and promote democracy should give young people a louder voice in the future.