Are you open to diversity? Even if someone spat on your face?

We were invited to eat Filipino food at the house of our friends a couple from Australia who have been living in Hamburg for some months now. During this evening, Carlo told us a story that left me in shock. On his third week in Hamburg he went for a run and during his run he tripped with a woman. He said sorry and kept running further. Some minutes after, he happened to stop at a pedestrian traffic light and the husband of this woman started yelling at him because he had tripped with her, apparently it was the wife of this guy. Carlo apologized again and kept moving forward. Apparently someone saw this happening and as Carlo passed the pedestrian traffic light someone spit on his face.

When this happened of course Carlo was really mad. I can’t even think of how he should have felt. In this moment, he remembered that his friends back home had told him he had to get mentally prepared for Germany because things like this could happen.

Of course his story shocked me because I believe I have never been discriminated in Hamburg. Such an international city, how could this happen? What is wrong with people? was my thought.

But now, a few weeks after this episode, Carlo said something very surprising: you might think that because of this situation I would then put all germans in the same bag but I won’t. I refuse to give him a taste of his own medicine.

This is precisely what I will keep from this awful experience. 2018 and I can’t believe that we still have to be dealing with such issues. We are humans, period. That’s something we shouldn’t forget. Be a human to humans. You don’t necessarily have to agree with someone’s opinion, behaviour, sexual orientation or belief but what you have to do is respect everyone.

In moments like this is when I feel the most thankful. To have completed my high school studies in a school where a diversity of ethnicities peacefully coexisted. To know that my parents raised me to see humans, not boxes. To have been able to pursue master studies in another country which opened my mind and showed me that I don’t know everything and that I am constantly learning, evolving and experiencing.

I truly hope that one day our society realizes that we are all the same so that more people can get to have best friends from Croatia, Australia or Lebanon. Tina, Yvonne and Razan you are the friends that I selected to call my family in Hamburg .

With love,

Izmir

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