“Go home, Go home, Go home” was all I heard as I was sitting on the bus. I looked around and couldn’t imagine what I saw.
I had taken the subway to Keleti train station for the distribution of food. But missed my stop because the subway was forbidden to stop at the train station. I got off at the next stop at the soccer stadium where a football match was being played in a few hours between Hungary and Romania. I eventually found a bus that could take me back to Keleti train station. I got on the bus and sat next to an older woman who was wearing a head scarf. The woman in front of us was sitting with her little boy and they were chatting away in Hungarian. Then all of a sudden I heard English, which is rare on the bus, so I picked it up right away. The woman in front of me was teaching her little boy to say “go home” in English. After a few chants of that, she continued on with some choice words about Muslims. She wasn’t saying this under her breath but she wasn’t saying it all that loud either. I heard her and others must have as well.
Is this what some people are thinking about the refugees in Hungary?
It is a very difficult situation for all involved. The arrival of thousands of refugees into Hungary does not make it easy for the government or authorities here. I do not claim to know much about politics, I know very little. Here are some things I know: Recently Hungary attempted to keep refugees out of the country by building a fence along the border with Serbia. Clearly this has done little to stop refugees from finding ways into Hungary. Hungary has not committed for all refugees to stay in Hungary, far from it. This is only one of the first stopping points in the EU. Then the refugees register before they must try to move onto the other countries, such as Germany who are willing to take in and help them. However, the main train station was closed off to refugees earlier this week so they were not able to access any trains to other EU countries.
There are two sides to every situation. Fortunately, I have seen more of the other side. The side where average people are working together to help. Volunteers living in Hungary are working to provide basic essential items: Refugee Support in Budapest. People from around the world are donating money. Hungarians and others are forming organizations and taking donations to give to those who need it. A large group of refugees is arriving in Austria after walking along motorways in a desperate act to go. People are helping them along the way with food, water, and garbage clean-up.
There will be many more people travelling to Hungary and Budapest to seek refuge in the next few weeks. I am sure many refugees would go home or stay home, if they could. But they can’t, so they need our help. And we are here to help, to offer what we can and make their journey easier. I sincerely hope that everyone I meet in Budapest can share this view with me.