German Chancellor Merkel’s leadership in the refugee crisis has made her the hero of the Arabs. It has completely changed the image they had of her, of a relentless politician with no heart, to a saviour, a hero.
Thousands of refugees have crossed the Hungary-Austria border to get to Germany this week, right after Merkel announced that they would be welcome. On foot or on buses, they carried posters of the German Chancellor proclaiming “Merkel is our mother”.
The effigy of the German leader has flooded social networks with imaginative photomontages. She has been represented with hearts, three-coloured flags and inscriptions promising her eternal love in German and Arabic. She has been put on a pedestal, proclaimed the ‘Mother Teresa of Europe’, ‘Auntie Merkel’ (a respectful reference used by Arabs for mature women).