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A salute to Germany

Muna Al-Fuzai

Muna Al-Fuzai

Susan Shibley. For those of you who have never heard this name before, I want to tell the world why she is in my column today plus why I'm impressed with the recent German decision. German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier made an announcement on Jan 24 that Susan Shibley, a woman of Arab origin, will be a deputy speaker on behalf of the German Foreign Ministry, the first Muslim woman to hold this position.

Shibley is 35 and comes from a Palestinian family. She was born in Germany and grew up in hard circumstances, yet made it to success. Until the age of 12, she had to live without any legal documents. But she was determined to do something for herself and continued her higher education, going to college for a degree in political science.

I'm proud of this lady because it must be very hard to spend a childhood without being made a citizen although she was born in Germany. Yet she made a choice for herself to be part of this society and make her name in a senior political position. She also had the courage to let the world know her story and did not hide or deny her tough childhood, like many politicians or senior officials. That shows what a sincere and honest person she is and that is why I salute the German foreign minister for his decision to name such people in his staff.

I'm sure that such a decision was not made to please Arabs or women - I believe this position was only given to Shibley due to her significant experience and was based on her abilities to bring success. I salute the German foreign minister because he made a decision that was free of any prejudice or racism or discrimination without any regard to the typical obstacles of race or origin or belief. It is very rare to see Muslim women taking a senior position in international organizations or governments.

I think when someone like Shibley comes to the front, it makes many women like me proud of her and wish to see more people like Susan receive equality and justice and be judged by her abilities and not by what she believes or thinks or wears or social ties. I love to see more enlightened people like the German foreign minister in our life today. We surely need a lot of such minds to make our life a better place.

I can imagine how hard it is for any person to live without legal documents, especially if he/she was born there. Here in Kuwait, we have many people called bedoons - they also suffer from not being officially recognized as citizens and it is hard for them to live a normal life. Some of them make it to college, but I have not seen any of them holding senior official positions because they are not citizens.

Thank you Germany for this decision. I now understand how Germany has become a role model in our world today.

 

 

 

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This article was published on 25/01/2014