Chronicles of a new “Anti-Semitism Scandal” (part 5): Petrify the Arab Migrants!
I have been blessed with much compassion and support from tens of colleagues, acquaintances and friends the minute Süddeutsche Zeitung’s report was published, and the attack began. Calls, invitations for coffee or a walk, but most importantly, a lot of good advice.
Through sensing the fear, hearing the uncertainty in most of their voices, and listening carefully to them giving me some advice; in the beginning, I thought it’s just the respect and love I gained in the last four years, but it wasn’t all about it.
Advice ranged from tips about the law, suggestions for my future hearings, and guidance on how to appear and talk with the external investigators and a lot more. Through them, I knew they were not only protecting me and their jobs but, more importantly, their families.
I know that as part of the “Arabic service of DW”, most of us turned out to become family to each other, as the case is with most migrants who came alone to live a decent life and invest in themselves and their careers.
I relived a couple of the most challenging weeks that I thought I wouldn’t ever go through again since my beloved grandmother passed away three years ago while I was on my desk in Berlin, working, paying my taxes and respecting German law and History!
My colleagues and friends checked on me; some of them were expected, while more were not, as our relationship wasn’t that strong. They asked me to fight, some told me to resign, but most importantly, they said, “I should show that I had changed”, and “I should show DW that I deserve my job and their trust”.
Most of them are Arab, but no one checked what and when I wrote what the media is accusing me of. They took the word’s of the german journalist (from SZ) for granted. They were (and still are) full of uncertainty: about my future, and I would say theirs! even if we all were not aware of it in the beginning!
Friends and acquaintances from different organizations had the same concerns and called me to show support and fearfully asked about my case!
It hit me later, “What is happening to me is happening to them, and it is feeding an atmosphere of fear in us as migrants and, more specifically, Arabs”. We got a label now! German media didn’t talk about individual cases in the Middle East Desk in DW, as our official title, they talked about “the Arabic service” being Anti-Semitic, then we became the Arabs in DW.
We were following the news where colleagues (with the exact background) from different organizations were kicked out because of the same accusations.
The conflicts in the histories is present in the back of our minds, and once any of us is accused of being antisemitic, “we are guilty” no matter what freedom of speech, freedom of journalism or even different cultures and histories implies. No matter when and how we wrote or said, “We Are Guilty” in this public trial and the rest are just details!
I worked with the most professional Arab colleagues in Germany, and they all represent the country values to the Arab World, their homes. We are all excellent citizens/residents paying our taxes before getting our salaries, following the law and prioritizing this work every morning over our personal lives while enduring being away from our lands. However, all this doesn’t matter when Anti-Semitism accusations come along. We are walking on minefields because of the fear; some Israeli and German media are planting all over the country.
Being in one of the most liberal countries and advocates for freedom of speech hasn’t protected us from feeling profound fear about this topic. Israel and the confusing relationship to it will always be “our worst nightmare” even when we are doing our work most professionally. As the Anti-Semitism label won’t check for facts and definitely not for context.
A friend said: this would not end here; the campaign will continue until the last one of us is fired. Many doubts have been raised by many of whom I know around the investigation processes in such cases and their objectiveness.
The attacks on the “Arabic service of DW” ignited an atmosphere of “Anti-Arabism”, not limited to DW, which put us all under a lot of pressure. Here, unfortunately, DW couldn’t do much.
The storm is massive, the war is unjust and illogical, and DW had to bend to the wind while we, as Arab migrant individuals, had to deal with all of these inner and outer conflict(s) and fears alone, waiting for an answer to the question “Who’s Next?!”
*This article is a part of my “Chronicles of a new “Anti-Semitism Scandal” series documenting my experience while being wrongfully accused of anti-Semitism and subsequently under investigation by Deutsche Welle and the German media. I am a professional journalist who believes in my profession’s mission, ethics, and values, and I will not remain silent in search for the truth, facts, and honest dialogue. I will keep writing and documenting until the end of investigations on the 15th of January 2022 or longer if needed.