News Overview 2017

"We Don’t Even Know What Dreams They Have"

Germany has been debating about what the correct refugee policy is since 2015. However, the people affected are rarely afforded the opportunity to share their side of the story. Chamisso Prize winner Abbas Khider therefore made the main character of his latest novel a refugee. In an interview, Khider explained the message of his book - and what the current social division in Germany has in common with a marital crisis.
Philipp Knichel | March 2017
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Photo: Yves Noir
Until recently, there was no German novel that took place in a refugee home. That changed this year with the release of Chamisso prize winner Abbas Khider’s latest novel Ohrfeige ("a slap in the face"). It portrays a refugee from Iraq and his exhausting experiences with German agencies and refugee homes.

Himself a former asylum seeker, Abbas Khider is familiar with these feelings of uncertainty and helplessness with respect to the language. Khider fled from the Saddam regime in Iraq in 1996 and came to Germany as an asylum seeker in 2000. He obtained German citizenship in 2007. He is therefore a highly sought-after guest for interviews in the current debate. In this interview, he provides insight into the emotions of asylum seekers. He explains why people without hope for the future cannot lead a normal life and pleads for a courageous defense of European values.
 

Listen to the interview (in German)

Abbas Khider

Khider was born in 1973 in Baghdad, Iraq. Politically Persecuted, he fled from Iraq in 1996 and spent four years in Jordan, Libya and Turkey as an “illegal” refugee. In 2000, Khider came to Germany as an asylum seeker and studied philosophy and literature in Munich and Potsdam. Today Abbas Khider lives in Berlin.