Within a minute, it was clear: a minority is never insignificant
All who are in the Netherlands are treated equally in equal cases. This is how the first article in the Dutch Constitution begins. People are the basis. At the start of a lecture at HAN about working in a different culture, a teacher asked: ‘Is there anyone who doesn’t understand Dutch?’ One boy raised his hand. “Okay, welcome everbody,” continued the teacher. It was then taught entirely in English. This had already reached the goal of the lesson for me. Take one person in the room who doesn’t speak Dutch into account, wow. That is dealing respectfully with other cultures.
As a Kurd in Syria, you belong to a minority. At home, my parents consciously spoke only Arabic to us. My parents thought that behaving and speaking like the rest of the country would help us. Kurds have a special status in Syria. Some of them have received Syrian nationality because families have lived in Syria for generations. That goes for my family. Then you have Kurds who later came to Syria when there was war between the Turks and Kurds. That group has no Syrian nationality. They are not allowed to work or go to university.
I did not know that group until I started working for aid organization UNHCR during the war. I arrived in a village with unregistered Kurds with trucks full of food, tents and clothes. “We’re going back, Anwar, these people have no papers. We shouldn’t give them anything, “said a colleague. I couldn’t go back. I know what it feels like to belong to a minority group.” We help people, not papers, “I told him. I distributed everything. A minority is never insignificant. My HAN teacher made that clear within one minute.