by Kati Derler
“I'm well educated, fully integrated and my German is very good. What do people further expect of me to be satisfied?” Ahmed F.*, MD, likes living in Austria, although he has to deal with xenophobic people regularly. The immigrated thirty-two year old Turk lives in Vienna for 7 years and is the lead singer of a Turkish cover band. He left his home country to study human medicine at the university of Vienna. Since his graduation, he is working as a urologist in the General Hospital of Vienna (“AKH”). In his first year in Vienna, he learned the German language very quickly and appreciates his current and probably also future location. The beautiful city, the fine health care system and the safety on the streets are unconditionally included in the “Vienna-package” and make him feel very comfortable.
If you work hard, you really get something in return, says Ahmed. He doesn't take this for granted, because in Turkey this is still not the case. Nevertheless, finding work as a foreigner is also very difficult in Austria. “In other countries like France, students can work besides their academic studies, no matter where they come from. Austria is far away from this preferable state”, Ahmed commiserates. He fortunately has the Austrian citizenship, but knows the problems from the time when didn't.
The whole integration debate that is taking place in Austria since a few decades is generally a very difficult topic for him. He is aware of many Turks behaving in a negative way, but he still hates all the generalizations. “If you take the subway line 6 in Floridsdorf for example, you find enough Austrian people that you don't like to be with in the same wagon either.” According to Ahmed, there is no good and bad, but only well educated and poorly educated Turks, as there are in Turkey as well. Whenever he sees one of those poorly educated Turks on the streets acting silly, he understands why there are still so many people who feel hatred of foreigners. On the other hand, there is no excuse for the politics of a Heinz-Christian Strache, and that he is allowed to advertise with placards that fan the hostility even more. In comparison to this inactivity and ignorance, the Turkish ambassador had to face a lot of harsh critique and threatenings after his famous interview. “Ten percent of his statements were exaggerated and provocative, sure, but he did mention a lot of very true issues”, Ahmed says. That the ambassador was ordered directly into the foreign office, and there have never been any consequences for Strache is simply inapprehensible for Ahmed.
Austria has been an immigration country for a few decades, but still has a surprisingly bad integration politics, as Ahmed thinks. How to improve this? “There is no way. Politics don't change a whole society. Austrians are (often unpurposely) taught to be xenophobic since childhood. The way of thinking has to be adjusted step by step, and this takes a lot of time, years or maybe even decades. If this is improving, there is a least a small chance, that the situation of our future generations gets a lot better”, as Ahmed hopes.
(*On demand, the name was changed by the editors office.)