About Fikrun

    Fikrun wa Fann was a cultural magazine published by the Goethe Institute from 1963 to 2016 that supported and shaped the cultural exchange between Germany and Islamic countries. Together with the publishing of the last issue, “Flight and Displacement” (issue 105), in autumn of 2016 the maintenance and updating of this online portal was ceased.
    Photo: Kai Wiedenhöfer


    When the topic of displacement was selected, a year in advance, for the summer of 2016, it was already foreseeable that this would be the principal topic of our times. By Stefan WeidnerMore ...
    Syrian refugees outside their accommodation in a Bavarian village. Photo: Achim Wagner

    The Displaced, Displacing Gaze
    Becoming a Stranger to Oneself and Others

    It’s possible to be a foreigner even when you are not foreign – namely, when you are always seen as foreign by others. What happens, though, when suddenly a lot of other, new, genuine foreigners arrive? The person wrongly regarded by racists as foreign may himself experience a sort of racism towards foreigners. A look at the dialectic of racism in Germany, a country of immigration. By Steven UhlyMore ...
    Syrian refugees going for a walk on a village street in Bavaria. Photo: Achim Wagner

    Christmas Trees in Jeddah, Bamiya in Germany
    How Being Out of Place Can Come to Feel Like Home

    Astonishingly, a bicultural background still provokes astonishment – though not quite as much as it used to. Our author Rasha Khayat experienced this herself. Initially surprised to find herself out of place, she finally learned to love it, with the help of books and travel. By Rasha KhayatMore ...
    Street art in Berlin-Friedrichshain. Photo: Achim Wagner

    Death as a Weapon
    Migrants and Their Dreams

    The city of Tangier in northern Morocco is one big waiting room for people wanting to reach Europe from Africa. Alfred Hackensberger spoke to migrants there and asked them how they imagine life in Europe, how they pass the time in Morocco, and how they try – generally without success – to get to Europe. By Alfred Hackensberger More ...
    Makeshift notice on the grounds of the LaGeSo (Regional Office for Health and Social Affairs) in Berlin-Moabit, the first port of call for asylum seekers in Berlin. Photo: Achim Wagner

    ‘Clichés Are Not People’
    An Interview with Those Who Run a Refugee Hostel in Berlin

    Do the refugees want to go back to their homeland at some point, or stay in Germany permanently? Are there problems or prejudices from the local people regarding the emergency accommodation and the refugees? Our author Alem Grabovac visited an emergency shelter for asylum seekers in Berlin, and addresses his questions to Mathias Hamann and Dragana Duric, who run this shelter. By Alem Grabovac More ...
    Syrian refugee children in the Ibn Tulun Mosque in Cairo. Photo: Amira El Ahl

    Being Syrian in Egypt
    Do Refugees Feel at Home in Other Arab Countries?

    Many refugees, especially Syrians, are being taken in by Arab states, including Egypt. There, they often have different problems to those facing refugees in the West. The journalist Amira El Ahl has been finding out about the situation of Syrian refugees in Egypt. By Amira El Ahl More ...
    Greek refugees in Aleppo during the exchange of populations between Turkey and Greece in 1923. Unknown photographer.

    The Long March
    Europe and Global Migration

    Migration is not a new phenomenon. Indeed, it is a constitutive part of humanity and has existed for thousands of years – even in Europe. This article by the migration researcher Jochen Oltmer puts migration in its historical context and gives us a better understanding of current developments. By Jochen Oltmer More ...
    Banner made by refugees protesting against the EU border regime in Idomeni, Greece. Photo: Kai Wiedenhöfer

    The New European Refugee Rules
    Exporting Borders, Importing People

    The refugee crisis is nothing new, even if the civil war in Syria is currently driving it towards a new extreme. But people are reluctant to acknowledge the background and history of the policies being employed in the EU refugee crisis. Migration researcher and activist Bernhard Schmid provides an explanation, against the backdrop of the most recent political developments. By Bernhard SchmidMore ...
     Tents of refugees in the early morning next to the Macedonian-Greek border in Idomeni, Greece, March 2016. Photo: Kai Wiedenhöfer

    On Refugees and False Heroes
    How Poland Forgets about Its Own Displacement

    Many Eastern European countries – including Poland – are unwilling to take in refugees. Their reluctance seems surprising, given that their own historical experience is marked by shifting borders and mass displacement. The Polish writer Stanisław Strasburger gives an account of the mentality that dominates Polish society, and juxtaposes it with his own family history and with the message of Polish literature. By Stanisław Strasburger More ...
    Views of the conflict area in Eastern Ukraine. Photos: Barbara Lehmann

    We Are All Refugees
    How Germans, and Others, Deal – or Don’t – with Displacement

    The willingness of Germans to take in more refugees than other Europeans is linked in part to German history. After the war, many Germans were driven out of the regions from which they came. However, for a long time the German people were reluctant to address this aspect of their past. Our author relates her family’s tragic history, and draws instructive parallels with the present day. By Barbara Lehmann More ...
    Supply tents o in the grounds of the LaGeSo in Berlin-Moabit. Photo: Achim Wagner

    Creative Fear
    An Essay on Migrants’ Relationship with Place

    The refugee is a person who is defined by his relationship to place, but is not limited by it. Because no matter where the refugee actually is, he still carries within him a second place, an interior place: his memories, his fears, his hopes. There is a tension between these and the refugee’s old and new realities; they harbour a subversive potential that also infects the societies to which the refugee has fled. By Bakhtiyar Ali More ...
    Street art in Berlin-Mitte. Photo: Achim Wagner

    Fear of the Tyrant
    My Escape to Germany

    Syrians have been fleeing the tyranny of the Syrian regime and coming to Germany for decades, not just in the past few years. In the twentieth century they were fleeing the despot Hafez al-Assad; now they are being driven out by his son, the dictator Bashar al-Assad. By Ahmad Hissou More ...
    Signpost indicating the way to a Red Cross refugee shelter in Berlin-Karlshorst. Photo: Achim Wagner

    The Mad Journey
    The Final Gamble

    Our author, a photographer who documented the revolution and civil war in Syria, came to Germany with the great wave of refugees in 2015, via the Balkan route. In this article she explains her reasons for leaving Syria and reports on her experiences, feelings, fears and hopes. By Nour Kelze More ...
    Makeshift sign on the grounds of the LaGeSo in Berlin-Moabit. Photo: Achim Wagner

    The Onion Technique
    A Violent Encounter with Exile

    When a refugee reaches his or her destination, they are still very far from feeling they have truly arrived. Friends play a very important role as they try to acclimatise to their new life abroad. Doha Hassan, a prizewinning journalist, describes her experience of this in Berlin. By Doha HassanMore ...
    Refugees after food distribution in Berlin-Moabit. Photo: Achim Wagner

    Leaving One Life, Finding Another
    Exchanging Home for a Foreign Land

    The Syrian television journalist Roshak Ahmad had to leave Syria in order to pursue her career. She was lucky enough to obtain a visa, but in Germany she found herself facing quite different obstacles. Here, she writes about the search for meaning in a foreign land. By Roshak AhmadMore ...

    Fikrun wa Fann as an e-paper

    Fikrun wa Fann as an e-paper

    Take Fikrun wa Fann "Displacement" with you as an e-paper. In Arabic, Persian, English, German. Go to download...

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