“Where are the christian values, then??”

She visits the refugee camp in Moria and finds clear words for Corona deniers: TV presenter Dunja Hayali seeks dialogue and looks at society in the pandemic year 2020 in the Himmeklar podcast.

Sky Clear: At the beginning of the Corona crisis, you talked to someone for half an hour every night, publicly on Instagram, "Reading with chatter – on 'half an hour with …". What did you take away from these conversations??

Dunja Hayali (TV host): That you can give a lot to people with relatively little, namely with time. That was basically what I could also provide. I asked myself in March: What can we do now?? How can we support each other? How can we hold ourselves, what can we give ourselves?

I did not prepare for the conversations at all. By and large, I've only ever asked friends or acquaintances I felt like or have. And it worked wonderfully, because the conversations were also special for me. Because there's a difference between sitting in a studio and sitting in a kitchen. And so quite wonderful conversations have emerged that no one knew what direction they were going in.

We talked about death, about mourning, about God, about nonsense, about joy, about dancing, about sex, about everything you can think of. That was the magic of these 100 conversations. And I also enjoyed it and had a lot of fun. And that's why I'm going through it now. To make people think and to make myself think, that is a great gift for me.

Clear as day: How do you feel about the current discussion about Christmas and contact restrictions? How do you feel?
Hayali: Like a loaded revolver that I don't know when it's going to go off. For me, at the very beginning, two stories helped me become clear for myself about how dangerous this virus is. First, especially for at-risk groups and older people, but actually for all of us. And secondly, how dangerous I can be because I could be positive and not know it. I don't want to be responsible for the sorrow, for the sadness, for the loss of someone else. Of course, I have also made mistakes in all these months. For sure once the mask was not washed or then but did not keep a distance. But I try and I still firmly believe that a large part of the people in Germany is still trying to be decent, to show solidarity. I believe that. Of course, I also wonder why the numbers are not going down right now. I believe that we all make little mistakes from time to time, even unconsciously. And that's not an accusation at all. I think it's great that the majority still takes it seriously. It is simply a pandemic. And I want to deal responsibly with my life, but also with the life of my counterpart. And that gives me great respect for the people who live in our country.

But for those who don't see it, I find it harder and harder to be patient. I understand the impatience of people who miss the life before the crisis. It's also terrible. And you have to take that seriously. But it's a fucking pandemic that we don't have a vaccine for yet. I am not an epidemiologist or virologist. Some people believe that just because they've read three texts. I can only appeal to everyone, even at Christmas: I also go to my family. We do it in a very small circle. I'm also looking forward to it and appreciate the fact that we're allowed to do that now. But we don't have to do everything that we are allowed to do. The virus does not know that it is Christmas. It's still there. Of course, these are difficult decisions for politicians. You can't please everybody. Sometimes I actually feel a little sorry for the politicians.

Clear as day: Let's take a look at the social development, at the racism problem. How do you see the development?
Hayali: I can only talk about me now and I don't want to conclude from me to others. But of course this is a problem that we have had in Germany for a very long time, and which is discussed from time to time and then relativized and talked down by others. But fortunately those times are over. We have seen that at various examples, last at Dieter Nuhr. And I think it's good that people say: This far and no further. It's over, it's 2020 and we are sick and tired of being judged in any way because of where we come from, because of what we believe, because of our sexual orientation or skin color. Why should we?? I'm glad about Black Lives Matter, about the movement, because it shows above all that racism doesn't just happen on the far right. Each of us must question himself. Me too, by the way. I believe that every one of us has a little mini-racist inside of us, unconsciously and not intentionally. And to question oneself and to reflect whether one has to say "gypsy schnitzel", for example. Do you have to grab the hair of a woman with a different skin color?? Do you have to tell a boy who's black that it's obvious that he plays basketball?? These are simply cliches, they are attributions, they are stigmatizations. And these are still the most harmless examples.

I just wish we could see progress and just get closer together and realize how great it is to live in a country with diversity. Why don't we use this potential? And by that I don't mean just economically, but also socially. We are already a great country with many, many great people, who by the way all see and recognize this. We also can't pretend that our whole country is racist or half of our country is racist, that's bullshit. But to look at it again and again and to put my finger in the wound, for that I am grateful and would of course wish that racism would also become less in the future. But when I look at the "antisocial media", one could think that the loud ones are the majority in our country. But they are not.

Clear as daylight: In July, you were in Moria, the refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. What experiences have you had there??
Hayali: I know that there are no easy solutions for many things in our world. Things are interrelated. It's a bit like a domino effect. But how long do we want to rest on that and find excuses? We have to look again in our Basic Law: Human dignity is inviolable. And not only the dignity of the German. Not only those of the white. Not only those of the privileged. I would like to send all those to Moria who always say that the refugees should all go back to their country and rebuild it. They say they're not real refugees after all and they're just lining up. They ask why they have smartphones. And why they wouldn't just fly.

Yes, not every refugee has a right to asylum in Germany. But every refugee has a right to be examined by the rule of law. It is as simple as that. And that can't be the problem of refugees, that we can't get it together in Germany and in other countries to examine and question these people properly and then make decisions. This decision also includes, because it is laid down in our Basic Law – you can't just cherry-pick – deportations. This is also a sad, bitter, but a truth. And now winter is coming or it is already here. Then I have to say: Thank you that I was born in Germany and that my parents set out to study in Vienna in the fifties and somehow ended up in Germany.

It's a chain of luck or karma or fate. And I am very well aware of my responsibility that has grown out of this. I lead a very privileged life. I have also contributed a little to this myself, and my parents too. But I am lucky to have been born and grown up in Germany. Almost all doors are open to me here. I have also fought my battles. They started at home, against the patriarchy. And now we also see that we are making progress in terms of gender equality. In Germany, we always act as if we had all the wisdom in the world, even when it comes to women's rights. Of course it is different in Iraq. By the way, in the 70s and 80s it was very progressive and then the clock unfortunately ticked backwards again.

But since when is marital rape a punishable offense here?? Since when are women allowed to open a job and a bank account on their own?? Since when can women vote?? These are great achievements. We can be really rightly proud of them. But to look at other countries with a raised forefinger and moralizing speech? I don't think we'll get anywhere like this. I also wish that the Arab world would be more progressive. That's a very sweeping and undifferentiated statement. A helping hand is more important. I had to learn that too.

My father always said: You can't impose democracy on any state overnight. That was when the so-called Arab Spring started. I had hoped that this would also reach Iraq. And he said that this does not work. And he was unfortunately right. And that annoys me of course.

It is important to help shape these processes and not to exploit countries and somehow also to look at one's own life. I know that we have poverty in Germany, too, and that there are people here who are really miserable. But there are quite a few who are fine. One can also be grateful and humble and not always strive for more. I have now cleaned out my closet, once again, and always think: Who needs 40 T-shirts? No one needs 40 T-shirts, so half got away. We can do so much with a thank you, a request, with a handover. We must move simply, in order to move something.

Where have all the Christian values gone that all these defenders of the West are somehow referring to?? Where is the charity? Where then is mercy?!

Sky Clear: You stand up for your values and clearly show your stance. So far, that on the one hand they are a role model for some people, but on the other hand they are being attacked. Where do you find the strength in all this?? What gives you hope in this time?
Hayali: The family helps tremendously. Also the dog. I also had phases where I wasn't doing so well, and then you retreat to that which is always there for you. The ones who take you as you are, where you can hope for loyalty and honesty and trust and love and support. And that is family, friends. And yes, also the white, fluffy thing, which runs around here on four legs.

It's not an ideological conviction that I have, but values. It is simply not time to rest on our laurels and put our feet up. Of course, I also need that in between, because otherwise you go crazy, otherwise you also get sore. And then one becomes also perhaps sometimes unfairly in the one or other place. And of course I also make mistakes. And that is also logical. I am only human.

But this pandemic has also woken me up a little bit again. I also have people writing to me from nursing homes, from hospitals, from arts and culture, from really all kinds of places. Maybe I can give support because I'm being held myself. I don't know either. But I also have my tired moments and my idle moments in my head, where I also think: Where is all this going to go and for how much longer? And why are people so? And why can't we be a little more with each other? I once said at the beginning of the pandemic: prevention is not hysteria and ignorance is not courage. Why can't we just run around with this rag in front of our mouths?? I have some claustrophobia. And I really can't breathe well through that. But if it gives me even the slightest chance of protecting someone, I'm kind of wearing this stupid thing on my face now. By the way, it is quite practical in winter, it warms as well.

The interview was conducted by Katharina Geiger.

The interview is part of the Podcasts Sky Clear – an interdiocesan podcast project coordinated by MD GmbH in cooperation with katholisch.en and our site. Supported by the Catholic Media House in Bonn and APG mbH. Moderated by Renardo Schlegelmilch and Katharina Geiger.

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