To my friends overseas: Europe is not a horrible mess
I am sure you have noticed that Donald Trump frequently talks about Europe to highlight problems caused by refugees and immigrants in order to support his goal of strong borders in the U.S.
Well, obviously I am European and I am living in this so called “mess”, but I really can’t confirm any of the things that Mr. Trump presents to you as facts about my home. I live in the second largest city of Germany, which according to Mr. Trump should be one of the worst places to be right now. Well, I can tell you that I have never had a reason not to feel safe when I go out – even at night. And I am not living in a gated community or a wealthy suburb, but in a multicultural, diverse area. I have also been to many large cities all over Germany and all over Europe recently and still my feeling hasn’t changed. It is true that there are more refugees that there used to be a couple of years ago and that this gets visible in many cities. But it doesn’t scare me at all. I am rather asking myself, what makes people leaving their home and everything they have behind - and what I can do to make the situation better.
It is out of the question, that we face certain challenges in Europe. Last year in December, there was an attack by a terrorist influenced by ISIS on a Christmas market in Berlin which left 12 dead (I’ve been in the city visiting Christmas markets 2 weeks before it happened). I agree that we have to increase vetting and security measures in order minimize the risk that these things happen. But still I won’t plead an entire religion, ethnicity or group of people guilty for a single incident like this. And I’ll definitely still go to Christmas markets in the future.
Mr. Trump makes it seem that the situation on our continent is becoming worse every day and that everything is moving towards an inevitable collapse. But in my opinion, we are actually doing a pretty decent job over here: We’re getting better at our efforts to integrate refugees into our society. The number of refugees arriving is constantly decreasing since the end of 2015, crime rates are stable and there is no evidence of refugees committing more crimes than other groups of people.
In his recent speech, Donald Trump said you should “look at what’s happening in Germany, at what’s happening in Sweden” and elsewhere in Europe. So here I am, right in the middle of it, telling you that we’re doing just fine. It is not my intention to debate about American politics or call for resistance. I just have a problem with my country being discredited and used as an example for bad things happening, which are absolutely not true. I don’t see the “horrible mess” that some people far away apparently see. I wouldn’t have any advantage if I spread “fake news” and lie about the situation. But in case you are absolutely not convinced, you are more than welcome to visit me in Europe and form your own opinion.