They Have Names, Portraits of the New Kids in Berlin
BY DANIEL SONNENTAG
Moments of hope, provided by kids who have escaped the destruction of their homelands and found safety in Berlin. Museum catalogue for like-named exhibit at Gallery Al-Quds of The Jerusalem Fund in Washington, D.C. from April 21 to May 31, 2017. Photography by Daniel Sonnentag
In the debate about migration and flight, people usually talk about the abstract term “the refugees.” The are many understandable fears, but sadly also many prejudices about refugees. This doesn’t address the individuality of the single person, their characters or stories, strengths or weaknesses, or their dreams or nightmares.
We believe that a peaceful coexistence of people of different religions, cultures, and societies can only work if everybody communicates with one another. In order for that to be possible, people have to open up to each other, talk about themselves, but also learn to listen to and empathize with others in an attempt to better understand and comprehend different perspectives. In my personal experience, I’ve learned that even people from the farthest parts of the world are essentially the same as my closest neighbors. Everywhere in the world people love their children, their parents, their siblings. Everywhere, people want their families to feel safe and warm and fed. Everywhere you can find compassion and benevolence, as you will also be confronted with greed and violence.
People are different, but also inherently the same, regardless if they are located are in Aleppo, Bagdad, Berlin, Washington, D.C., or anywhere in between.
They Have Names is a photographic project of children who have found refuge at the Malteser emergency camp called ICC (former International Congress Center) in Berlin, Germany. Through photo and narrative introductions, we hope to help reduce the fear of the “other” and demonstrate that people coming from an Islamic culture and other parts of the world are not a threat to values of humanism and moral behavior.
At the core of who and what we are, all humans are basically the same. And together, we can work through our differences, benefitting from what the “other” brings to the table and finding a path to a peaceful and mutually beneficial life coexisting as part of one and the same human race.