- Title: Refugees bring a taste of Syria to German Christmas market
- Date: 13th December 2016
- Summary: SCHILLINGSFUERST, GERMANY (RECENT) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF CHRISTMAS MARKET IN FRONT OF SCHILLINGSFUERST CASTLE VARIOUS OF SYRIAN REFUGEE, NAWAR BALLISH, TALKING AT CHRISTMAS MARKET MARKET VISITOR TASTING STAND FOOD BALLISH FAMILY FALAFEL AT THEIR STAND CLOSE OF FALAFEL PLATE REFUGEES STANDING AT TABLE CHRISTMAS MARKET STANDS WOMAN ADDING DECORATION POSTER FOR EXHIBITION: SYRIA WITHOUT COLOURS ENTRANCE TO EXHIBITION VARIOUS OF VISITORS AT EXHIBITION VARIOUS OF EXHIBITION PAINTING CLOSE OF VISITOR LOOKING VARIOUS OF ARTWORK ARTISTS AND FATHER AND DAUGHTER, MONEER AND NAWAR BALLISH STANDING WITH VISITOR NAWAR BALLISH LAUGHING / TALKING TO VISITOR CLOSE OF ARTWORK (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN REFUGEE, MONEER BALLISH, SAYING: "I want people to be able to understand the feelings of Syrians, whether we live in or outside of Syria. I want them to understand what we are going through." VARIOUS OF ARTWORK ARTWORK: WAITING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN REFUGEE, MONEER BALLISH, SAYING: "This picture stands for the situation in Syria. The situation is waiting. Waiting for something. This husband of this woman has been arrested. The woman is waiting for the return of her husband. The mother is waiting for the return of her son. Just as the daughter is waiting for the return of her father. Everyone in Syria is waiting for something. That is why I did this painting: "Waiting." DETAIL OF ARTWORK (SOUNDBITE) (German) VISITOR, RUTH BRINKMANN-SEITZ, SAYING: "It moves me a lot, particularly the pictures that Nawar's father, Moneer paints. They are, they move me to tears. Yes, it is also a political statement that he makes you think of. And Nawar is also a fantastic artist. very very wonderful. And i am happy that this integration is happening, simply and without a big fanfare and so wonderfully." (SOUNDBITE) (German) VISITOR, BARBARA DOELLINGER, SAYING: "You can really see that these are experiences that they have gone through and it is good to be able to experience this through art." VISITORS IN FRONT OF BALLISH CHRISTMAS MARKET VARIOUS OF BALLISH FAMILY PREPARING AND SELLING FALAFEL SNACKS (SOUNDBITE) (German) SYRIAN REFUGEE AND DAUGHTER OF MONEER, MAYAR BALLISH, SAYING: "I feel good here. of course it is not the same as being home. The people are very nice and friendly, the language is always difficult and what I don't like so much is the bureaucracy, it is so (shows her hands in opposite directions) confusing." (SOUNDBITE) (German) SYRIAN REFUGEE AND DAUGHTER OF MONEER, NAWAR BALLISH, SAYING: "Everything is a little bit different, yes and I think i can communicate with German people, maybe... and I understand and I understand more and more what the Germans are thinking and how they see things, this life and how they work and how they celebrate and that is nice." NAWAR BALLISH SERVING CUSTOMER MAN EATING FALAFEL CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS ON BRANCHES PEOPLE AT CHRISTMAS MARKET
- Embargoed: 28th December 2016 14:13
- Keywords: Syria civil war Christmas markets art integration refugees
- Location: SCHILLINGSFUERST
- City: SCHILLINGSFUERST
- Country: Germany
- Reuters ID: LVA0015CPSJ15
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Alongside the traditional gluehwein and sausages on offer at a Christmas market in small-town Bavaria, visitors could also try more exotic fare: falafel and kibbeh served by a family of refugees from the Syrian war.
As hostility towards immigrants has increased since a record 890,000 arrived in Germany in 2015, the participation of the Ballish family in a distinctly German tradition was welcomed by many at the market in Schillingsfuerst as a sign of integration.
"I feel comfortable here but of course not like at home," said 20-year-old Mayar Ballish who served falafel sandwiches from a wooden hut decorated with festive fir tree garlands, red bows and white fairy lights.
"The people here are so nice and so kind, yes, the language is always difficult," she said in German.
In the baroque castle behind the market, Mayar's sister, Nawar, 21, and their father, Moneer, who have been in Schillingsfuerst for just over a year, held an exhibition of their own paintings and drawings depicting scenes of suffering in Syria.
"I'd like people to understand the feelings we Syrians have, whether we're living in Syria now or elsewhere, and what we're going through," said 53-year-old Moneer.
They plan to use the proceeds from the 15 paintings they sold to help provide treatment for Syrian children injured in the war.
Ruth Brinkmann-Seitz, a visitor to the exhibition, said the paintings had moved her to tears.
"I'm delighted that this kind of integration is happening - just like that, without any big fuss and really great," she said.
The younger Ballish children - 10-year-old Shams and 9-year-old Sama - beamed as they sung German Christmas songs while wearing red Santa hats with their schoolmates on stage at the market.
Their mother, Shahnaz, who cooked falafel and kibbeh - a Middle Eastern speciality made of ground meat, onions and bulgur wheat - said she was proud the family had shown locals refugees could be productive.
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