Give me a refugee (Gib mir einen Flüchtling)

The Motherland and her dependent colonial offspring. (William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1883)

The Motherland and her dependent colonial offspring. (William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1883) [source: Wikipedia. License: public domain.]

Ramy Al-Asheq puts his finger on a bug in European thinking that not only would seem to create (among other things) the so-called “Refugee Crisis” but also to reproduce it while giving the appearance of addressing it.

Al-Asheq writes:

Diese Kultur der Hilfe hat zu einer seltsamen Bipolarität geführt, der zufolge die Menschen jeweils in zwei Kategorien eingeteilt werden: Stark/schwach, gebildet/ungebildet, zivilisiert/rückständig, reich/arm, nützlich/Nutznießer, Produzent/Konsument und so weiter. Die Flüchtlinge werden nicht als ebenbürtiger Partner sondern einzig und allein als Nutznießer gesehen. Diese Kultur und bipolare Herangehensweise sind das eigentliche Problem. Daraus erwächst notwendigerweise eine die Szenerie beherrschende Bildungsmentalität, der zufolge man [sic] weiter entwickelt, fähiger, stärker und gebildeter ist als die aus einer rückständigen Welt kommenden Menschen.


This culture of helping has lead to an odd bipolarity by which people are divided into two categories: Strong/weak, educated/uneducated, civilized/backward, rich/poor, useful/beneficiary, producer/consumer and so forth. The refugees are not viewed as equal partners but solely as beneficiaries. This culture and bipolar approach are the actual problem. This automatically gives rise overriding didactic mentality, according to which a one is further advanced, more capable, stronger and better educated than people who come from a backward world.

The author cite the example of denying refugees the right to work, and tendency to reducing a person who have fled their country of origin to the one aspect of being “a refugee” whilst ignoring other aspects of their biography such as skills, profession or training. Al-Asheq goes on to suggests that this stands in the way of dialogue, and an adequate response to the situation at hand. Implicitly of course it supports the supposition that the mental and linguistic division into civilized/developed vs. backward/underdeveloped is at the core of postcolonial injustice.

Al-Asheq, Ramy: Gib mir einen Flüchtling, eine kritische Sicht auf die Bildungsmentalität und die Kultur der Hilfe. In: On: 11 May 2016. URL: . Last viewed: 04 Sept 2016.

Ramy Al-Asheq is the editor in chief of Abwab, Germany’s first Arabic language magazine.