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In Merkel's Uncomfortable Moment, A Glimpse Of Germany's Difficult Decisions


A moment now of reality colliding with politics.


At an event called Good Living in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with some schoolchildren.



SIEGEL: A Palestinian girl who's lived in Germany for four years told Merkel that she wanted to continue her education but her family fears they will be deported.


MERKEL: (Speaking German).

CORNISH: Merkel tells her, "I understand, but politics is hard sometimes. There are thousands of Palestinians in refugee camps in Lebanon. If we say you can all come here, we can't cope with that."

A few moments later, the girl began to cry.

SIEGEL: Merkel walked over to her, stroked her gently on the shoulder and said, I know it's a difficult situation.

CORNISH: The chancellor's reaction led to a Twitter hashtag that translates as Merkel stroke. A member of the opposition Green Party tweeted, the mistakes in the government's refugee policies can't be patted away.

SIEGEL: But not everyone is critical of Merkel. Some Germans have praised her reaction, as many towns and cities are now struggling to accommodate large numbers of refugees. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.
Audie Cornish
Over two decades of journalism, Audie Cornish has become a recognized and trusted voice on the airwaves as co-host of NPR's flagship news program, All Things Considered.