A giant migratory wave washing over the shores of Europe. A massive influx of refugees. A swarm of foreigners.
These are some of the terms we use to describe the millions of people who have been fleeing from terror and poverty and are now seeking refuge in Europe. In our conversations about refugee crises, masses, and swarms, we take away peopleâ€™s faces and strip them of their stories. Waves, influxes, and swarms are easy to fear and in our rush to categorise, we forget that â€œthemâ€ means a person and a person and a person and a person and a person.
They are sons, sisters, and fathers. They are Marwan, who almost got killed for singing. They are Jaffari, who loves German Shepherds. They are Hussain, who just found out that his neighbourhood back home has been bombed. They are Kamkay, who is unhappily in love. They are Doaa, who considers laughter medicine for the heart.
Only when we look into their faces and listen to their stories, can we begin to understand who these New Europeans are. We might like what they say, or we might see things differently. We might find common ground. We might be surprised.