One of these days, I was in a train station in Budapest when a Syrian man talked to me. His nationality is the only thing I could get because he didn’t speak English. He asked me about one word in his language and I tried to guess with gestures what he meant. It was very frustrating because I couldn’t after a while. There was guard of the station walking around and I asked him for help. Damn, he didn’t speak English either. But in his way to talk, I believed understanding the problem of this Syrian was a typical one and many of them had had the same request for the last time. I said sorry for not to be able to help and I left hoping the guard help the Syrian, but after 2 minutes, I saw the guard in other far place. So I don’t think so.
Maybe this short experience can be used, as it was for me, for wondering about the destiny and the way to survive of thousands of refugees in that long walk from the war. At least, I want to think the fact that they introduce themselves as Syrians means people aren’t usually so bad with them.
These refugees have few borders to cross and not all of them have decided where they want to stop walking. Arriving to Europe is a big goal, but it’s just the first one and a lot of them hadn’t any idea about which would be the best country for living. These people usually make the choice depending on the news that they get on the way.
In general, the refugees don’t have too many problems to cross the different borders till they get Hungary. Its First Minister, Viktor Orban, had less and less popularity due to his general politics, but now his situation is a bit better thanks to this issue. So, Orban isn’t finding an important opposition among Hungarian people about closing the borders. Actually, the gates are always open for the rest of the people, but you need a lot of patience, very specially if you drive a truck.
New Routes, Old Problems
These difficulties have created new migrant ways, and a lot of refugees have chosen keep walking through Croatia. But it wasn’t prepared logistically for that challenge and they had to close temporarily as well, a fact that heightened the always latent tension between Serbia and Croatia. This example, or how the European Union countries bargain with the number of refugees they have to take in, are used for realize about all those old problems that Europe carries and none want to sort out in the end.
Beyond Hungary, Germany is the most welcoming country and chosen by the most of refugees, although they are going to Sweden as another friendly option. On the other hand, other countries are not so receptive and their governments don’t want to accept refugees. Their fears are the bad economical consequences and the Islamic fundamentalism. Actually, the whole Europe is afraid of terrorists go in the continent travelling as refugees.
The global situation
The refugee crisis is a global crisis gripping the entire world and the severest one the world has witnessed since World War 2. Currently, they are about 19 MILLION refugees from different countries escaping poverty and persecutionin search of safety and security. The largest number to gain the greatest coverage is that of the Syrians, alarmingly over 4 million arriving at Europe’s deadly borders to escape the war in their country.
The Syrians are victims of oppression and an ongoing conflict for four years. For four years, Bashar Al Assad has opened fire and destroyed civilian homes, reducing them to rubble displacing families and suffered unspeakable tortures. The dire situation of the Syrians has forced them to climb aboard flimsy boats through the deadly Mediterranean passage and risk getting lost at sea. An estimated 2,800 people have died trying to reach Europe, including many children. Upon arriving, their journey is far from over and suffer from unsafe travel routes and living conditions even on land for instance stuck in camps or train stations.
Adding to the trauma faced by the refugees is the stigma and scrutiny that surrounds them when they arrive. UN calls for a large humanitarian aid and for developed countries to open their borders to the refugees but it seems as though the nations have adopted a “What about them?” defense and the neighboring poorer countries have taken the most refugees. The population spike is an economic burden that can be easily distributed among developed countries without compromising their resources. Terms such as “migrants” floating around the media outlets is distancing us from the victims and the crisis.Refugees, as defined under the 1951 Refugee Convention, are entitled to basic rights under international law, including the right not to be immediately deported and sent back into harm’s way.Saving refugees is an obligation and should not be treated as “illegals”.
What can we do? If you are in a country, that is accepting refugees, support them and get involved in the major organizations catering to those suffering.We need to understand the struggle of the refugees and not give into the nationalist attitudes of the elite governments. The only real solution is to welcome the diversity that will results as new communities will form neither of which is threatening. The refugees have suffered many at the hands of failed governments and are searching for a place to call home.