The Germans Are a Comforting People
Those of you who, like my wife and me, are big fans of the TV show The Big Bang Theory, might get a kick out of this title. I’ve changed the “have always been” that Sheldon says in this segment to “are” to make it more accurate. (If you’re in a hurry to see the relevant quote, go to the last 12 seconds of the video above.)
Because today, despite Sheldon’s irony, it does appear to be broadly accurate. Here’s a quote from a recent BBC story, “Migrants crisis: Germany seizes its chance to help.”
These are the refugees who’ve made it to Germany. And waiting to greet them are scores of volunteers standing next to trestle tables piled with clothing, food and supplies.
As a little girl with dark hair tries on some tiny second-hand shoes, one of those volunteers tells me they’re here to meet every train. “It’s our turn to help,” says Colin.
Surveys suggest the vast majority of Germans agree. In almost every town or city, people are giving their time, donating food and clothing, even opening their homes to the thousands of asylum seekers who arrive here every day.
A few days ago, I met a man called Hasseen with sad, tired eyes. He’d just stepped off a train and set foot in Germany for the first time.
He fled Afghanistan, he told me, after the Taliban threatened to kill him.
But when I asked him about his hopes for the future, his expression changed. Smiling, he said: “I’m so happy to be here. The German government welcomes refugees, gives them a home here.”
And, broadly speaking, he’s right. Last week, for example, the government indicated it would grant asylum to Syrian refugees regardless of how they’d entered Europe.
Do I suspect that the German government is giving taxpayer-funded aid to these refugees? I do and, of course, I oppose that. That’s not charity: it’s forced distribution.
But if that’s all you see going on, you’re missing the big picture: the German government being willing to let these refugees in and many of the German people being personally generous and welcoming.