Large white billboards have been posted across Kabul and other big cities in Afghanistan. Written in large black text, in Dari and Pashto, the two official languages in Afghanistan, they say, “You’re leaving Afghanistan! Are you sure?”
The question, of course, is addressed to the many potential asylum-seekers in Afghanistan, who are preparing to make the treacherous journey to Europe, specifically to Germany.
The campaign, conceived by the German Embassy in Kabul, has been titled ‘Rumours About Germany’, and was launched earlier this month across cities and social media.
The idea? To discourage the many Afghans fleeing the country by sharing information and stories on not only how life-threatening the journey to Europe is, but also how difficult life in Germany can be for the Afghan asylum-seeker-a fact that most war-weary Afghans are already familiar with.
Tweets and Facebook posts such as these can be found under the hashtag #RumoursAboutGermany on social media.
As the global refugee population hits an all-time mark – 59.5 million at the end of 2014, according to a report by the UNHCR – several countries are adopting diplomatic means to dissuade asylum-seekers. Countries like Denmark, Norway and Australia have been running similar social media campaigns.
Although, not as outrightly offensive as the ads issued by Denmark in Lebanese papers earlier this year that announced a “stricter stand against refugees”, the German campaign has touched a nerve among some Afghan people.
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