German Chancellor Angela Merkel's empathetic response to the refugee crisis in Europe has received widespread praise from home and abroad, but it has also been the target of much criticism. Having opened its borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees, Germany now has to deal with integrating them into its society and culture. But while the debate on how exactly to do that rages on, one filmmaker is presenting a hilarious yet stirring first-person take on the matter. Syrian refugee Firas Alshater's video on life in Germany is making the rounds on the Internet to incredibly positive feedback, and rightly so.
In his video, Alshater, who according to The Washington Post was imprisoned and tortured while in Syria for his opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, recreates the famous experiment where a blindfolded Muslim man stands next to a sign asking, "Do you trust me?" with his arms wide open. The experiment was to see how many people would embrace the kind of man that governments and media outlets often stereotype as a terrorist.
At first, a blindfolded Alshater with his open arms received no response to his sign — except when someone rushed up to him for a selfie.
But after a while, things changed. More and more bystanders went up to hug him.
"When Germans begin something, they absolutely cannot stop," Alshater explains in his video, referring to the number of hugs he received. "I've learned that Germans need a little more time, but then, they can't be stopped."
Alshater's powerful message is especially resonant in a time when the country is split on what to do about refugees. But the filmmaker has hope yet:
This is why I believe that integration will succeed... eventually.