Originally published on Medium on November 14, 2016.
As a visiting student from Germany in the United States, I have had the unique standpoint of looking at my country struggle to define its position vis-à-vis recent immigration from Syria, as an outsider.
The media has been good at pointing out the rise of xenophobic sentiments amongst citizens of countries that have faced a sudden increase in immigration. Indeed, anti-immigrant sentiments are a huge reason for concerns amongst my peers back home.
Yet, one relatively less observed byproduct of this situation has been a growing citizen’s involvement in policy and a political and social discussion within the German society in general. My fellow citizens seem to realize the importance of political decisions more than during the past few years.
One relatively less observed byproduct of this situation has been a growing citizen’s involvement in politics.
In the end democracy might be the winner of the struggles today.
While the trend of immigration does have a huge impact on the lives of many people in Europe today, I don’t believe that in the long run immigration will have much of a detrimental effect.
However, I am hoping that the renewed interest in political participation from my fellow European citizens will have a lasting, positive effect, and not only to fuel the rise of anti-immigrants’ sentiments. See, for example the great political engagement of my generation supporting the rights and well being of refugees coming to their shores.