A Note from Bonn

Claudia Hausdorf
Bonn, Germany

Bonn Germany

Many times did I start a new story but no matter what I was writing about it always seemed to include a certain sense of negativity. Maybe I have to accept this "unfamiliar" negative feeling and get used to my home country and the way of living here again. There are quite a few topics I could mention. But I want to concentrate on one aspect of living in Bonn, Germany which irritates me a lot and causes all kinds of different emotions.

CulturesI was blessed being able to live in many different countries of the world. For almost thirty years I had the chance to experience different political systems, climates and cultures. It was exciting to find out that black people in South Africa did not share our Western belief in many aspects of life. Having many children with more than one wife means some kind of "pension fund" for their old age. Black people in Africa have their own "doctors" and do not believe in our traditional school medicine. Living abroad meant daily experiences with a different way of thinking and behaviour. To fit into the community I tried everything to adapt. I learnt their language, I read books about the country, I watched local TV programs and took each and every chance to educate my family about where we were living at this moment.

There were lots of Germans living in every country we were. It would have been easy and - of course - very convenient to meet and live with them. But we all wanted to mingle with the locals, we wanted to be part of the community, we wanted to be one of them and also speak their language. That did not mean that we forgot our roots, our origin and our traditions.

When we came back to Bonn we were surprised to find so many foreigners in our small community. First I was happy about it because I love to be surrounded by people of a different culture. But it did not take me long to realize that it was quite different here in my hometown. Most of the foreigners are from Turkey or Russia and some are here in the second or even third generation. Most of them have no interest at all to get acquainted with our German culture, they do not even try to learn our language to learn more about our political system or help their children with their school. They do not seem to care if their kids finish school or not and get a proper education and find a good job. But what most of them know best is how to receive financial support from our community in every aspect of live. Germany has to give, has to help and has to support them. They rely completely on the system. They don't have to show their efforts how they can support themselves - they get their help without any problems. I never, ever experienced that kind of attitude in any country we lived. Nowhere.

I do Volunteer Work in a local school twice a week to supervise the homework of the kids with a migration background and offer Arts & Craft Classes. So far none of the mothers came up to me and showed their appreciation . They simply take it for granted that people help their children.

There is a high percentage of immigrant children in all classes of the local elementary schools. The academic standards fell, not related to intelligence but because of the language barriers. The crime rate in our small community is shockingly high, crimes done by teenagers with a migration background. They do not identify themselves with German values and rules. The opposite is the case. It seems that those children live between two cultures but only respect their own traditions and values. But nothing happens to them because our legal system is not ready yet for these kind of criminals.

The other day a 15-year old boy with a migration background burnt down part of a school and caused over 2 million Euros of damage. He did that without any legal consequences. And to top it off : A few days later there were signs in "their" neighborhood forbidding the "shitty Germans" to walk.

While living abroad I knew exactly how to behave and to accept the rules of the country. Sometimes it was not easy, sometimes I had a hard time to - at least - understand these rules. We always were accepted guests in our temporary home country.

Instead of asking what these foreigners can do to fit into our country our politicians keep on going the wrong directions of handing out charities without claiming something in return or put some pressure onto the families if they commit a crime. Because our politicians don't change their attitude towards these rising problems people develop a "new" feeling of racism.

The world became so small and we all could benefit from the advantages of an international neighborhood. Instead we stay away from each other and ignorance and intolerance are taking their toll.

Claudia Hausdorf
Bonn, Germany