We stick with the term “refugees”

The approximately 20 employees of tünews INTERNATIONAL expressed considerable unease about the term “refugees”. A workshop held in Bad Liebenzell from 6 to 8 December 2019 dealt with the future of the media project and the designation of the target group.

The workshop in Bad Liebenzell was attended by members of the editorial staff who have come to Germany since 2015, four of them from Syria, one from Iraq, one from Iran and two from Afghanistan. The team also includes people who have lived in Germany for a long time but have additional roots in other countries, two in Iran, one in Pakistan, one in Greece.

Despite the unease about the words, there was agreement that there must be a term for people who have fled to Germany. For example, the state must be able to name them to clarify their status, or the administration must know who is entitled to certain benefits.

In everyday life, the term “refugee” often triggers reactions. Those who reveal themselves to be refugees are quickly attributed by others with characteristics, sometimes negative ones. That hurts. Editorial staff members want to be perceived as individuals, each with their own character and history.

We have not found a viable alternative to the term “refugee”. When we at tünews INTERNATIONAL acknowledge the term “refugees”, we consciously take a positive view of it. We want to show the diversity of individuals, their origins and cultures. And we have respect: Anyone who has had to manage an escape over snow-blown mountain passes or in a rubber boat across the Mediterranean Sea has mastered life-threatening dangers. And those who have carried the culture of their country of origin with them have a treasure that is the envy of many.

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