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'Oh blimey!’ How a Syrian refugee fell for a dodgy 70s sitcom

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We are never far from a distressing story about migration. Nor, slightly less importantly, are we ever far from some noisy controversy over the showing, or not showing, of some old sitcom, now felt to be inappropriate or even offensive. I only pair these stories here because they both take me back to an encounter I had with a Syrian refugee in a park in Belgrade five years ago; it’s a memory that always puts a smile on my face.

I was working for BBC radio covering that great tide of humanity moving from Syria, and elsewhere, to western Europe. On this warm September morning the park, which is next to the bus station, was packed with people. Most were on their way to Germany. Some were the kind of people you wouldn’t mess with; when you looked at them, they shot looks back telling you to look elsewhere. Fair enough.

Other family groups could have been passing the time in a park in Chorley, Chiswick or Chislehurst. Sandwiches and crisps were being shared; flasks were passed around; nits were combed out of children’s hair. Out of one of these groups a........

© The Guardian

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