While the two articles I chose to examine were contextually concerned with the asylum seekers from Syria in Germany, what they both chose to focus on was the waning German acceptance of these people into their society. The application of this disillusionment crisis to the development of the German and Syrian youth is a fascinating and troublesome exercise.
The Al-Jazeera English article framed the disillusionment as a process: the article indicated that much of the country had initially supported the influx of Syrian refugees, and that majority feeling has begun to change as time has worn on, and numbers have increased. The article even referenced assaults allegedly committed by asylum seekers as a reason that the German people have begun to lose their commitment to the cause of social and political freedom for the Syrian people.
The Washington Post, on the other hand, viewed the initial acceptance as a far less complete picture of German society as a whole. The way they framed their article indicated that the German people had been divided since from the beginning, and that the more tangible distaste for the Syrian refugees represented less of a polar change, and more of a gradual shift in views of the victims and Germany’s responsibility to them. The inclusion of data regarding self-identification as a global citizen was introduced into the article as well, indicating the German people’s shift to isolationism. An intriguing connection the article makes is Germany’s allegedly self-imposed duty to help those escaping conflict, to their terrible past in the Second World War. These two conflicting identities are serving to divide the German people on the issue of refugee absorption.
These articles don’t interrogate issues of post conflict education outright; however, they do introduce dynamics which would certainly be problematic to educating tolerance for these two groups of people. On one side, German children are being raised in an environment that is growing increasingly hostile to the idea of foreign non-citizens being granted asylum, while being told by the world and many in the older generation that past atrocities demand they be accepting. On the other, Syrian children seeking asylum are growing up in a country that is divided in its response to their presence. How will these children cope with feeling like an unwelcome burden, and at the same time a quasi-contractual obligation? The development of both of these groups of children will play an interesting role in Germany’s diversity and tolerance for generations to come.
Al Jazzera English:
The Washington Post: