Ghiath Al Jebawi (Syrian architect) thinks he has the solution to Cologne’s little rape problem:
It is important that the German government does its best to track down the perpetrators and penalises them appropriately, just as it is important that it takes measures to make sure that similar events don’t take place in the future.
By stopping economic migration and fake refugees?
But what may be harder to do is to draw from events in Cologne a lesson about the long-term integration of refugees.
No, on the contrary, it’s not harder at all. The lesson seems perfectly clear, to those who aren’t wedded to the increased accommodation of an invasive culture, anyway.
As I saw from several visits there to my relatives and friends who lived in temporary residences (“Heime”) in the city, such camps tend to lead to increased segregation from the local community. When migrants and refugees are located in such camps, which are also internally segregated between families and single men, people there tend to be more repressed and contained in self-enclosed social circles, operating with very little direct contact with the local community.
Or maybe the repression chicken came before the separation egg?
There are alternative strategies when it comes to resettlement: for example, refugees can be allocated equally among German regions and cities, with active policies in place to attract them to smaller cities. This guarantees a more effective interaction between newly arrived refugees and their host communities – in the long run, it results in more sustainable urban and social structures across the country.
We don’t really know what will happen ‘in the long run’ – we haven’t got there yet! Not with this type or amount of refugees.
In fact, Germany’s own historic experience shows that this approach can work. The so-called “Leverkusen model” , for example, was developed in the 1990s, when the city near Cologne was facing an influx of refugees. It was a house-sharing project that allocated decentralised accommodation to refugees in private homes among locals, as opposed to central accommodation in the large refugee camps.
This model has not been universally popular because it requires some willingness to integrate, not just from refugees but also local people, particularly in cities facing a housing shortage.
Gosh, I can’t imagine why Hans and Gelda wouldn’t be interested in ‘more integration’ after New Year’s Eve, can anyone else?
In my experience, most migrants and refugees are above all keen to start a stable life after fleeing war or poverty. A welcoming and supportive local community would help facilitate this.
In Germany, they’ve had ‘a welcoming and supportive community’. And it’s been repaid with mass sexual assault.
Hardly surprising attitudes are changing, amongst those who bear the brunt…