Editor’s Note: This is a personal narrative and commentary about German public radio, and multiculturalism therein, based on my experience in the last years. I offer my observations, suggestions, and hopes, perhaps to prompt further thought or consideration from journalists and newsreaders alike. Warning..this is a long one!
“You have no idea what you are talking about, Luka*.“ The small Greek colleague pushed a harshly dismissive comment toward Luka, incensing something primal in the latter. I had not yet met this colleague, after all I was just considered a Praktikant, an intern, a visitor, a stranger and kept more or less to myself unless prompted. I sat at the back corner of the meeting table in a German editorial meeting.
“How do you know what I have an idea about?” Luka shot back in his thick accent—Bosnian or Hungarian, I wasn’t quite sure. The other members of this multi-cultural editorial staff shifted their eyes nervously, some chuckled, not sure what to do. I stopped moving all-together, frozen in a pose for observation: my posture slouched, my chin buried in my hands, my eyes fixed. A discussion about refugees from Eastern Europe quickly turned heated.
“You don’t know what the refugees need. You don’t know who they are, or what they are doing.” The Greek colleague looked sure of himself, almost taunting the situation to escalate. A soft winter light shone in through the windows behind me, and story ideas pinned to a tack board fluttered slightly.
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