GERMANY

Syrians In Germany Find Humor In Their Displacement

What's funny about being driven from your home country by a bloody civil war? More than you'd think!

GERMANY
Syrians are seeing the funny side of living in a foreign country — REUTERS
May 18, 2016 at 5:47 PM ET

Some Syrian refugees in Germany are turning to humor to illustrate the difficulties and challenges they face assimilating to life in Europe. Using YouTube and Facebook, they have already gained tens of thousands of followers and created their own mini-genre of comedy. You know what they say: When life gives you lemons, make a video of yourself telling jokes about the lemons and amass legions of fans.

“When you hit your son and the german people see u,” is the title of one of the comedy videos uploaded by Ehab Ali, a young Syrian in Europe who’s been sharing videos about German life to his Facebook account. Ali is part of a broader network of young Syrians who are using humor cope with the new social norms of their adopted country. The topics range from trying to find an Arab girlfriend to dealing with homesickness. Some even try to convince Syrians to resist getting into fights with Turkish nationals.

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Their online accounts link to each other. Combined, they attract hundreds of thousands of views, and those numbers are only growing among asylum seekers who belong to closed Facebook groups. Many of their videos are also viewable on YouTube.

In the words of Kurt Vonnegut, a humorist who also endured war, “Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.”

Translation: The Arab girl in Europe.

Translation: How to learn German in just five minutes.