Hagia Sophia: World Heritage Site becomes a mosque

About an international controversy and vision By Youssef Kanjou and Michael Seifert On 24th July 2020 the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was reopened as a mosque. Before that it was a museum, which is the main tourist attraction in Turkey with over three million visitors annually. The Turkish president had decided and announced this a few weeks earlier, after the highest Turkish court had cleared the way for it. Recep Erdoğan, thus, triggered an international controversy with several protests. But why does half the world seem to be arguing about this? The Hagia Sophia has been on the UNESCO World… Read More

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From “sea pony” to lifeguard

Liam Fitzstevens waited in the Tübingen citizens’ office in December 2017. There he leafed through number 74 of tünews INTERNATIONAL. A story fascinated the American biologist who came to Tübingen to do his doctorate at the Max Planck Institute. It was about a swimming course for refugee girls – a project of the voluntary initiative “Swimming for all children”. At the beginning of 2018, Liam spoke to Dagmar Müller, the founder and manager of the project. Since then, the former competitive swimmer has been a voluntary trainer and trains lifeguards with Adrian Wendt, who is also 25 years old. Yusuf… Read More

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Inflation in Syria: More than nine million people are suffering from hunger

“The rich are at war and the poor are fighting against it,” said a Syrian who has been suffering due to the war in Syria for nine years, especially at hands of the massive monetary inflation. The Syrian Pound fell to a record level. At the beginning of June, money changers on the black market asked 3000 Lira for one dollar. However, the official price remained at 700 Lira, which caused retailers to close their stores in many cities. At the beginning of the Syrian war in 2011, a dollar was said to have cost 47 lira. According to the… Read More

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Lessons learned from the past: Corona in Nigeria

by Ademola Adetunji   The world seems to be surprised that Covid-19 is contained in some African countries. Compared to Western and some Asian countries, the health system in many African countries is poorer. Many hypotheses and predictions are circulating that the poor African continent is on the verge of collapse. But the continent of Africa was better prepared for the outbreak than some developed continents like Europe, Asia and North America. Africa seems to have learned from past experiences. Nigeria is a sovereign state in West Africa, which borders Niger, Chad and Cameroon and has a population of around… Read More

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A Syrian refugee before 3,500 years ago: King Idrimi of Aleppo

By Youssef Kanjou In 2016, I was able to visit Idrimi, the King of Aleppo in his last exile in the British Museum to know him better and read his famous story. He himself wrote it on his statue and it begins with his family which ruled the city of Aleppo around 1500 BC. His father had a conflict due to a revolt in the city. Therefore, Idrimi and his six brothers had to flee to the city of Emar on the Euphrates east of Aleppo. This city was ruled by his uncles. But Idrimi was not treated as a… Read More

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Election outcome in Syria: ruling party wins again

The general election in Syria on Sunday, July 19th ended as expected. According to the state news agency Sana, 183 of the 250 seats in the People’s Chamber were won by the ruling Baath party with its allies. They came together to form the “National Unity” alliance. Part of the 67 other seats went to business people who support the current ruler, Bashar al-Assad. Around 1,600 candidates competed, including 200 women. The election was held only in the government-controlled regions – just under 70 percent of the country’s territory. The turnout was 33.2 percent. In 2016, 57.6 percent of those… Read More

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Atlanta – A City Under Siege

By Will Thomas  The author is a volunteer in the editorial department of tünews INTERNATIONAL. After staying in Tübingen and Berlin as part of a federal scholarship, he returned to the USA in April 2020. There he found a country in unrest. We have offered him the chance to share his experiences with us. In the German text, he uses certain English phrases where he found no suitable translation.   Battles are breaking out in US-American cities. In my previous article, I explained the origins of the current unrest. In this article, I am recounting my own on the ground… Read More

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Home-schooling in refugee families

By Batool Hadous, Danyah Mahfouz, Hanin Kanjou, Hayet (name changed), Majd Kanjou, Meryem (name changed),Michael Seifert, Mohammed, Oula Mahfouz, Roula Al Sagheer, Sara Al Sagheer, Yousof Mahfouz   Soon, all pupils will be able to go to school temporarily, but still for most of them, online-learning in home-schooling is on the agenda. How do kids from refugee families experience this situation, to which they have been exposed since March 17th? The editorial staff of tünews INTERNATIONAL posed this question when Sara, a 5th grader at secondary school, handed in a text about this very topic. Her opinion is unambiguous: “We… Read More

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The United States of America are burning

By Will Thomas The author is a volunteer in the editorial department of tünews INTERNATIONAL. After staying in Tübingen and Berlin as part of a federal scholarship, he returned to the USA in April 2020. There he found a country in unrest. We have offered him the chance to share his experiences with us. In the German text, he uses certain English phrases where he found no suitable translation.   The United States of America are burning. On Monday, May 25th, 2020, police killed another Black man, George Floyd. This was the spark in the gas tank, but the fuel piled… Read More

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Learning German online – A new experience

By Youssef Kanjou Corona has forced us to learn German from home via the Internet. My course started in March at the Volkshochschule, which got interrupted shortly after the start because of Corona. This also led to the closure of all schools in Germany. Volkshochschule decided to continue the course online. Currently we have two hours of lessons every afternoon on video conference with the Zoom program. This is the first time I have to learn a language online; after everything in life has gone online. It seems to be a very significant experience for me. The teacher teaches with… Read More

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Afghanistan: War, poverty and the pandemic

From Sajia Yarmal Afghanistan has been embroiled in devastating wars for many years now. People have suffered severe psychological hardships. Millions of people were killed or displaced. Taliban, the terrorist group that has claimed the lives of thousands of Afghans over the past ten years by claiming jihad and enforcing Islamic law, and has never allowed the Afghan people to live a prosperous life. The war continues and dozens of military and non-military people are killed every day. Alongside war, poverty and hunger are other big threats to Afghanistan, a country with a population of over 30 million. Based on… Read More

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Corona in Syria

By Salwa Saada and Feras Trayfi As of May 21st, according to the Syrian government reports, 58 cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed and 36 patients have recovered while three have died. Approximately 6,781 people are quarantined and 2,557 of them are under health control. Nobody can confirm the authenticity of these numbers. Many hospitals and healthcare facilities have been destroyed because of the nearly ten-year war, and the rest are in dire straits. In addition, there is a shortage of medical personnel as well as a shortage of the equipment as well as devices required for the examinations, as… Read More

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Albania: After the severe earthquake now Corona

By Michael Seifert Albania was one of the first countries in Europe to take drastic measures to combat the Corona virus in early March. A strict curfew completely paralyzed public life. Between 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. only one person per household could leave the house for a maximum of one hour to run important errands. To do this, you had to obtain police approval by SMS at least 24 hours in advance. There was a general exit ban on weekends from Saturday afternoon to Monday morning. Pensioners were not allowed to leave the house at all. All public transport… Read More

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Ramadan is not just the month of fasting!

by Youssef Kanjou Many non-Muslims and those who have never visited Muslim countries consider Ramadan only as a month of worship. However, reality shows that it is more. It also determines other aspects of life, such as everyday routines, social as well as economic life; especially before the war in Syria. It is well known that during Ramadan people do not eat during the day, but the food is still very varied this month. This is because popular markets offer specialties that are only available in Ramadan. This is because the dishes are prepared for the end of the day,… Read More

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Two Countries, Two Responses

Will Thomas lived in Germany as an exchange student from May 2019 to April 2020 and has been helping out at tünews International since October 2019. In his article, he compares the governmental responses to the Corona pandemic of Germany and the USA based on his own personal experiences and shares his perception of the current Corona crisis.   by Will Thomas How does a country react to a crisis? The answer depends on the country. Until the end of March, I was completing an exchange year in Tübingen, consisting of a semester at the university and an internship. Unfortunately,… Read More

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The Corona Pandemic in the district of Tübingen

by Wolfgang Sannwald   The author is an employee of the District Office Tübingen. He personally participated in the meetings of the administrative staff for the management of the Corona pandemic in the district of Tübingen from March 23rd to May 5th.   It was Shrove Tuesday, February 25th, 2020, when the Corona epidemic reached the district of Tübingen. Martina Guizetti, the press spokeswoman of the district administration office, remembers a call from the Landrat (chief of district administration) that evening. Joachim Walter was reacting from a carnival procession to the first detected infection in the administrative district. This was the… Read More

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Syrian intelligence officials charged in Germany

by Wolfgang Sannwald In 2016, an expert in the “arrest barrack” at the Natzweiler-Struthof memorial in Alsace said that 19 people were temporarily locked in a shockingly narrow cell with six square meters during the German tyranny before 1945. She then told a group from Tübingen about other ill-treatment and torture. Ibrahim (name changed by the editors), who had fled from Syria to Germany a year before and has lived in Tübingen ever since, turned pale: he had just fled from such a prison. At that time, political reasons for fleeing Syria were hardly known in detail. Now German courts… Read More

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UN Secretary General calls for global ceasefire

Due to the crisis surrounding COVID-19, the Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres called for an “immediate worldwide ceasefire.” Civilians in conflict areas need to be protected from the devastating effects of the pandemic, Guterres said during a speech at the UN headquarters in New York. “Let the weapons remain silent, stop the artillery, end the air strikes,” said the UN Secretary General. This is central to creating humanitarian corridors for civilians. Many countries fear the collapse of their health systems as a result of the Corona virus. In conflict areas such as Syria or Yemen, basic medical… Read More

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On the right track-Year after year, the number of refugees who receive financial

Success Story On the right track By Sameer Ibrahim   Year after year, the number of refugees who receive financial help from German authorities, for example job centers or employment agencies, decreases. In this article we present an example. “Nothing is given to you in this life, but there is nothing too difficult if you have a strong will”. This is what Mohammed Khalaf says, a 40-year-old Syrian who found a job as a bus driver in Tübingen. Before the war, Mohammed also worked as a bus driver in Syria. He came to Germany in 2015, attended an integration course… Read More

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A piece of Iran and Afghanistan in Tübingen

Plants A piece of Iran and Afghanistan in Tübingen By Mohammad Nazir Momand   An editorial team from tünews INTERNATIONAL visited the botanical garden of the University of Tübingen last summer and conducted an interview with Michael Mauser, the gardener responsible for mountain plants from all over the world. The team was especially interested in wild plants that brought to Germany from countries such as Syria, Iran, Turkey or Afghanistan and then cultivated in the garden. “We bring plants like these from other countries to Germany to research them and to show them to students to help with their learning.… Read More

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“I could understand their fear well” I hope you have never experienced anything like this

Survival “I could understand their fear well” By Ute Kaiser   “I hope you have never experienced anything like this,” said Feras. 16 fourth graders of the Pfrondorf Primary School looked on, concerned. Feras, Oula and their daughters Roula and Sara from the tünews team told the children about their home in Syria and the story of their escape for almost two hours in December. 4a had chosen this topic for a newspaper project (see info). Pictures from the Internet and private photos showed the children how beautiful the Syrian cities looked before the war. “Why did you flee?”, moderator… Read More

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Always something new

Biography Always something new By Ute Kaiser   Hajera Sheikh lives by the motto: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Her life required a strong will and the ability to adapt to new situations again and again.   Her family moved often, with a father in the Pakistani Air Force who later started a law firm with his father in Pakistan and a mother as a biochemist, between Pakistan and Dubai. Hajera speaks Urdu, Punjabi, English, Hindi and German. Her friends and family in Pakistan usually visit her once a year.   In 2008, Hajera came to Tübingen with… Read More

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45 degrees and twelve hours of work daily

Archaeology 45 degrees and twelve hours of work daily By Michael Seifert “Tübingen archaeologists discover a 3500-year-old palace in northern Iraq” – a recent headline. Sameer Ibrahim, Mostafa Elyasian and Michael Seifert from the TüNews International editorial team visited the excavation’s leader, Ivana Puljiz, in her office in the attic of Schloss Hohentübingen. She reports: “In September of last year we spontaneously started a rescue excavation in Dohuk province in Kurdish northern Iraq. The palace hill was discovered as early as 2010, through on-site searches of Dohuk’s antique district. Remains of murals were also found. It became clear that this… Read More

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As if you were made of glass

Bullying As if you were made of glass By Roula Al Sagheer   Roula Al Sagheer, a student, is seventeen years old and volunteers as an editor for TüNews. In her everyday life at school, she often observes cases of bullying, and decided to write about the problem:   “It may seem strange to you, but imagine that you are made of glass, transparent. Completely invisible. No one sees you and no one hears you, regardless of how loud you scream. But, as soon as someone sees you, they try to break you, by any means possible. Sounds uncomfortable, right?… Read More

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The Unknown

Personal The Unknown By Oula Mahfuz   Have you experienced what it is like, to leave you country because of war? To live in a new country, where everything is foreign: customs and traditions, order and language. Sometimes, I wonder what’s worse: dying from rocket fire or living in a country where you face discrimination every day. On the other hand, there are always people who support you, who give you new hope. Here is some of what we encountered in Germany. The good and the bad experiences I can never forget. When we entered Germany, the first people I… Read More

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“Respect makes me strong”

“Respect makes me strong” By Ute Kaiser and Reem Al Sagheer   One plays football. That makes her confident. The other is proud to be a Yazidi. The third says, “Respect makes me strong.” The girls are as different as their artwork. “Mädchen*Wege“(“Girl*Ways”) is the title of their exhibition, available for viewing at the Tübinger Landratsamt until the end of November.   Painting light with the camera, making collages and taking photos of the places where the girls feel at home: all these exhibits were created at the Tübingen Girls’ meeting. Three times a week, open afternoons occur, with 60… Read More

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The Arabic plurals

Language The Arabic plurals By Feras Trayfi   Anyone learning the German language also learns about the many difficulties and peculiarities of the language. But you also get to know your own language better. One learns that one’s own language can be difficult and complex as well. An example of this is the plural in German and Arabic. While the plural in German is rather easy to learn, there are many forms in Arabic that you need to know. Here is an explanation: The plural in the Arabic language is initially simply a noun, which is given a new form… Read More

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Please buy your ticket!

Mobility Please buy your ticket! By Mostafa Ellyasian Unlike many other countries, where you show your ticket as you board the train or bus, things work differently in Germany. Here, travelers board public transportation without first showing the driver their ticket. Passengers without a monthly ticket must purchase their ticket before boarding, or directly on the vehicle at a ticket machine. While you don’t show your ticket as you board, there are still people checking for tickets. These people board the bus unannounced, show their ID, and check for tickets. If you cannot show a ticket during the check, you… Read More

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That’s how the tax return works

Tax office That’s how the tax return works from Feras Trayfi Nine out of ten employees receive money back when making a tax return. So it pays off to file a tax return. But how does it work? The editor Feras Trayfi from tünews INERNATIONAL conducted a written interview with Mrs. Hunger from the tax office. These questions were collected in discussions with various people about their difficulties with tax filing. What is a tax return? Tax returns serve to correctly determine the taxes due under the respective laws. Examples include the income tax return for the taxation of the… Read More

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The Arab Film Festival (Film mirroring Reality)

Culture The Arab Film Festival (Film mirroring Reality) from the editorial team The Arabic Film Festival is a very beautiful and interesting intercultural event that takes place every year in Tuebingen. The aim is to disseminate more information and acceptance by dealing with current topics such as refugees and migration. Films can indeed be a medium of information through which one can get to know cultures and ways of life from other corners of the world. At the weekend some editors of tünews were invited to the Arabic Film Festival in Tuebingen. They had to select a film and at… Read More

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Two days of Berlin

Capital Two days of Berlin By Mostafa Elyasian   This summer my wife and I flew to Berlin for two days. Berlin is the largest city and the capital of Germany. If you want to get to know Berlin, you need a lot of time. But we only had two days. Berlin is full of people and tourists, similar to Tehran. There seem to be different rules and laws here than in the Iranian capital. The police have a lot to do in Berlin. One of the places I saw was the leftovers of the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall… Read More

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From sugar cone to “Schultüte”

Traditions From sugar cone to “Schultüte” By Filiz Sahin   A few weeks ago it was time again and many children celebrated their first day at school. A school cone (“Schultüte”) or sugar cone (“Zuckertüte”) is held proudly by many children’s hands on that day. No matter whether they made it themselves or bought it ready-made, whether big or small, whether round or square – a photo with school bag, capturing an important start into a new phase of life, is something every one of us most porbably owns. It’s hard to believe, but the history of the Schultüte goes… Read More

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In close proximity, yet grasping the bigger picture

Portrait In close proximity, yet grasping the bigger picture By Ute Kaiser   Kathrin Haas has not regretted moving from North Rhine-Westphalia to Baden-Württemberg. Her work at the Tübingen District Office corresponds to what the social worker with a master’s degree in social management wants to do professionally. Since September 2017, the 33-year-old has been in charge of the “Special Service for Refugees” department and a team of 32 employees – ranging from integration managers to refugee representatives. The tasks are as varied as the circumstances of the people who fled war and violence: However, the focus is on integration… Read More

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Religion in Iran – Compulsion or freedom of belief?

World affairs Religion in Iran – Compulsion or freedom of belief? By Mostafa Elyasian During the reign of the Shah (until 1979) Iran was a free and strong country in the world and on the way to a modern state. People lived without serious problems, women with and without headscarves, religions existed peacefully side by side – Muslims, Christians, Zoroastrians, Jews, Baha’i or people without faith – until 40 years ago Grand Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran from his Exile in France and took power. Before his arrival he had promised in numerous messages to the Iranians that he would… Read More

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My home (country)

My home (country) By Oula Mahfouz   I used to think that home was just one specific place and that I could never leave my home country (Syria). In 2012 we had to flee our home in Damascus because of the fighting. I had rented an apartment in the centre of Damascus with my big family. Soon my parents and siblings left Syria one by one. I was the last one to stay in Damascus. This time was very difficult for me, because I was in my home country, but felt estranged. Then already my idea of home had begun… Read More

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Social Forum Tuebingen

Self-help Social Forum Tuebingen By Feras Trayfi   What are self-help groups? And is there such a thing for fugitives and migrants as well? With these and other questions in mind, our editors Aliaa Abd Khalaf, Feras Trayfi and Mostafa Elyasian were guests at the Social Forum in Tuebingen. Barbara Herzog, a self-help consultant and graduate psychologist at the Social Forum, answered their questions. With which problems do people come to these groups? People with the same problems and diseases meet in a self-help group. They exchange experiences as well as information and support each other. If you want to… Read More

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Fridays for Future

News 1: Fridays for Future Under the title “Fridays for Future”, pupils from all over the world demonstrate for climate protection every Friday. On Friday, 20th September 19 there will be a “global climate strike” in which young and old can participate. The strike will also be held in Tübingen from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the city centre. Some editors from the tünews INTERNATIONAL team who visit the school regularly discuss climate protection there. That’s why this topic also plays an important role in our editorial team. For more information on the strike: www.facebook.com/events/1266083293577864/   News 2: Advice… Read More

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Theatre festival

Theatre festival The LTT (Landestheater Tuebingen) celebrates its 40th anniversary at this year’s theatre festival. There will be various events all around theatre, including a fashion show and a guided tour for children. Under the title “Home is where you have your Kartoffelsalat”, a cooking performance will start at 7 p.m. in which locals and refugees will cook together. Some members of the tünews INTERNATIONAL editorial staff will also prepare dishes there. There is no entrance fee. The festival will take place on Saturday, 14.09.19 at the LTT-Theatre in Tuebingen. For more information, dates and prices: www.landestheater-tuebingen.de News 2: Intercultural… Read More

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Learning by doing!

Soundcheck Learning by doing! from the editorial team   Not having the most important element in front of you but rather in the background does not mean it doesn’t exist. The sound technician is one such element that simply cannot be forgotten whenever doing an event. Our man this 4th 4all was Carlo Heimisch. He was responsible for having all the sound in order. That meant having the sound on and running, doing sound checks with each of these bands and having them come in their sequence with minimum time between each band’s performance. And the best part was that… Read More

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The right mix

DJ Linda The right mix from the editorial team   Linda has been heard of before in this very magazine’s previous edition. Coming from the casual background of often being encouraged to play music at gatherings, she turned professional so to speak with this very event last year. “Yes, this time I thought about it and actually prepared my set along with considering the mix between each”, she mentions in her interview for the Wüste Welle. Her ideas for the mix were also interesting considering she was playing genres from dub to cumbia to electronic versions of folk music and… Read More

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Folk forever …!

Die Vagari Folk forever …! from the editorial team   As naturally as the world is your stage, folk music is almost a natural part of your act. Keeping this folk instinct alive were the musicians of Die Vagari. It was Cristobal Araya, a folklorist himself, the clarinet player from the Tuebingen Südstadt, Sofia, Cedric, Paula and Nabeel, the other musicians following suit in this effort. Incidentally, all were members of Folklang—this 70 odd member ensemble playing folk music from all over the world—that dissolved due to reasons of lack of sustainability. Somehow, when one door closes, another one opens,… Read More

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History in the making

DJ Stefan History in the making by Claron Mazzarello   Stefan Sergei happened to make history at this fourth edition of 4ALL fest. Not only was he the first handicapped person on a heavy electronic wheelchair could enter Epplehaus (since it has not yet been made accessible for handicapped people), but he was also our DJ for this very night. And he played music from Russia and Ukraine. “Yes, I was born in Russia. This was where I first deejay-ed on cassettes, somewhere around 2002 or 2003. I came to Deutschland in 2004”, Stefan answers in his radio interview for… Read More

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Urban pop from Stuttgart

kopfundherz Urban pop from Stuttgart by Penelope Hoeth   “kopfundherz”, it means head and heart, are Chillhan, Don Jahin, Rager the Rager and Rian. The band from Stuttgart makes German Urban Pop, Hip Hop and Rap. At the 4ALL Intercultural Fest in the Epplehaus Tübingen they played songs from their album “Mukke oder Tod”. The music was sometimes there are harmonic vocals mixed with catchy beats, and at other times rap with acoustic or electric guitar. But it is exactly this unique mix that makes the band. The band started in summer 2013 with frontman and songwriter Chillhan and guitarist… Read More

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Blowing it up

TBTF Blowing it up from the editorial team   Firstly, the name of this band—“To big to fail” (TBTF)—is exactly how it is when one experiences them perform live. They come with costumes and a get up giving this great feel of togetherness on stage—all of its 9 members. Then with their funky music, it is just not possible for one’s body to ignore the vibrations of this ensemble. They all somehow were connected with each other in the musician circuit of Tübingen; most of them with this band called the “Funky Latinos”. This is the origin from where Too… Read More

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The magic of music!

Canned Wizardry The magic of music! from the editorial team   Rock, blues, jazz, hip hop, world music and many more rhythms came from the music of “Canned Wizardry”. As their name suggests, it truly is the coming together of six musicians contributing their parts to make magic. “For us, music is magic”, says Silvio Hund, the lead vocalist of this band. While he is also the songwriter, he is supported by guitars drums and sometimes the didgeridoo and the harp. Come this next 4ALL fest this September 21, they will come around again to perform, but this time in… Read More

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Chili and Maqluba

Cooking Chili and Maqluba by Sylvia Haden   It is 3:00 on a Saturday afternoon. The “intercultural kitchen forum” for adults to meet, exchange thoughts, cook—and of course, to eat begins. Many boxes of food arrive. The first shift of the kitchen crew consists of the initiators of the cooking event themselves: Karl, Jacky and Lulieta from the Hausgemeinschaft LU 15 (Ludwigstraße) and Sylvia from tünews INTERNATIONAL. They slice and grate, cook and bake, decorate and arrange until late into the night. Hummus spread on a flatbread, covered with tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh green chilli peppers and salad leaves—the first dish… Read More

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Shadows in Tübingen

Workshop Shadows in Tübingen from the editorial team   This whole shadow theatre experience in all ways, was about realising one’s own ideas and developing them into a performance finally. After all, the world is your stage. Even for Sabine Effmert and Robert Arnold who conducted this workshop and then performance, from the start of their shadow project till now, or rather from the start of their respective careers in this line of art, till now, it has also all been about realising ideas. Sabine studied figure theatre in Stuttgart and Robert is an actor and director with about 11… Read More

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The mood has changed

Tuebingen The mood has changed By Sameer Ibrahim   In 2015, Germany, the economically strongest country in Europe, opened its doors benevolently to those fleeing war and misery, bringing hundreds of thousands of refugees into the country. The university city of Tuebingen, like other cities, took in more than a thousand refugees, having a population of only about 90,000. The majority of the fugitives were accommodated in sports halls and reception centres as well as a small number in residential buildings. Due to the large crowds and the limited space in the reception centres, the refugees were initially concentrated very… Read More

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Language is the key

Integration Language is the key by Ute Kaiser Naeem Nazari knows from experience what it means to be a refugee. In 1984, when he was two years old, his family fled with him from Afghanistan to Iran. At home, the Soviet-backed government and US-backed resistance groups fought each other. Nazari had no problems at school in Iran and passed the A-Levels. But refugees were not allowed to study there. He really wanted that. Therefore, in 2006 he returned to Afghanistan to study and gave up a job in Iran. In 2007 he started studying German in Herat. This decision should… Read More

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Reversed roles?

Society Reversed roles? By Sameer Ibrahim   As part of my work as a federal volunteer at tünews, one of my duties is to take part in educational seminars organised by the Federal Office for Families and Civil Society Affairs (BAFzA). Only recently did I travel to Bodelshausen, where a BAFzA seminar centre is located. The centre lies about 25 kilometres outside of Tübingen. This seminar lasted five days. On the third day there was a role play on the program. The seminar leader came up with an interesting idea – in a mixture of wit and seriousness. Said, done.… Read More

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The exchange has inspired me very much.

Review The exchange has inspired me very much. By Pauline Menghini For the last two years, tünews has meant a lot to me, because working in the editorial team has been a big part of my everyday life. From March 2017 I worked as a volunteer, then as a working student in the project and at that time I did not know exactly what to expect. But I should realize that very quickly. First it was my job to supervise the radio show and to accompany writing processes. Then I was allowed to get more involved in the content planning… Read More

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I took every chance I got

Success I took every chance I got by Mohammad Nazir Momand Jawad Taherpor is 32 years old and was born in the region of Herat in Afghanistan. He is the author of the book “You can’t hold me down”. Eight years ago, he came to Germany as a refugee. In a short time, he was able to learn German up to a very high level, so that he was able to enrol in a university very soon. He took advantage of the opportunities he had in the best way possible and built himself an existence while attending university. This young… Read More

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On the way to integration

tünews On the way to integration Ute Kaiser   Language, residence, work: These were and still are important issues for refugees. They are main concern of the tünews INTERNATIONAL team as well, already since the first issue in December 2015. Back then, the changes and developments tünews would undergo up until the 150th issue were beyond prediction.   Sprache: Ein Mitarbeiter von tünews besteht die Deutschprüfung für die Universität. Wohnen: Eine Mitarbeiterin und ihre Familie finden trotz der schwierigen Lage auf dem Markt eine Wohnung. Arbeit: Einige Geflüchtete haben eine Ausbildung oder ein Studium begonnen und sich deshalb von tünews… Read More

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Arabic classes for children

Native tongue Arabic classes for children By Oula Mahfouz   Since October 2018 there is an Arabic language class for children, held in Mössingen. 13 Syrian children meet there every Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. to learn Arabic together. Their teachers are Kamila Alali and Khadija Mahmoud, who gave language classes in Syria as well. This idea came up when a group of Arab women in Mössingen complained about their children forgetting Arabic or not even learning it at all. Kamila Alali took it upon herself  to organize an Arabic class for children. In order to … an adequate… Read More

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My journey to the German language

Stories of success My journey to the German language By Fatima Saleh   Before I arrived in Germany three years ago, I had learned English in school and a language class, specifically. Therefore, in the beginning I only spoke English once I was in Germany. I had not expected it to work so well, but it helped me and my family a lot. I was able to put matters in order for my family. In the accommodation centre in Donaueschingen though, there were no language classes for all the refugees. One day, an afghan woman approached me and asked, whether… Read More

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Studying in Tuebingen: The refugee program of the University of Tuebingen makes it possible

Studying in Tuebingen: The refugee program of the University of Tuebingen makes it possible By Feras Trayfi   During the last years, a great number of refugees from various countries and with different reasons for fleeing their countries arrived in Germany. There are many among them, whose course of education has been interrupted by their… ?? In order to specifically target and help those people, the University of Tuebingen founded the “refugee-program”. This nine-month-program is to provide them with … to find good career options and follow their dreams.   Feras Trayfi and Michael Seifert from tünews INTERNATIONAL attended a… Read More

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Strengths and weaknesses

Integrationcourse Strengths and weaknesses by Michael Seifert The integration course is compulsory for all recognized refugees and of central importance for their integration into German society. But in many cases, it is publicly criticized. For example, Annette Widmann-Mauz, Minister of State for Migration, Refugees and Integration, called for a “quality offensive for the integration courses” in 2018. Because: “In the years 2017/2018, the overall pass rate for language test B1 dropped to below 50 percent.” We asked the editors of tünews INTERNATIONAL about their personal experiences with the integration course. The range of opinions varies widely, from very positive to… Read More

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Which German-class can I take part in?

Learning German Which German-class can I take part in? by Naeem Nazari In the district of Tübingen there are very different German courses for refugees. Which course you are allowed to participate in is determined by the asylum status and the country of origin. Integration Course (up to B1): The most important German course is the Integration Course. The goal of the integration course is to reach level B1. If a person knows the Latin alphabet, they start with A1 and attend the course for 600 hours followed by 100 hours of orientation. That takes about 7 months. Those who… Read More

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World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day On Thursday, 20.06.19 the World Refugee Day is held globally. This day was declared to be a worldwide day of action by the United Nations in 2001, in order to shed light on the fates of refugees around the world and work towards improving their living situations. In Germany, this day was declared the national commemoration day for the victims of displacement and expulsion, to bring special attention to the victims of the Second World War as well. Numerous humanitarian organisations around the world will take action on this day to support refugees around the world.  … Read More

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What does an Ermessensduldung mean?

What does an Ermessensduldung mean?   An “Ermessensduldung” (discretionary suspension of removal) is issued, if a person cannot be removed from a country due to reasons of public, humanitarian or personal interest (§ 60a Abs, 2 Satz 3 AufenthG). “Discretionary” in this context does not mean that the authorities decide in an arbitrary fashion on an individual level. Rather it implies that there are several possible decisions. Each decision is made based on certain criteria. For example, if somebody has found a place for an apprenticeship and is to begin this apprenticeship within 6 months, he is a likely candidate… Read More

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Distance-learning University “Kiron” for refugees

Distance-learning University “Kiron” for refugees by Mohammed Kheer Hazeem   Many refugees in Germany have great difficulties if they want to study at a university. They often have to wait for a long time for a spot at the university, but also the bureaucracy is causing great difficulties. But the biggest hurdle is learning the German language.   In order to overcome these obstacles, in 2015 the „Kiron“ (Kiron Open Higher Education for Refugees) was founded. It is only for refugees who want to study, and the number of study places is not limited. In order to avoid long waiting… Read More

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The thousand names of the camel – Arabic is more than a language

world language The thousand names of the camel – Arabic is more than a language by Oula Mahfouz When the great German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe described the Arabic language, he expresses, that in this language spirit, word and writing belong together and form a unity. Where is Arabic spoken? Arabic is one of the most widely spoken languages worldwide. It is the official language in 22 countries and is spoken by a part of the population as a mother tongue in eleven other countries. Arabic belongs to the family of the Semitic language. The name “Semitic” was invented… Read More

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“Yoga is my life“

Body Art “Yoga is my life“ Mostafa Elyasian Tünews INTERNATIONAL visited Afssaneh Freshteh Lotfi, a yoga teacher born in Iran. In an interview, she describes her work: “A few years ago, I accidentally stumbled upon yoga. Since then, it has completely changed my life, so that I can now say, that it was one of the most important decisions of my life. Yoga has been defined in many ways and everyone choses themselves, whether it is a form of art, science or philosophy. When I started doing yoga, I was 40 years old. A few years later, I participated in… Read More

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Karl May and his worldview

adventure Karl May and his worldview By Sameer Ibrahim in the houses of the Saxon town Ernstthal many Fairy tales and legends were told in the 19th century. At the same time, people suffered from poverty and misery, and their children often died shortly after birth because of poor hygiene or malnutrition. Under these circumstances Karl May was born on January 25, 1842 in Ernstthal. The May family, like the neighboring families and the rest of the city, was poor and unhappy. The family consisted of THE parents and 14 children, nine of whom died very early. Fortunately, Karl survived.… Read More

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Nadia Murad fights for justice for her people

Nobel prize Nadia Murad fights for justice for her people By Michael Seifert I am sitting in a large kitchen with Ayad, a Yazidi who fled from Iraq to Germany, and some members of his family. Twelve of them live in an apartment in the district of Tübingen. On the wall hangs a big flag of Germany. We want to talk about Nadia Murad, a 25-year-old Yazidi, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2018. “When I heard that, I was really happy. It was like receiving the prize myself. And with me all the Yazidis were happy.… Read More

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Receiving BAföG as a refugee?

Studies Receiving BAföG as a refugee? In a meeting of our event format “tünews vor Ort” in Tübingen the topic of BAföG (federal educational support grant) was brought up. There were many questions regarding this topic in the context of refugees. At this moment, a lot of refugees have already applied for a university place. But they are not sure how to finance their education. Therefore, we met with Annette Unterseher, who works in the responsible BAföG-bureau in Reutlingen and asked our questions. What are the necessary requirements in order to receive BAFöG? Refugees wanting to apply for BAföG have… Read More

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Religious diversity and respect for refugees

Religious diversity and respect for refugees by Michael Seifert The head of all Catholics in the world, Pope Francis, receives thousands of pilgrims for a general audience in front of St. Peter’s in Rome every Wednesday. tünews-INTERNATIONAL-Editor Michael Seifert took part on April 3rd. Here is his report.   As part of the general audience, the pope always gives a short speech, mostly about religious matters. On this Wednesday he became very political, spoke very freely and left his official manuscript again and again. On the occasion of a trip to Morocco, from which he had just returned, he talked… Read More

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The way to permanent residence

Future The way to permanent residence By Mohammed Kheer Hazeem and Feras Trayfi The tünews editors Mohammed Kheer Hazeem and Feras Trayfi talked to Thomas Steimle and Thorsten Lehmann from the foreigners authority in the Tübingen district administration office about this topic: What is a settlement permit? A settlement permit is a permanent residence permit for third-country nationals. Which conditions need to be fulfilled? The requirements depend on the individual case. There is a special paragraph for refugees, namely § 26 Abs 3 Residence Act. There the requirements for refugees are listed. There are two options: you can apply for… Read More

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A Syrian barber in Tübingen by Sameer Ibrahim

  The two Syrians Karim and Amer have opened a barber shop in the Mühlstraße in Tübingen. Karim says: “I come from the city of Deir al-Zor, studied commerce and economics, worked for ten years in the hairdressing profession and I love my work very much. There are many work and study opportunities in Germany. I’m happy because I can do the same job I did in Syria. The people here are very nice and helped me a lot. ” His business partner Amer adds: “I was a hairdresser in Syria too and had my own business. I live in… Read More

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“It is the free decision of a woman to wear or not wear a headscarf”

“It is the free decision of a woman to wear or not wear a headscarf” A working group of tüews INTERNATIONAL editorial members worked on the topic “wearing a headscarf”. Aliaa Abd Khalaf, Fatima Salehi, Halima Ibrahim and Michael Seifert were part of the group. Initially, short interviews were made among the acquaintances in order to capture different voices. Finally, the group went to junior professor Fahimah Ulfat who works in the Center for Islamic Theology at the University of Tübingen and conducted a detailed interview with her. Ms. Ulfat, you’re wearing a headscarf yourself, what experiences did you make?… Read More

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Fishing in Germany By Sameer Ibrahim

What is needed to fish in Germany? – Anyone who would like to fish in Germany usually needs a fishing license. That’s the most common way. You can apply for it at the municipality. You have to attend a fishing seminary and then complete the theoretical and practical fishing test. The theoretical fishing test usually consists of a questionnaire about fishing. It includes, for example, questions on fish science, hydrology, fishkeeping and water management, fishing gear and fishing methods, the treatment of captive fish and any legislation. If you passed the test successfully, you usually get the result on the… Read More

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Good day and iilaa alliqa by Aliaa Abd Khalaf

  Handshake, kiss, bowing—those are ways how people greet each other but varies greatly from culture to culture. We would start with the politest way of greeting, “Good day”. This is the most important and polite way of greeting in German. You can use it all day long. Although, depending on the time of day, there are for example: Good morning—about 11 o’clock and good evening—about 18 o’clock. In Arabic we say “Selam Alejkum” instead of “Guten Tag”. There is also a form of greeting, “hello”.You can greet friends, acquaintances and younger people. You can also just smile at them,… Read More

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Is Africa really a poor continent! by Ademola Adetunji

  “Africa is not poor, but its wealth is being stolen”! Often time I come across people whom during a conversation with them end up saying “Go back to your poor country “and most times they conclude by saying “Africa is a poor continent”. Similarly, this statement has been repeated through a thousand images, newspaper stories and charity appeals each year, so it makes the story look truthful. When the westerners read such news or watch it via the television, this reaffirms assumptions and negative stories about Africa that has been heard throughout their lives. Therefore, the question is, is… Read More

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