It's hard being a politician. But it's harder being a refugee.
So when German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her country's asylum and immigration policies to a refugee girl, who broke into tears, it's only natural the international community felt more sympathetic toward the Palestinian.
Reem's family currently resides in Rostock, Germany, after leaving a refugee camp in Lebanon. She was told she can't stay.
Essentially, this is how the conversation goes. (Translations found on The Jerusalem Post and other publications.)
Reem: I have goals like anyone else. I want to study like them ... it’s very unpleasant to see how others can enjoy life, and I can’t myself.
Merkel: Politics is sometimes hard. You’re right in front of me now and you’re an extremely sympathetic person. But you also know in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are thousands and thousands, and if we were to say you can all come ... we just can’t manage it.
Suffice it to say, Merkel got some flack. She went up to the girl afterward and began "stroking" her hair, which became inspiration for the Twitter hashtag #merkelstreichelt ("Merkel strokes") currently trending in Germany.
Refugee she wants to study and be happy, Merkel tells her she. can't. stay. Girl cries. Merkel pets her like a dog.#merkelstreichelt— Chris McTian (@McTiann) July 16, 2015
Others defended the EU leader and said she seemed to express genuine sympathy for the girl's problems.
Oh dear #merkelstreichelt is trending. I think the chancellor was actually genuinely moved and compassionate. We need more of that.— judith bogner (@judithbogner) July 16, 2015
By Hayat Norimine
© 2000 - 2023 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)