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‘My two-year-old speaks more German than I do’

8 Oct 2010, 10:51

Published: 08 Oct 2010 10:51 GMT+02:00

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Berlin has long been a magnet for outsiders, from provincial Prussians centuries ago to Brooklyn hipsters today. Strangers at first, these newcomers eventually make the city their own and reshape its social fabric.

This process continued even while Berlin was divided during the Cold War, but 20 years after reunification, the German capital has become an increasingly attractive destination for foreigners hoping to start a new life.

Julia Lipkins’ multimedia project for The Local lets these new Berliners tell their own stories.

Nasser Ayyade

Beirut, Lebanon

Click here for Nasser Ayyade’s story.

Born and raised in Palestinian refugee camp, Nasser Ayyade left Lebanon to start a family and business in Berlin.

Story continues below…

“My two-year-old speaks more German than I do,” says Ayyade, the proprietor and sole full-time employee of the Ad-Duha butcher shop. In 2005, Germany’s federal government passed The Immigration Act, which requires immigrants from non-EU countries to participate in a 600-hour language and integration course. Ayyade enrolled in an introductory German class upon his arrival in 2006, but he says he learned the language from interacting with customers.

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Your comments about this article

12:40 October 8, 2010 by Jude the Obscure
Are you people pretending to be thick? This man started his own business. He's not taking anyone's job. Sorry if I didn't get the joke.
13:42 October 8, 2010 by mehta_p

that's wht an immigrant wants - to work independently without being burden on government.

Initially refugee get financial help (+ house), free language and integration course, additionally her wife doesn't need to do german language before getting visa, + free Berufschule. If one get such kindda facilities, why can't he do better than many Germans who are unemployed today.

Today life of many unemployed educated (degree holders) immigrants is miserable where refugees such like Nasser Ayyade having better life coz of support from government.

I wonder, how they are gonna contribute to nation through their work and social life?

For The New Berliners - it would be interesting to know, how much government pay for refugees every yr and wht they get back for it.
14:46 October 8, 2010 by indian2000
In Germany it is better to be refugee rather than being an Doctor or Engineer.Refugees get free money,free apartments,free integration couses and many more facilties from the money which hard working people pays as taxes.Life of educated people is more hell as they have to do 650 Hrs integration course along with 8 hrs of job daily. Educated guy can be thrown out any moment he is without visa.Refugees have privilege to live without any fear of being deported.Mostly hard core criminals are taking refugee in Germany on fake basis and roam freely in society.If this continues, hard working people will feel ashamed and refugees will feel proud which would create an understanding in the mind that WHY SHOULD WE STUDY WHEN WE CAN EARN FROM GOVERNMENT.
14:57 October 8, 2010 by freechoice
i can't wait for my kids to speak like him, then i will be a proud dad....

15:32 October 8, 2010 by padu
Yesterday an old and narrow-minded granny in Berlin rudely demanded me to speak German. Why the f*ck I have to speak German while I helped Germany sell over 15 millions euro machineries to China.

A country living on export hates Arbeitgeber foreigners, what a joke!
14:01 October 13, 2010 by Jibzy
@Padu: You have to because you're in Germany. And its the language of Germans... Your help was not a blessing on German people and their future generations..but because you earned a profit from it.

@Indian: Try it. If that life feels so much better to you then become a refugee. Do you have any better suggestions or would you just continue to rant?
01:00 November 1, 2010 by Noproblemo
@padu..your monumental american arrogance is just as big as your stupidity
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