Over the weekend, I went on a walking tour with Refugee Voices Tours Berlin, led by a man from Syria with refugee status in Germany. During the tour, we visited a series of historical sites in Berlin. At each landmark, our guide would first briefly describe the German history related to the spot, and then draw parallels to similar types of events in Syria, from government-led massacres in the 1980s up through its present-day, devastating civil war.
We visited a number of sites, including the best known crossing point of the Berlin wall and the site of former Nazi central institutions. Learning about Syria at these sites grounded the point: no society is immune to political violence, turbulence, and fear. Offering shelter, and being sheltered, is an ongoing cycle in which we swap roles depending on the current state of the world.
It was a moving experience, even for someone like myself, who already strongly believes that those of us who can should be doing far more for all refugees, from contributing financially to expanding our asylum and resettlement programs.