Angela Merkel Makes A Refugee Palestinian Girl Cry, Then Makes It Worse (VIDEO)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has embarrassed herself before worldwide audience with her shameful response during an interaction with a crying Palestinian child about to be deported from Germany.

Merkel was speaking at a Forum for Young People, when she took a question from a 14-year-old Palestinian refugee, Reem Sahwi. Describing her family’s four-year stay in Germany, nervously awaiting a decision for permanent residency, the girl pleaded with Merkel to change her stance on immigration. Without her intervention, the entire family is facing the likelihood of deportation to Occupied Palestine at any moment.

“I have goals like everyone else.” Sahwi said in fluent German “I want to go to University, that’s a goal I want to achieve.” And according to a translation used by the BBC, she continued:

“It’s really very hard to watch how other people can enjoy life and you yourself can’t. I don’t know what my future will bring.”

One can imagine how, for Sahwi, this chance meeting with the Chancellor could have been an opportunity to turn herself from a number, into a human being. Maybe, when Merkel saw her humanity, she would realize that something must be done. But the German leader was emotionless in her response. In fact, rather than putting herself in the shoes of the immigrant child, Merkel seeks to explain just how hard the situation is for her.

“I understand what you are saying” Merkel sighs according to a translation used by the Guardian, “Politics is hard sometimes.”

“There are thousands and thousands more in the Palestinians refugee camps in Lebanon. And if we say ‘you can all come here’, ‘you can all come over from Africa’, we can’t cope with that.”

At this point, having been reduced once more to a statistical problem, the girl sobs in desperation. She and her family are facing an uncertain future, and without German intervention will likely end up stuck behind Israel’s Apartheid Wall for the rest of their days. How does Merkel respond? She makes it worse. As you can see in the AJ+ video below: mistakenly believing the girl is crying out of some sort of embarrassment at her German (which is fluent), the Chancellor moves towards her.

“Oh come here, you did a great job.” She smiles, at which point the male host of the event intervenes.

“She’s crying because of her situation, not whether she did well presenting her views.”

“I know she is in a serious situation” Merkel snaps. “Still, I want to stroke her.” She then pets the child like a family dog.

The unbearable exchange has lit up social and mainstream media, with much of the globe unable to countenance the German leader’s lack of humanity. Within hours, the hashtag #Merkelstreichelt (Merkel Strokes) was filled with thousands of responses from inside Germany and across the world, shaking a virtual fist at the German Chancellor.

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The reason Merkel’s interaction with the girl is so painful to watch, is because it so perfectly demonstrates the inhuman dealings between the powerful and the dispossessed of the world. These dealings most often happen through purely bureaucratic means, out of view. But this time, it was world leader to refugee in person, on camera – and it exposed the callousness and inhumanity of the anti-immigrant position like almost no other means could.

Firstly, Merkel could not be with Reem’s reality. She could not even place herself in her shoes. There was no room for empathy that would demand a change of view.

Secondly, Merkel could not even be with Reem as an individual human being, and immediately collapses her into a statistic, one among ‘thousands and thousands.’

And thirdly, and most wickedly, Merkel presents the same lie put forward by anti-immigrant politicians and pundits the world over. She tells the lie that if she accepts Reem, somehow Germany will have to accept every Palestinian immigrant from Lebanon, oh and everyone from ‘Africa’ for good measure. This is utter nonsense. In fact, if the rich western nations (many of whom can credit their wealth to the stolen labor and resources of the same countries from which refugees are fleeing) dispersed the refugee populations equally – there is more than enough space, and wealth, to go around. Furthermore, perhaps if Germany and the West ceased asset-stripping entire countries through Structural Adjustment, war and Austerity programs, fewer people would be fleeing their homelands in the first place.

Instead of addressing the desperate concerns of the 14-year-old Palestinian refugee before her, Merkel was nurturing the phobias and prejudices of white Germans who might later view the footage. She was reassuring them that she would not let this girl, or the ‘thousands and thousands’ like her, diminish Germany. That’s why anyone with their humanity intact is left so utterly cold by this exchange. It was a heartless action, encouraging the most heartless response in others – and it backfired, royally.

Featured Image via Twitter