Opinion piece: The way we all get along
People come from all around the world asking for asylum in Denmark. To be an asylum-seeker is entering a new world, a new experience and a new future. It is very challenging to find a way to connect with people of different religions and backgrounds. But it can also be an experience of successful coexistence and personal growth
It was simple and without complications in the place we asylum-seekers used to live before. We come from countries, where we used to know a lot of people, and where we shared the culture, the traditions, the language and the religion. Under hard circumstances we have had to leave this behind, and we find ourselves in a refugee camp, where we have to share kitchens and bathrooms with other people from different nationalities.
Our first impression will be intuitive; the others are strangers, they are weird, they are different. Somehow we just do not feel like socializing with anyone, and being alone is better than integrating with the others.
When you accidently meet other asylum seekers in the kitchen and they smile at you, you will feel weird. Like it is nicely unexpected. At least that is how I felt the first time it happened to me. I had to smile back or I would be considered rude.
A smile can change your whole thinking. Day by day, people you meet in the center prove your negative thinking wrong. They are nice and acceptable. You become more interested in them and in what they are cooking and that will lead to conversation. And conversations sometimes turn into making friends. This has already happened to me. It is so cool for me to know that I have friends from Somalia, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Eritrea, Morocco, Lebanon and China.
By time, you will realize that it is true – we are different from each other. But you will also realize that it is an opportunity for you to learn about cultural differences and other interests.
Figuring the ways to communicate
We live in a multicultural society, where we may not all have similar ideals or culture. However I believe we should be able to accept each other for who we are and find a balance.
We have to keep in mind that our differences are useful, for those are what make us special and more interested to meet and get to know each other. I personally had no idea about other religions and cultures – honestly, I was stupid, and I was judging without having knowledge. But after socializing with asylum seekers I learned a lot. I have made many good friends and I am more open and eager to learn more.
It is not wise to judge people based on the way they are different from ourselves. Let us be tolerant and open-minded, less direct in showing our emotions and less argumentative.
What is important
After all, only asylum seeker can understand asylum seeker, we have been through difficulties and we are nearly in the same situation. We left family-members behind, destroyed houses, or suffered a lot on the way.
As different asylum seekers, and as humans I should say, we must be united with kindness and gentleness. As Nelson Mandela said: “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love,….”