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  • Barbara Kuznik

Reem Sahwil and the awkward moment

This week was very emotional. The German chancellor's interaction with a Palestinian teen went viral.

The Iron lady showed her human side and it seems the story actually got a happy end.

What a heart-breaking turn for the image of the German politics in such difficult times.

Jules Johnston (Politico) named this "Merkel’s awkward moment".

Not only that, It might also become one of the top ten most important moments in her political history.

Angela Merkel was speechless as she got a first-hand experience with the reality of Germany’s refugees policy.

Speaking to a room full of teens in a school in Rostock, Merkel was told by Reem, a young Palestinian girl, that she faced deportation along with her family after four years of living in Germany. In 2011 she left with her family to Lebanon and fled to Germany. Even Lebanon was not their home, but a refuge for the family. They come from Palestine, where everyday is nothing but a struggle.

In fluent German, she told Merkel about her goals, dreams and fears, before breaking into tears when Merkel told her Germany “can’t cope” with helping every refugee.

The show went the unpredictable way as the veteran politician showed unexpectedly her human side saying, “I know this is a very wearing situation, but I just want to give her a hug right now.” (She actually used the word "streicheln", what doesn't mean to hug but rather to stroke somebody).

However, it didn't help much at that point. Not even saying her not to cry as she did a good job! The moderator explained to the chancellor that the girl's tears might be of a more profound origin. Like being scared for her own future and the well-being of her family.

Afterwards, a viral debate occurred on twitter #merkelstreichelt pro and contra the reaction of Angela Merkel, who indeed made something unexpected.

This human gesture was rather clumsy, but showed a huge emotional step forward for the German chancellor, often seen as a heartless iron lady.

Some would like to see this moment as a rise of softness and humanity in a strict German politics. Others argue on social media this is just a PR for a new immigration law that will come into force in August and allows the well-integrated youths to get a new residency permit.

Germany took in 200,000 asylum seekers last year and expects as many as 450,000 this year according to Guardian.

Reem is just one of them. A brave girl, who became famous because of this awkward moment. She just finished school with very well grades. Reems father Atif Sahwil is happy with the reaction of Angela Merkel. She has done somnething what no Arab leader would ever do.

Guardian reported, the girl and her family can stay for the time being. They are though still waiting for the decission of the Immigration office.

There is another symbolic element in this story. Reem is not only a refugee she also can not walk since her birth. Germany is her only hope. To have a life and to be able to fulfill her dreams...

.....Good Luck!

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