26 September, 2015, Saturday, 17:44
Just a quick update of the main events of main the events of the past week. In the international press Hungary has become a kind of pariah because of our harsh treatment of the refugees.
“Hungary is working against the human rights that are the foundation of the European Union.” Karl Gustav Hilding Hammar, former Archbishop of Sweden,
Pointing out that Jesus Christ himself was a refugee as a child, Hammar says “every human being is created by God with certain rights and values” and that you can “see God in every person . . . That means that if you build walls and are hostile against fellow human beings, you are also in a way acting against God in those persons.” (from the Budapest Beacon)
Polling companies also published the latest opinion surveys of political party preferences this week. Analysts agree that as a result of the "firm" treatment of refugees, the popularity of the governing FIDESZ party is on the rise again.
Refugees are now gathered at several points at the Croatian border and transported by train to the railway station of Hegyeshalom, near the Austrian border. From there they are escorted by Police and walk a few miles over to Austria.
Hungary was forced by international pressure to lift the barbed wire from the Slovenian border.
Earlier this week Rachel did a terrific job: she spent HUF 168,000 on bananas, water, cheese, breadrolls and muesli bars. She then went on to put together 500 food parcels.which we loaded onto the van on Friday afternoon. From Rach's place I drove to the Keleti storage place of Migration Aid and put in some sleeping bags, tents, raincoats and umbrellas, then picked up Anna in Érd.
It was raining cats and dogs as we hit the road in the Friday afternoon traffic. We originally wanted to go to Beremend on the Croatian-Hungarian border but Anna got tipped off by a friend, saying that the Beremend area had been sealed off by the army and was not accessible. So we decided to head for Hegyeshalom, where we arrived late in the evening. It was bucketing and the railway station was deserted, but we found a small group of resting policemen who told us that a large group of people had left the station a while before and were heading for the border. We followed their route and found a long, sad crowd walking on the bycicle path to the old border crossing station. They all had turned their heads down to protect their faces from the wind and the rain. It was pitch dark but in the light of the car's headlights we could see that many were wearing shorts. Most children were being carried and there was somebody in a wheelchair. A man was riding along the crowd on a battered bycicle and was shouting in a loudspeaker in English and Arabic: "Go,go, go! You will soon be in Austria. It is only 2 kilometres to the border! Go, go, go!
We passed the marchers and shortly arrived at the old border station where a previous group was just leaving. Rachel's sandwiches were loaded on a counter to be handed out right away, by Slovakian, Palestinian and (yes!) Filipino volunteers. The clothes and blankets were taken to the former offices of the Customs where big buckets were placed under the leaks on the roof to gather the dripping water. The group we had passed arrived in the meantime, there was big noise, people running up and down and confusion. I helped with unloading the van but Anna quickly disappeared with the children; she was busy finding dry coats and socks for the little ones as well as baby carrier and pram for the babies. Socks, both for adults and children were especially hard to come by, and everyone's feet had been soaked. There were several very small children with hypothermia, they were quickly picked up by an ambulance car from the Austrian side. Again, I am ashamed to say that Hungary was only represented by a handful of volunteers and a few Hungarian Red Cross logos on a shade and the coats. After the group passed the hotspot, Anna and I realised there was not much we could do as the next group was expected to arrive around midnight, so we soon got in the car and arrived home shortly after midnight.