German Chancellor Merkel draws online mockery for stroking the back of Palestinian girl facing possible deportation after she had reduced her to tears by explaining asylum policy. Jillian Kitchener reports.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has gone viral. This hashtag -- which reads "Merkel strokes" -- drew mockery online... with images and video of the Chancellor stroking the back of a Palestinian girl facing possible deportation. It happened during a German discussion forum, after the 12-year-old told Merkel she wanted to stay in a German school. Merkel replied: (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "I understand that. Yet, sometimes politics is hard. When you stand in front of me and you are a very nice person, but you know in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon there are thousands and thousands [of people] and if we say you can all come and you can all come from Africa and you can all come. We can't manage that." As the girl started to cry, Merkel said she wanted to stroke her because she is going through difficult times.... that she did a great job presenting her case, and she is not the only one in such a situation. But thousands of Tweets accused Merkel of looking clumsy and lacking empathy. Some others said they respected her attempt to explain the situation. ... a hot topic among Germans who are struggling to cope with a flood of asylum seekers.