the meeting

Thursday night my sweetheart and I attended a community meeting, our suburbian mayor had called for, to explain about the refugees coming to our neck of the woods.

I suggested going there, because I felt, we had to be there to side up against that spirit of NO, GO AWAY, that I detected, following social media outlets of the local citicenry. Plus, after sending various emails off to help-organisations in order to find out, how one could help, I never got any response. I thought, maybe now we could get some information on this.

The officials explained, how the spreading of those granted asylum works in Germany, exactly. The refugees come into Germany mostly from the south-east, which is mainly the border to Austria in Bavaria. After registration and a (still lenghty) legal procedure to determine their rightful refugee status, they are then send off all over Germany to where they are then supposed to start their new life. Each county is assigned a number of refugees. This quota is worked out by density of population and tax income of the community. The formula is called “Königsteiner Schlüssel” and is generally accepted as fair and just. As so many refugees are still arriving, noone really can give exact numbers, but based on the count of one and a half million in total, this year, our district calculates with 2500 refugees assigned to our district. Of which our suburban community would have to take in 120 people. To this end, they are going to build housing, as 97 percent of all existing living space is lived in already, next to none available. Local officials are determined- save for emergencies – to not put refugees in sports halls or tents, but to house them in real estate (for once this real  in real estate makes sense). As we can afford to build housing and the community has some land left, to build it on. The public outrage was more caused by the choice of location (between school and park, which many thought too close to home for their liking). But seeing, that this one is, of the two available building slots, the one which is much cheaper to build on and also the one connected to the community rather than on the outskirts, I totally agree with their decision. As did most others.

Come next spring, the houses should be up and our guests will arrive. As I type this, it all falls into place. Our guests. This is just the right expression. This is exactly, how these people should be viewed and treated. Welcome to stay. Welcome to become part of our life. Welcome to build their own, new life here, so far away from the homes they have been driven from.

Most of those present at the gathering thought, this was not enough and that we could take in more refugees. Overall, I was surprised, that the vast majority of folks at the meeting were very pro-refugees. Although surrounded by Berlin proper, our suburb is in Brandenburg, after all. And we all have seen the reports from right-wing foreigner haters. Scanting their ugly GO HOME credos or worse, burning refugee homes. My sweetheart was scared, he might become so upset with attending this gathering, that we would be forced to move elsewhere. Alas, we can stay. Maybe last night, many of those present at the gathering, went there for the same reason we attented. To make sure, those few, who are all against taking in refugees, are outweighed.

What I really loved seeing, was the young folks there. I stood at the very back of the big hall, as I had to walk back home to fetch my documents and thus came rather late (I had not read the part of the invite, telling everyone to bring a document proving, you are a resident – I think, they wanted to prevent the presence of travelling political agents). In front of me stood maybe 15 teenagers.  By what I could pick up from their conversations, they were there for the very same reason I went. To applause and support in favour of humanity. The future looks bright.

4 thoughts on “the meeting

  1. right. no refugees have arrived here yet, so there is not much one can do at the moment. will be enough left come springtime, I guess. I just think this a pity, as I have much more time over winter.


  2. This is really lovely – and heartening. I’m sending it on to my mom who has been asking a lot of questions about the whole refugee situation. I also know many people like you who want to help but don’t know how or where to do it. I suppose with this system, people can concentrate on the 50 or 100 who are nearest them.

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