31.01. – Akzeptanz gegen Dankbarkeit

Im Guardian schreibt eine Amerikanerin, die als Kind aus dem Iran geflohen war, in einem langen Text eindrücklich über das, was in deutschen Debatten wohl meist mit Integration gemeint ist: Die Erwartung lebenslanger Dankbarkeit, im Aufnahmeland existieren zu dürfen, Herabstufungen klaglos zu ertragen und seine vorherige Identität abzulegen.

But there were unspoken conditions to our acceptance, and that was the secret we were meant to glean on our own: we had to be grateful. The hate wasn’t about being darker, or from elsewhere. It was about being those things and daring to be unaware of it. As refugees, we owed them our previous identity. We had to lay it at their door like an offering, and gleefully deny it to earn our place in this new country. […]

Month after month, my mother was asked to give her testimony in churches and women’s groups, at schools and even at dinners. […] The problem, of course, was that they wanted our salvation story as a talisman, no more. No one ever asked what our house in Iran looked like, what fruits we grew in our yard, what books we read, what music we loved and what it felt like now not to understand any of the songs on the radio. No one asked if we missed our cousins or grandparents or best friends. No one asked what we did in summers or if we had any photos of the Caspian Sea. “Men treat women horribly there, don’t they?” the women would ask. Somehow it didn’t feel OK to tell them about my funny dad with his pockets full of sour cherries, or my grandpa who removed his false teeth when he told ghost stories.

Such memories, of course, would imply the unthinkable: that Iran was as beautiful, as fun, as energising and romantic, as Oklahoma or Montana or New York.

(Dina Nayeri, „The ungrateful refugee”)

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