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. In the seminar room we divided our group into three “social classes”: One first group that welcomed the refugees, a second group that was opposed to these newcomers and a third group that played the government. The participants were initially amused – most of them Germans – as they slipped into the roles of this peculiar scenario.

In order to make the game understandable, here is a short description of the background story: The three groups live on an island. A nuclear catastrophe has occurred in distant Germany. The explosion claims many victims and causes severe injuries for the first responders and everyone not among the fatalities. The Germans flee and come to the island in order to get asylum. They are accommodated in first reception centres and sports halls until their applications for asylum have been examined.

 

Those who are granted the right to asylum on our island must take a language course. The government also decides where they reside. Among the German refugees there are a small number of troublemakers who annoy the population of the island. Above all through their excessive consumption of alcohol in restaurants, cafés and public places. Also by throwing away rubbish, peeing on trees and vomiting on sidewalks. All this leads to disgust and anger among the inhabitants of the island. What doesn’t make the situation any better is the rape of a local girl by refugees. As a result, the population protests against the refugees and demands their return to their homeland. At night there are attacks on refugee homes with Molotov cocktails. We hear the cries: “There is no place for the Nazis here with us! A reception centre is finally set on fire and some refugees suffer burns and smoke poisoning. A few days after these events there is another sexual assault on an island girl. She reports having been harassed by a group of young men whose hair was blond and whose eyes were blue. The situation gets worse day by day. The island becomes a nightmare for the German refugees.

 

The most exciting and impressive thing for us seminar participants was that we took on different roles than usual. As a real refugee, I had to slip into the role of a ruling official and was supposed to make a fair decision about the German refugees while taking into account the concerns of the locals. And it was very difficult to be honest.

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