The latest (informal) update about the refugee crisis in and around Hungary:
As of Monday, Hungary closed its borders to refugees. When I heard this, my heart sank. What a way to make a dire situation even worse for so many people. If refugees try to enter Hungary legally, they may or may not be allowed in. If refugees try to enter Hungary illegally, they will be arrested and convicted. Because Hungary has declared Serbia a ‘safe country’, Hungary does not need to allow refugees who come from there into the country. They can send them back to Serbia, even though it is not an EU country. Countries declaring other countries ‘safe’ is done on an individual basis so this is convenient for Hungary.
Almost immediately after Hungary closed its borders, refugees were stopped and camped at the border in Serbia. Many people were still coming to go through Hungary to get to Western Europe. From what I understand, Serbia has much less structure set up to help shelter and feed the refugees. There were people in fields with very little to help them. Now they must take a much longer route to get around to Western Europe – back through Serbia, on to Croatia and Slovenia, and then into Austria. But most countries are closing their borders, so there would be no guarantee that would even work.
By yesterday, the refugees waiting at the Serbia-Hungary border had resorted to violence. And in their situation…why not? I am not a supporter of violence, but I do understand where it is coming from in this situation. See this video from the border! The police are responding with tear gas and water cannons.
And now as children, parents, adults, and babies continue their desperate journey for peace and safety, they are faced with another obstacle. Many will travel long distances by foot and besides injury, illness, lack of food and shelter, human traffickers, they must also be careful of landmines. Landmines are located along the Serbia-Croatia border.
As they journey, Hungary’s prime minister is planning to continue building his fence along Hungary’s border around to Croatia and Romania. He suggests that if Muslims move into Christian communities in Hungary and Europe, then Christians would ‘lose’. Wow! Apparently it is a competition and there are winners and losers in living together in a peaceful community! (Daily News Hungary – Orban)
As part of the new laws regarding refugees entering Hungary and obtaining asylum, there are also laws about citizens and residents helping refugees. Now, from what I have heard if I go to the train station to hand out food or donate items, I could also be in trouble and even possibly arrested. I hope that the aid organizations that are set up are still able to help but since most of the refugees are across borders now, getting the food and items to them has new and very difficult challenges.
How do you continue on? How do you face yet another insurmountable challenge in your journey for safety? What would do you do? These refugees are human beings and they are you and me. As you go to your job each day, they did that at one time also. They taught in schools and worked in businesses. Now they are fighting for their lives and for peace and safety.