Syrian refugees in Hungary

I’m reposting an  article from the New York Times, because I am truly ashamed with my country of birth’s behavior.

The American mass media and social media seems to largely ignore the issue, aside from a few paragraphs here and there on Reddit. This is just not a top concern in the States right now, but in European media is is THE TOPIC. I’ve been seeing discussions on Facebook between my Hungarian friends. I’ve been reading the news on Hungarian portals for quite a few weeks now, too, sometimes with some addition from the Guardian or the German media. The stories from refugees, the pictures are overwhelming, I would silently cry reading them, tears running down my cheeks. My mom was crying too, when I spoke with her over the phone. ‘I went for coffee in the morning, when I saw them, marching down the highway,’ she says, her voice would then break and she would stay silent, trying to regain control over her feelings.

I feel pride and shame. These people have been walking through a half a continent for a better life. Nothing could stop them, their behavior sets an example for all of us. We pity them, but in fact they are better than us. I feel immense pride just thinking about their bravery.

And I feel shame for Hungary for what I have been reading in the media.

The below are excerpts from NY Times’ memoirs from a reporter who has been following the Syrians. The quotes are found under the September 5th entry, titled Why Migrants don’t want to stay in Hungary?

When asked, the migrants now stuck at a train station in Budapest say that they put Hungary in much the same category as Macedonia and Serbia, the Balkan countries they passed through on their journey. They see Hungary as having a thin veneer of prosperity, but being fundamentally relatively poor and still developing. And Greece, though developed, is in economic crisis.

Like many Syrians, they maintained a sense of decorum by removing their shoes before sitting on their blanket. […] They said they resented being called eyesores and being blamed for trash. This was not their true nature, they said.

“We’ve been through all these countries, this one is definitely the worst,” Mr. Darwish said, sounding like a lawyer. “It is supposed to be an E.U. country, but it has broken every single tenet they had. Greece is such a poor country, and it treated us better.”

And meanwhile, on the border between Hungary and Serbia, from the entry titled Hungarian Police Spray Family Trying to Cross Border:

Once again, the group walked into the ditch before the barbed wire. A woman in a straw-colored bonnet and carrying an 18-month-old infant led the way.
She was only a few inches from one of the police officers when he sprayed something at the group. A fine mist glittered in the light above the woman’s head. For a moment only the child’s cry could be heard before the scene devolved into chaos. Those in the ditch scrabbled back up to the Serbian side, screaming in apparent pain as they coughed and gagged.
The Hungarian officers remained quiet. A few minutes later, they climbed into the car and drove off.


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