The dynamics of mass migrations

Just as predicted, thousands of refugees still manage to cross the Serb-Hungarian border even where that useless fence is already in place. I don’t know who in his right mind thought that this pitiful-looking contraption would stop anyone who has been on the road for months from Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria with the intention of entering the European Union. After all, the refugees are facing their last hurdle, and it is unlikely that they will be frightened off by a flimsy fence and will turn back. Only people who know nothing about mass migrations could come up with such an impractical idea. Mass migrations have their own momentum that cannot be stopped by the command of a petty dictator like Viktor Orbán.

Surely, the Orbán government didn’t think that by building this fence Hungary could single-handedly defend European Christianity from the onslaught of Muslims. They couldn’t have been that naive, although this is the kind of talk one hears from high-level politicians like János Lázár. Some of his admirers compare Viktor Orbán to János Hunyadi (1406-1456), the voivode of Transylvania, who successfully defended Belgrade/Nándorfehérvár during 1443-1444 against the Turks, which saved Hungary from a Turkish invasion for about 60 years. The best Orbán could have hoped for was that the refugees would find another route and thus Hungary would not have to share the burden of a migration that affects the whole European Union. But he was mistaken.

News travels fast nowadays, and would-be refugees from as far away as Afghanistan have heard about the construction of the fence. Consequently, people are speeding up their departure in order to arrive in Hungary before the fence is finished. Mind you, they don’t yet know that the fence is so flimsy that it won’t stop anyone from crossing into Hungary.

Viktor Orbán's useless wall

Viktor Orbán’s useless fence

For the time being the escape routes haven’t changed, but this fence has already caused considerable trouble further south. There was one very serious situation at the Greek-Macedonian border where the Macedonians, frightened by the prospect of being stuck with thousands of refugees sent back by the Serbs, tried to stop the inflow of refugees from Greece. In no time, however, they realized that a mass migration of this sort cannot be stopped, and Macedonia was forced to open its borders again.

One mistaken notion about the current migration is that the real culprits behind this “hysteria” are the smugglers who lure people into packing up and leaving. The Orbán government shares this naive idea. That’s why they originally planned to place billboards in Middle Eastern countries warning people against smugglers’ promises. But this is not how a refugee’s journey begins.

Since I took part in a mass migration in November-December 1956 after the failed Hungarian uprising, I believe I have a more realistic idea of the mindset of the emigrants as well as of the dynamics of the whole undertaking.

First of all, the circumstances from which a person tries to escape must be bad enough for him to leave everything behind except for what he can fit into a rucksack. Moreover, there has to be a prevailing feeling that the situation will not improve any time soon. In fact, there is a likelihood that the already bad situation will become even worse.

At first only a few people make it across the border, but news spreads of their good fortune: one refugee family received an old Volvo in Sweden in addition to a furnished apartment, and a friend from high school is already in France and has a scholarship to study at such and such university. As a result of stories like these, more people decide to escape.

Before leaving, people try to learn as much as possible about the safest route to the border. One hears that on certain trains the security forces check passenger IDs, and therefore that route ought to be avoided. In one village a man who was paid handsomely to lead the refugees across the border abandoned his group when they were still on Hungarian soil. Today all these stories are being transmitted by cell phones, but the gathering of information was just as important then as it is now. Let’s assume that the would-be emigrant was caught by either the Russians or the Hungarian border guards. In case of capture the authorities didn’t have to take the would-be escapee prisoner. It was enough to take his ID away. The ID-less person was then truly desperate to leave, fearing retribution after the post-revolutionary chaos was over.

What normally happened in 1956 was that a family or a couple of friends decided to leave. They made the journey alone, mostly by train, to the vicinity of the Austrian border. From there they had to proceed on foot and needed help figuring out where the border was and how to get across it. This is where the “smugglers,” if you want to call them that, entered the picture. In my case, they were enterprising railway employees and farmers thoroughly familiar with the terrain. They picked up people along the way, eventually shepherding a fairly large group of Hungarians into Austria. Although a substantial amount of money was collected for their assistance, the money had to be split among a number of people. Moreover, theirs was a dangerous job that might mean long years in jail.

Smugglers will always be found as long as there is a need for them. In today’s mass exodus they are definitely needed at critical junctures. But going after the smugglers will not put an end to the ongoing mass migration because others will be ready to take their place. Only the prices will go up.

An article of mine appeared in today’s Népszabadság, which is essentially the same piece I wrote for Hungarian Spectrum on Hungary as a country of immigrants over the centuries. A commenter, who basically agreed with me, added: “I am outright ashamed, but I haven’t read even one article or report in which just one single migrant said that he came here specifically and that it is here that he would like to start a new life…. That means that for these people Hungary is not good as a destination.” Perhaps instead of building fences, Hungary should find highly qualified refugees and tried to convince them that Hungary is not such a bad place after all. Mind you, that might be a hard sell.

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piroskamarkus
Guest

well said

Member

“who in his right mind…” Well there is a problem already.
I would say, lets follow where did they ordered the fence from? Who got the contract to lay the fence?

Guest

I thought that Hungary received money from the EU in order to set up proper processing centres for the immigrants. Has this money been used instead for the fence?

And who is monitoring how this EU money is being spent, and whether or not it is the Hungarian tax payers money, or EU moneys, which was used? The new laws allow the government to keep all files secret, unavailabe for scrutiny, so most likely we will never know.

Member

Xenophobia = Ignorance. We’re all humans on a small, floating rock through an infinite galaxy, together. (Twitter)

Your car is German.
Your vodka is Russian.
Your pizza is Italian.
Your kebab is Turkish.
Your democracy is Greek.
Your coffee is Brazilian.
Your movies are American.
Your tea is Tamil.
Your shirt is Indian.
Your oil is Saudi Arabian.
Your electronics are Chinese.
Your numbers Arabic, your letters Latin.
And you complain that your neighbor is an immigrant? Pull yourself together.

Koller
Guest

Yes, Hungarians do complain. As this is most assuredly not a rational argumentation and never will be. Smart politicians and their advisers like Mr. Finkelstein know this, liberals are in a losing game. Orban stabilized his popularity (where are those days of the internet tax, Ildiko Vida and Questor?) and the left is even more irrelevant than it used to be and of course still divided. This is only the beginning for Orban and Jobbik, the migration issue will not abate and the global economy is not improving either (Hungary’s of course performing badly cm pared to CEE peers, actually lagging behind, but its only chance for growth is if there’s a robust global growth which is not happening, to the contrary).

Penny Oswalt
Guest

@Some1 The reason your list is so long in length is because we are pulled together.

Adrian
Guest

The author uses words without evidence. Maybe they do not want to settle here, maybe they do. The real problem is that there is nothing good the immigrants bring with them. Good luck in finding a “highly qualified’. You got to be kidding me. I am ashamed of this website and of its dubious wanna be leftist propaganda.

Lutra lutra
Guest

Generalising like that is as unwise as assuming that all Hungarians are racist, tax-dodging, wife-beating bigots

Live long and prosper
Guest

Haha, made me LOL

Guest

On the contrary, shame on you for your willful (or otherwise) ignorance – so typical of Fidesz followers.

In 1956, Hungarian refugees fleeing to democratic and more developed countries, also took nothing with them, and among them were uneducated, untrained people – masses of them – as well as doctors, lawyers, and so on.

Your heartless comment is the exact reason why I have become involved in politics in Hungary, after witnessing the boorish, aggressive, and downright nasty mind-set of Orbánites. I was speechless and shocked that such large cultural sectors even existed within Europe, in a so-called “democratic” country.

My mother bravely gathered us up in 1956, because she had had enough of Hungarians and their infantile greed and selfishness. Shame on Orbán, whose actions are symptomatic of a man who has actively chosen evil over good, and shame on his followers, who are too spineless or ingorant, or both, and have chosen to swallow his nonsense, hook, line amd sinker.

As Hitler so famously said after one of his ranting speeches to the masses –

“These people are so stupid, they’ll believe anything I say”.

Member

I’m ashamed we share a planet with such ignorance as yours. There most definately are good skills amongst them, war doesn’t just displace the poor and uneducated you know. To believe that the immigrants bring nothing good with them, indicates your tiny knowledge of the world around you. So it seems to be an official stance amongst people who claim to be “conservative” that anything humane and inclusive is considered “leftist”. Pathetic comment really!

spectator
Guest

“Good luck in finding a “highly qualified”

They fit into the environment then, rather well, don’t you think?

steve397
Guest

I thought to have left Hungary 69 years ago on a Russian truck, paid my money and found that I am still in Hungary, so I and the others started to walk and suddenly we were in Austria where the Austrian looked after us all until we left for West Germany.

Live long and prosper
Guest
The question that my own self examination over this issue revealed is this: who would want to live in a world where help is willfully withheld from those in great need? As I observe the phenomenon of xenophobia from the perspective of a foreigner, I am dismayed that their mindset, indicative of an impoverished culture, affords them scant possibility to understand and appreciate the good that they could do for others beset by their own desperate life situation. What sort of world do these Hungarians want? How far will they go to preserve their imagined greatness? Do they want to live in a fortress and never go out? Are they willing to proudly kill to preserve Hungary for the Hungarians? How can they resolve this error? For resolve it they must, or moral bankruptcy will follow. Because we are one species, and our fellow humans are fleeing wars and ruined countries. They need help. Come on Hungary! You were willing to follow the German lead when it led down the wrong path, don’t let your muddled instincts fail you at this historic opportunity to follow the Germans when they are on the right path! Give the refugees the help they… Read more »
Penny Oswalt
Guest

@ live Long and Prosper/I believe that the law in Hungary prohibits immigrants from working. The whole idea for the fence came about when a Hungarian citizen was killed for her food. He was in turn killed. She wanted to give him food, but it is illegal for citizens to do that. Grant it is a parliament issue that needs to be changed other than just the fence. This was according to the world wide web article about some months back. If you are being funny because it is an uncomfortable subject, I FAIL TO SEE YOUR HUMOR!!

D7 Democrat (@D7Democrat)
Guest

“Good luck in finding a “highly qualified’. You got to be kidding me”
The latest BBC report spoke to a Syrian doctor looking for a better life.

Considering the shameful shambles of the Hungarian health system and the fact so many young Hungarian doctors no longer want to work in the Orbanist paradise that would be exactly the kind of refugee any sane government should be looking for.
Key word there is “sane”.

The Orban regime would prefer to employ to use incendiary bigotry to rouse the bigotry within their ignorant support base than to plan for the medium term benefit of their nation.

Adrian
Guest

And how much money and time do you think it will take until this Syrian shaman, pardon me, doctor, will learn Hungarian to treat the Hungarians?

Kingfisher
Guest

More to the point, why can’t Hungary’s skilled medical professionals communicate in any language other than English? Oh – because the ones who can have already migrated west.

D7 Democrat (@D7Democrat)
Guest

Adrian, why do you and other Fidesz/Jobbik supporters of your ilk feel the compulsion to resort to disgusting racism to make a point? It it simply a genetic weakness or something you have picked up along the way from watching your political heroes’ rants?

Do you live in Hungary?
Are you actually aware how many Hungarian doctors are going to work in health services worthy of the name? The amount of money required to teach a Syrian doctor Hungarian is much less than will be required than to persuade Hungarian doctors to stay here. Simple economics- think about it.

D7 Democrat (@D7Democrat)
Guest

Adrian, why do you and other Fidesz/Jobbik supporters of your ilk feel the compulsion to resort to disgusting racism to make a point? It it simply a genetic weakness or something you have picked up along the way from watching your political heroes’ rants?

Do you live in Hungary?
Are you actually aware how many Hungarian doctors are going to work in health services worthy of the name? The amount of money required to teach a Syrian doctor Hungarian is much less than will be required than to persuade Hungarian doctors to stay here. Simple economics.

Guest

Adrian rubbishing the medical qualifications of a Syrian doctor would justify doing the same, abroad, to all those Hungarian doctors who have emigrated.

Surely they should also be labelled “shamans” since they don’t have their degrees from UK, or German, or Sweidsh or whtatever, medical universities.

Such rudeness and willful ignorance simply reinforces an even stronger stance against the offical government-sponsored Hungarian xenophobia.

Member

As you can see, even the top 30 rated University Political Science degree cannot teach rationality, or common sense.

Lola
Guest

Adrian, you’re so wrong!!!
I live in a place, not in Hungary of course, were there is a center of identification and a lot of these immigrants are University students, they often speak English very well, way better than most Hungarians, Italians, French, etc. I’ve not met one of them who want to stay in Southern Europe or Hungary, they want to go to Northen Europe, Germany or France, in places where they can reunite with their brothers or cousins. The sick idea that they are ignorants or even worse escaped from prisons is the demonstration than Europeans can be incredibily gullible, ignorant and heartless.
We criticize Americans for having treated Europeans escaping from WWI and II bad and then do the same with others escaping from war and persecutions, how hypocrite we can be!!

Soup
Guest
I think there’s a flaw in your argument. The problem is that the professionals from Syria etc. I would assume tend to have more connections, skills, money and – just like their Hungarian counterparts – would soon move onto the UK, Germany, Sweden etc. Why wouldn’t they? The locals are not as hateful as Hungarians and they could make 20x more money in the UK. There is no rational argument for a Syrain to stay in Hungary — which is the fundamental issue of this discourse: that there’s no immigration issue in Hungary, there’s an issue with transiting, temporary migrants. Hungary is already losing its skilled population to the richest EU members states (some 600,000 and counting — if we see Romanian figures an eventual million people abroad is not unlikely, especially as immigration tends to increase as the local diasporas gets bigger) and soon only the “dumb and incapable” will remain in Hungary and of course some people who have strong attachments to Hungary (including the oligarchs). As a result Hungary could realistically be the new home only of the least capable of the migrants (who get refused by the richer, more successful EU states) – though they may… Read more »
D7 Democrat (@D7Democrat)
Guest

I don’t disagree with almost all you say but:
“There is no rational argument for a Syrain to stay in Hungary — ”
There could be if the government made one for certain professions.
And I don’t think the typical Hungarian is inherently more racist or hateful than others in Europe it is simoly that their leadership uses the filthiest of racist bigotry as a political tool to an extent which would not be tolerated elsewhere.

Penny Oswalt
Guest

@ D7Democrat/I understand your point, I believe there are “highly qualified” immigrants that come to Hungary. We are missing out. But I have to disagree with you because at least the parliament members are communicating. I prefer to have them be offensive, then not communicating at all.

D7 Democrat (@D7Democrat)
Guest
Guest
Adrian seems to be one of those 40% Xenophobes in Hungary … Let me give you a few examples from Germany: Garbage collection was at a time mainly done by Turkish workers who came as total “ignorants” from poor Anatolia – the clever ones later opened shops, made kebap etc … The building industry from the 60s onward relied on Italian, Spanish and Portuguese workers – a friend of mine has a business there and his father already built houses for his workers to keep them from returning home, so they could bring their families … We often meet them (most are retired now of course) in our local bar and talk about the old times when they came – knowing nothing at all about Germany. Especially the harsh winters were a shock for them. In the neighbouring village the very popular family doctor just retired – he’s from Lebanon … In another village there’s a big agricultural operation that needs a lot of workers in summer for harvesting – they have mainly Polish workers and now also had houses built for their regular workers to keep them here – a certain number of workers are needed all year and… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Readers out to try on, from time to time, a hypothesis. Here’s mine: Orban’s plan is to ’empty’ the country–to get rid of atleast 3,000,000
of the population. Of these, he’d like to rid the country of the old–70 and over–and the infirm; and the intellectuals who question. Hence the down-grading of fields of studty like Philosophy and the Arts at the universities.

Why?
a) He knows that the country’s pension won’t survive many more years;
b) Reducing the present population will lead to available jobs and apartments for the young;
c) He wants unquestioning followers–one might suppose, a Hitlerite crowd.

So there can be nothing worse for the Orban than to find partial success by getting many Hungarians to leave….only to find that many trades, like those in the building profession, are begging for workers and will have jobs for those immigrants with some skills.

Now there’s an ironic blow!
No wonder the Viktor is apoplektic with the “new Hungarians”.

petofi
Guest

Correction: “apoplectic”

Mirza
Guest

Thanks for the article, Eva.

It is not true that no one stayed here. I am one of the refugees who stayed, and to be honest Hungary was my destination. There are others like me who stayed too, but it is true that we survived without the help of the government and with a great deal of difficulty.

Even in 2011-2012, Orban’s Interior ministry/Immigration office was very busy keeping Hungary a transit country. They did every trick in the book to persuade people to leave. At some point even the social workers were telling people to leave the camps and go to Western Europe, otherwise homelessness awaits them. Back then, Hungary had only 1000 asylum seekers per year, of which around 70 would get refugee status. Instead of an integration plan for those 70, the EU money was spent on detention centers (prisons), bigger camps, and whatever would “scare” refugees not to come to Hungary.

So, the idiotic scheme of “stop and scare” is nothing new.

Adrian
Guest
One thing is sure, I am glad I have caused a debate here around a such complex problem as that of migration. Even if I was initially disappointed by this article, now I am less angry and re-considered my opinion. I know that the website benefits from my comment, and it is always nice to find people who express their more or less argued opinion in English about a topic that affects us all. To those who did ad hominem, I am indebted with some explanations. I am living here, I am not a supporter of Fidesz and I hope wholeheartedly that I am not an ethnocentrist (racist would mean that Syrians are part of another race other than mine, this is for the gentleman who made me wrongly so, and this is surely not the case, but that tells a lot about your prejudices and not mine, which unfortunately I also have, but other than you pointed out). And now to my point, there are people in Budapest and Gyor that are afraid of the immigrants, and this you cannot change with any kind of propaganda. It is a basic human being reaction, even considering hypothetically that the immigrants… Read more »
Guest

Too late for you, Adrian!
When you wrote “this Syrian shaman, pardon me, doctor” you showed exactly those symptoms that many (most?) Hungarians show – the official number for xenophobia in Hungary is around 45%.
Btw have you heard of the Piréz?
You should read the comments here:
http://www.politics.hu/20150824/politico-the-hungary-games-how-budapest-evades-its-migrants-obligations/

D7 Democrat (@D7Democrat)
Guest

“And now to my point, there are people in Budapest and Gyor that are afraid of the immigrants, and this you cannot change with any kind of propaganda”

And you and Fidesz/Jobbik would deal with that fear with this kind of sweeping statement?

“The real problem is that there is nothing good the immigrants bring with them. Good luck in finding a “highly qualified’”

On what basis do you make that statement?
Exhaustive research?
The colour of their skin? Their religion?

Penny Oswalt
Guest

@Adrian/Thank you for being a Hungarian Citizen, these are turbulent times. I live in Ohio USA and the “great debate on immigration”? is a hot topic as well.Our Mr. Trump wants to build a fence along Mexico/ What he fails to see is that “plane loads of humans via the trafficking cartel” arrive at airports customs from all countries, and are considered illegal to live here.I guess Mr Trump will have to build a fence to keep illegals out of the airports/ A good majority are children, babies unadorned by adults, unfortunately they are here illegally too and they have no rights. Child hunger is up. But we have non-profit charities that do there best to provide for such orphans from other countries. Who will stick up for these children? I am sure Europe sends their fair share of children. I understand what you are saying, I would be concerned as well. Change is never easy and new things are almost non-trusting.

Member

Now that you are done patting yourself on the back for creating what you call “debate” on this site, as though your presence has made it a better blog, I would like you to take a look at the archives as there are many many more without you with just as many comments.

Guest
After reading the piece I flushed out the 1957 issue of National Geographic magazine which I had. A story included was ‘Freedom Flight From Hungary’ highlighting the experiences of those who left the country in the wake of the revolt. It’s intriguing to note that upon entering Austria they were asked the question ‘Where do you want to go?’ This in contrast to today’s apparent unstructured approach of handling migrants by simply shuffling them off to some fate somewhere else far away. Nothing like having doors shut in one’s face. And I wonder why Magyarorszag doesn’t apparently seek to have a great drive to add to the intellectual capital of the country under the circumstances. Perhaps it is because they , those inveterate ‘rolling stones’ now of Europe ‘ are of the great unwashed not meriting any look? And I’d wonder if the government believes ”qualified’ and ‘skilled’ migrants comes perhaps with the baggage of the word ‘ertelmisegi’ of Soviet times. One for its pejorative connotations on ‘intellectualism’ and I’ll add the fact that with ‘ertelmisegi’ comes idea generation that filters through the society and culture. Probably something the country of Orbanistan can’t and will never countenance. I think they… Read more »
Guest

Re: “My mother bravely gathered us up in 1956, because she had had enough of Hungarians and their infantile greed and selfishness. Shame on Orbán, whose actions are symptomatic of a man who has actively chosen evil over good, and shame on his followers, who are too spineless or ingorant, or both, and have chosen to swallow his nonsense, hook, line amd sinker”

magyar2lips…Your post made me think of all my classmates and friends who experienced the ravages of ’56 and came here to start completely over. Looking back I have much admiration for them and what they went through. They taught me much in their migration here to the U.S.

I too lament how Magyarorszag has apparently gone off the rails. Not what I expected by a long shot. The fascinating thing with Orban and the rest of his government is that they aren’t totalitarians in their repression. But they practice a more subtle and inimical kind and it is from that that he gets all that apparent ‘love’ of the people. If Magyarorszag is Rip Van Winkle now I’d shake him relentlessly to wake up.

Elektrone Motyo
Guest

I am happy that Eva writes these articles because Eva knows best. We know it.

Reading the German opinions on this mass migration, it has become clear, that predominantly Germany is causing (directly or indirectly) this hysteria. Germany’s economy needs humans to function so they employ very liberal asylum regulations that in turn drive these people there. Although not every German is happy about this, the majority supports the uptake of migrants.

Hungary’s situation is very alarming: the uncontrolled border crossings exposed the vulnerability and inadequacy of the state’s inner security system therefor there is a need for improvement in that area. I think the fence is just a beginning, probably just a test. Whatever helps to control the migration is welcome. Controlling is not equal with stopping, it must be clarified, since many 1-bit minds expect the fence to stop the migration.

The unwillingness of the migrants to register in Hungary is a huge problem. International organ smugglers are having now a reap of the century. So many unregistered young men and women. If one or two goes missing, who will look for them? No one, since they don’t even exist.

Guest

“So many unregistered young men and women.”
A new business model for Fidesz? Since Budapest is already the porn capital of the world it might be interesting to have new models, hey?
Yes, Germany needs workers, qualified and unqualified – we even take in a lot of Hungarians, didn’t you know?
Hungary of course would be happy with a declining population – at least the Fidesz oligarchs don’t mind, it seems.

Elektrone Motyo
Guest

Does your wife know that you are obsessed with porn, wolfi?

Guest

What a lame answer – I just mentioned a well known fact …
Should I have answered your silly statement with:
How much do you expect to make in the body parts business?

Penny Oswalt
Guest

@wolfi/Are you sure about Budapest the Capital? As your mention of body parts business are you talking about breast implants?If so, then YES! If No there are other places who take first place. Call it out for what it is, be more specific if you so choose. Take care.

zsebi
Guest

(one of) KGB’s (or GRU’s who knows?) Hungarian internet news sites shares a link to an article by napi gazdaság the new daily mouthpiece of Orban’s.

http://digidugi.tumblr.com/post/126984219430/orb%C3%A1n-%C3%BAj-kedvenc-lapj%C3%A1ban-m%C3%A1r-annyira-tr%C3%BA-sztorik

Guest

If you want a “real” Russian site where you see the tragicomical sides of the motherland in pictures, just look here:
http://russiansandgod.tumblr.com/

These pictures show the real Russia!

Webber
Guest

The news today: the fence has been/is being built wholly on Hungarian territory, without touching Serbian territory (it could hardly be built otherwise). Thus, migrants who walk near the fence have technically already entered the territory of Hungary. Therefore, when they reach one of the gates built into the fence, Hungarian border guards do not drive them back to Serbia but simply open the gates and escort them to camps within Hungary. After all, they were not technically caught crossing from Serbia, but were already within Hungary before they got through the fence. These people may then simply move on to Germany (they can leave the camps at will), where Syrians among them are getting a fast-track to refugee status.
Hungarian border guards now appear to be following the example set by their Serbian colleagues by simply allowing – even encouraging – refugees to move on and get to Germany.
At 41 sec. in the following video you can see migrants passing through an open gate in the fence under the direction of Hungarian border guards:

Webber
Guest

P.S. Others have already pointed this out, notably in the Serbian press — the fence, being wholly within Hungary, has effectively (though not legally) made Trianon’s borders even smaller and tighter.
The silver lining: no Serbian nationalist will ever again be able to accuse the Orban government of wishing to take Serbian territory.

rango
Guest

Webber, I’m no expert on this but Orban is a lawyer. I might want to use the time-honored method introduced by the Australians. The Australians – while maintaining the sovereignty over their entire territory and various coastal zones – simply declared that by entering certain parts (islands, waters) of Australia the migrants did not reach Australia for the purposes of domestic (immigration, constitutional) law. Thus “no” (ie. domestic) Australian laws (bill of rights etc.) apply to them. Those migrants are now in an effective legal black hole like Guantanamo (they are in Australia but not in Australia). If the US and Australia may do it, Orban thinks he can do it as well. But also the issue is that there’s no material immigration into Hungary, so he may not introduce this after all (the EU may do so however at one point).

Webber
Guest

Rules on sovereign waters differ from those on land for all sorts of reasons. The As to land laws, Orban is constrained by EU regulations – ratified by the Hungarian parliament – on treatment of migrants.

tappanch
Guest

“Germany Is Set to Accept Asylum Applications From all Syrians Who Arrive There” The European country said on August 20 that it expects to receive some 800,000 refugee arrivals this year.

https://news.vice.com/article/germany-is-set-to-accept-asylum-applications-from-all-syrians-who-arrive-there

gdfxx
Guest
There are some basic differences between the migration of Hungarians in 1956 and the mass migration that occurs these days. The Hungarian refugees to the West were the result of an uprising of the Hungarian people against a Russian imposed Communist system, imposed by Russia, that was at war (cold though, but war) with the West. Thus there was an inherent sympathy in the West for the refugees from that failed uprising. Today’s migrants are a result of a mix of economical and political (and in many cases humanitarian) circumstances. There is no (or only little) sympathy toward them. Add to this the jihadist terror acts that one keeps reading about and the lack of sympathy is combined with some fear. The number of Hungarian refugees in 1956 cannot be compared to the huge numbers of migrants of today. Countries like Canada, USA and Australia absorbed a large portion of those Hungarians. They did it easily because they were countries of immigrants. Today these countries are struggling with masses of migrants from their neighborhoods and are having serious problems handling them. The EU countries are not based on immigrants (unless we count the mass migrations of the Goths, Hungarians and… Read more »
Paul
Guest

Excellent questions. Unfortunately, I fear we all know the answers.

I am a socialist and an internationalist and believe in a world of equality of opportunity and distribution of prosperity. But I also live in a country where, if I am on the minimum wage, I am richer than 90% of the world’s population.

How do you square that circle?

gdfxx
Guest

If you ever studied math, you should know that no circle can be perfectly squared (that is why pi is an infinitely long number).

If one tries to think this to its conclusion, the only answer is that if all the poor people migrate to developed countries, the result is that all developed countries’ standard of living gets very close to those of the third world countries, or very slightly higher. This result is not a substantial improvement for anyone but a substantial deterioration to those living in developed countries. And it also may make internationalist socialists happier…

Thus the opposition of developed countries to open their borders is somewhat logical, even if it is not very humanitarian.

Paul
Guest
We’ve been in eastern Hungary for the last 5 or 6 weeks, so I thought my experiences of the “refugee crisis” may be of some use. Firstly, if you don’t use public transport, you will probably be almost unaware of the number of refugees transiting Hungary, as they use public transport almost exclusively and tend to congregate around railway stations. I’ve had many depressing conversations over the summer with Hungarians about the refugee situation, but in all cases the person telling me how bad things are (and how awful these refugees are) is relatively prosperous and travels everywhere by car. At a pinch they might use inter city trains, but you won’t see any refugees on those. So my impression is that the people who have the strongest opinions on this matter (invariably negative), probably haven’t seen any actual refugees. It would be interesting to actually confront the average Hungarian anti-immigrant with the groups of refugees we have seen on our travels, especially one group we saw (incidentally, the only group we saw being guided by Hungarian helpers), which consisted entirely of women and children. Secondly, if your image of contemporary refugees is based on the media coverage of those… Read more »
Penny Oswalt
Guest

@Paul/Hi, I like the fact that you are in the midst of the turbulence in Hungary. /If I read in one paragraph correctly,that FEAR is a big part of the citizens of Hungary, concerns?I have personally found that to conquer fear of the unknown is to confront it head on. Don’t run from fear, but run to FEAR and don’t let it go unbridled./ A lot of other countries use the English language over their native, it is sad that communicating in English at the border to Hungary is frustrated. Learning the Hungarian language is hard and frustrating, so I can relate. All of the citizens are at risk, I face it here in my state and city too. Welcome to Life!!!!

Mirza
Guest

Hi Paul,

Thank you for your valuable comments. I agree with most of the points you made. I will just elaborate on why the fence doesn’t continue along the Romanian and Croatian borders: Serbia is neither part of EU nor Schengen zone. The reason EU and Schengen are important is that according to the “Dublin” regulations Hungary can deport asylum seekers who crossed Romania, Bulgaria, or Croatia to these countries. At first glance it might seem like a clever scheme. The farce becomes clear when you understand that Orban’s government based its clever plan on trusting Romania and Bulgaria to register asylum seekers who pass their territories.

And this is why these days even the computers and fingerprint scanners of the immigration office don’t “work” properly.

Webber
Guest

Paul: There is a large refugee camp at Debrecen. Many people crossing into Hungary from Serbia are sent to that camp to be registered and to rest. After they are registered at the camp they are free to travel on. There is practically no migration via Romania yet. The route through Serbia is faster, in any case.

Paul
Guest

I know – you can’t live in Debrecen without knowing about the ‘camp’.

But refugees still wouldn’t be coming from Serbia via Nyírbátor though. And these weren’t just a single group that had got lost, there was a steady stream of refugees arriving at the station, each train to Debrecen had at least one of its four coaches full of refugees.

Judging from the direction they were approaching from (we encountered one group some distance from the station and had to direct them to it), they could have crossed the border at the Vállaj/Urziceni crossing, which is less than 15km away, so a fairly manageable walk. Which could mean that they had got as far as Nagykároly-Carei (by train?) and then decided that the easiest route onwards was to cross into Hungary as soon as possible (there is a direct train link from Carei to Debrecen, but it’s quite long and only crosses into Hungary towards the end).

I honestly don’t know, as it’s impossible to know how refugees think or what restraints and pressures they have on their decisions. But I still feel it’s very unlikely that refugees crossing into Hungary at the Serbian border would be sent to Debrecen via Nyírbátor.

Paul
Guest

Ho hum. I discovered – just after posting that (why is the edit window so short?!) – that there is another refugee camp near Nyírbátor, so that’s clearly where they were coming from. No wonder they all looked so fresh! So you can ignore most of my previous post.

Why they get sent to a camp so far away, when they actually have to pass the one at Debrecen to get there, is a puzzle, but presumably the Hungarian officials are doing their best to cope, and that’s just how it had to be done.

But I am still left with one question – where did these refugees come from? The ones we saw actually at Debrecen were African or Arab looking, which is what I was expecting, and the escorted party of women and children could have been Albanian or Arab/north African (the women were dressed in the ‘typical’ Muslim head scarves and long dresses/skirts, so it was hard to tell).

But most of the refugees we saw in and around Nyírbátor were Asian looking/sounding. Had I encountered them at home in the UK, I would have assumed they were Pakistani or Bangladeshi.

Webber
Guest
If you look closely on trains from Debrecen to Budapest, you’ll see quite a few refugees who are light skinned, and even some who have blue eyes. Many of the light-skinned women don’t wear head scarves. I assume they are from Syria, or some similarly secular state. All over Europe, they could easily fit in. Their clothing and hair styles are just a little different from the Hungarian norm – that is all. Lots of Afghan women, however, do wear head scarves – but those I’ve seen have all got exposed faces. I know someone who was approached by refugee in Debrecen. The refugee wanted to know how to get to the camp there. The fellow took the refugee to the nearest police station, and helped interpret (the police didn’t speak English – the refugee did). The police told the refugee that the camp was a long way away, said they couldn’t help him get there, told him he could walk, and pointed out that the train station was much closer. They also informed him that there are many good trains to Germany from Budapest. Another acquaintance was on a train to Vienna with people who were obviously refugees. When… Read more »
Mirza
Guest

The camp in Nyirbator is a detention center (jail); meaning the refugees do not go there themselves, but taken there with special vehicles. As you know, before the crisis Hungary was detaining people to stop migration (You can see how it worked.)

As Eva said, not many refugees come through Romania. When they cross the Serbian border, and are caught, they are given papers (in Hungarian), that reads they have a one day free ticket to Debrecen, Gyor or Bicske. Problem is that they are mischievously sent to Pecs to go to Debrecen! Or when they arrive, the camp is full and they get another free ticket to so-and-so camp.

Lumpy
Guest

Meanwhile those guilty of generating this massive international tragedy – the architects of war and ongoing economic crises in North Africa, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan sit comfortably in Washington and other Western capitals – and are unlikely ever to be held to account.

gdfxx
Guest

Could you be more explicit with this: who are these comfortably sitting architects and how exactly did they cause the war and ongoing economic crises in North Africa, Syria and Afghanistan?

ER1956
Guest

Lumpy rhymes with troll?

Should we send the bill for the refugee crisis to Tehran, Damascus, Ankara, Moscow, Islamabad, Khartoum, Monrovia, to all the tyrants of the world?

Washington is guilty because we have not deployed our military to weed out all the local oppressors.

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