On the frontlines of the migrant crisis in Budapest

On the frontlines of the migrant crisis in Budapest

On the frontlines of the migrant crisis in Budapest

September 10, 2015

I had no interest in writing about the migrant issue. This is a travel blog and although I have strong opinions on politics I try to keep them to myself. But sometimes subjects overlap, or issues are shoved in your face and you have to speak up. That’s happened over the last week.

We were coming back from the gym on Friday, September 4 th, when we heard chanting and what sounded like exploding firecrackers coming down the street where we are staying in downtown Budapest. Traffic stopped. The chanting and explosions got louder. An army of guys in black shirts and Hungarian flags came up on us. Police in riot gear suddenly appeared out of nowhere.  We grabbed our phone and made a video:

We assumed that they were a Nationalist party or skinheads supporting the government’s anti-migrant stand. We got home and posted the video on Youtube.

The video went viral. Within 12 hours it had more than 15,000 views. Along with the views came comments, most of them of the ‘White Power’ variety: calling for ‘Muslims out of Europe” or “Europe for Europeans”. Many expressed support for the Hungarian position but some also used it as a forum to spout hatred towards Muslims or Jews. We thought of taking the video down but decided to leave it. We wanted to see how far it would go.

Almost 24 hours after posting the video we got a clarification from a commenter. The protesters were not Nationalists or skinheads. They were soccer fans marching to support the Hungarian team’s game that night against rival Romania. What they were yelling is not anti-migrant, they’re yelling “Transylvania is Hungary’s”*.

* Hungarians have long been upset over the Trianon peace treaty (ending WWI in 1920) that handed a large part of Transylvania to Romania.

So we were totally off the mark in our description of the video right? Well, not quite. The full story (which we didn’t see from any of the major media outlets) is that the fans continued their protest to the train station where they threw smokebombs at the migrants. See here.

What’s worse? Nationalists/skinheads protesting on the streets OR football fans actually going as far as throwing smokebombs at migrants, many of who are women and children? No matter what you think of the migrants, these people have been through hell. Topping off everything that they’ve gone through with verbal and physical abuse is despicable.

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We went to the train station where we saw them: families sitting next to tents that they’ve erected within the concourse of the station, youths sitting by themselves smoking, little kids playing on the concrete. As we passed by a group of about 10 men in Afghani garb were setting up to pray. Volunteers circulated among the crowd. It was quiet, the mood was somber. I’m glad we came to see it in person because no matter what you think of what is going on (and I have my opinions as you’ll see below) you can’t help but feel empathy and sadness for these people.

Keleti train station. On the frontlines of the migrant crisis in Budapest

Above: Keleti train station in Budapest.
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What the heck is Germany doing?

But my overwhelming feeling watching the news over the last few weeks has not been pity for the migrants, it has been frustration with European leaders. Because when you look at the scope of the crisis you see it is an impending disaster, something everyone knows but is unwilling to admit to or deal with. And Western European countries, especially Germany, are being weak. One the one hand they’re asking countries to uphold the Schengen policy requiring migrants to register upon arrival in their first EU country (putting pressure on countries like Hungary, Greece and Italy), on the other hand they’re officially welcoming migrants with open arms. The message is a green light for any migrant even thinking of leaving the Middle East. And it’s not just the Middle East – in the first 7 months of 2015 60,000 migrants from Kosovo and Albania have asked for asylum in Germany (only Syria has more applicants). What’s changed in Kosovo and Albania? Nothing. But when the door is open you might as well make a run for it. Until someone takes a hard line you’ll see migrants (many of them economic migrants and not refugees) running roughshod over European Union borders. They’ll text back home urging friends and family to join them. That’s how the trickle has turned into a deluge, a deluge that won’t stop until European leaders grow some balls. Hungary is taking a lot of criticism from other leaders and the media but they’re the only ones who’ve actually tried stopping the migrants and have them registered legally according to the Schengen stipulations. Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orban on Monday: “We have to face the reality that these people do not simply want refugee status. They are really after the German way of life.” For those who have been so quick to criticize Hungary, this article is worth reading.

Last weekend (the weekend of September 12th) 12,000 migrants arrived in Munich. They were hugged and greeted like heroes. For the first time German politicians have started rumbling that the numbers are not sustainable. European countries are starting to fight among  themselves. EU interior ministers are meeting in Luxemburg. Italy is threatening to stop migrant ships from docking while also giving migrants visas to go to other parts of Europe: France and Switzerland are threatening to stop any migrants coming from Italy, while both Austria and Hungary are threatening to close their borders to migrants. Even Germany’s interior minister has suggested suspending the Schengen agreement.

The issue is a threat to all of the EU as well as to the already weak economies of Europe. In Kos (Greece), residents last week attacked migrants. The island’s tourism industry is being ruined by the inundation. Migrant shelters in Eastern Germany have been been subject to arson and Roma beggars have been attacked in Sweden.
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***

Back to the video, which has over 29,000 views as I write this.

Really, it doesn’t matter what the video is about. People just want to vent their anger. A French friend recently made a very true and chilling prediction: if the politicians don’t change the present course of action the voters will decide the future by electing extreme right parties. All over Europe you’re seeing right wing parties opposed to immigration, specifically Muslim immigration, on the rise. If Hungary has been extreme in its handling of the migrants it is partly because of the rise of Jobbik, one of Europe’s most extreme right-wing parties. In France, Marine le Pen’s radical Front National recently won 25% of a nationwide vote. You’ll see many comments in French on the video. France has the 2nd highest Muslim population in Europe and the highest percentage of Muslims in Western Europe. So is it a coincidence to see so much anti-Muslim sentiment?

The other news this weekend was that the World Food Program has had to cutback one-third of its food voucher program designated for Syrian refugees in the Middle East. So these people have one more desperate reason to leave the Middle East for Europe. You would think that the world would be pouring money into these refugee camps, making them safe and comfortable so that these people wouldn’t have to risk their lives getting to Europe. Instead, European leaders are arguing over how incoming migrants should be shared among EU countries. That’s not dealing with the underlying issues and it’s certainly not a long term strategy.

Sept 9 – Thomas Friedman of the New York Times on what is just the beginning of a larger crisis.
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***
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What we are seeing now is only the tip of the iceberg. Prepare for a long, ugly ride.
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I’d love to hear your opinion on this subject! Let me know!
(anything verging on hate speech will be deleted)


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Related: Why we’re cancelling our Travel Plans to Turkey

27 Comments

  1. And how many of these ‘refugees’ are the gulf states taking? Nil. They dont want them. Germany is stupid for taking so many. 70% of them are economic migrants and most will be on welfare for generations. The pathetic west is so scared of being called ‘racist’ they make these bad decisions to look all pc. Massive mistake.

    1. Absolutely agree. The Gulf states afraid because about 80% of their population are workers from other countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and India (in Quatar 87% of the population is made up of foreign workers!). I guess they already feel inundated in that way. So why not take Syrians for the same kind of work? Hmmm, maybe because you can’t get away with paying Syrians those kind of wages or being able to kick them out whenever the economy lags?

  2. You mention on one of your comments “when I think of the Middle East I always think of youths throwing rocks. women wailing over a dead body as they look up to Allah in the sky,and clerics threatening revenge for the latest action perpetrated in the west”
    So today I turn on the news and I see the migrants throwing rocks across the border at Hungarian forces. Just like in Beirut, Jerusalem etc. Really, who wants that shit?

  3. Something I posted on my personal FB garnered SOOOO many vitriolic comments, both from those in favor of having an unchecked green light for immigrants and those not, and I’m not sure yet whether I will write anything on my actual travel blog about it. Like you, I have very strong political leanings, but try to separate them from my travel narrative. Yet sometimes they overlap. We were in London and Germany last week and saw many of these resettled refugees, even in a very small Bavarian town. I have so much sympathy for the women and children caught up in the conflict and in danger from the war. However, I wonder why some figures quote the percentage of women and children as being only 25% to 75% of them being men! Why are all these men, so many of them young and unmarried, flooding into Europe? Is it simply because of the economic factor or is there a sinister, terrorist aspect at play, too? Just voicing this concern caused many left-leaning persons to attack me on FB for being heartless, but I don’t think it’s heartless to ask these questions. A government’s first priority is their OWN citizens – not other country’s citizens, refugees or not. At the same time, I feel that there are so many people who do need to be helped, but why aren’t other Muslim/Middle Eastern countries opening their doors? Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE – I’m looking at you! These countries are wealthy; why aren’t they helping their own?

    1. Katrina, I totally agree with you. And isn’t it funny how the left-leaning people are mostly from countries untouched by this? How many immigrants are being taken in by the US or Canada? We’ve been following the news very closely and CNN in particular has been very sympathetic to the migrant cause without asking the tough questions. How many people can Europe afford to take in without throwing the continent in recession? How can you allow them to cross borders without being processed? Who exactly are the people coming in and why now? Long term, what are the consequences of integrating migrants and are they a fit into your society? And if you are letting them in now, how many will follow? And importantly, how many of these people are or have the potential to be terrorists? That’s just off the top of my head.
      There are so many questions. And unlike the US, the economies of Europe not doing well at all. What it comes down to are the numbers: how would Americans feel if within a year 800,000 Mexicans crossed the border into the US? Because that’s what Germany alone is expecting (and Germany is not even the size of California). Then the harder question – how would Americans feel if all those people were Muslims?
      People are hypocrites and most don’t follow the news. They know sweet FA about what’s going on around the world. The Congo War resulted in the deaths of over 5 million people from 1998 to 2008. Ask your average American and they don’t know where the Congo is. But a Syrian boy washes up on Turkey’s shore and every bleeding heart liberal cries. Kids die every day and it’s a terrible thing. But you can’t shape your countries policies based on one kid dying. In Canada that one boy has had major consequences – he has an aunt in Vancouver and the family had applied to go to Canada as refugees. As usual, it took too long and instead the family decided to go to Europe on their own. With an election coming up the Harper government has had this rammed down their throats and it may actually be what brings them down. As much as I don’t like Harper that’s unfair. I agree with what you say.
      I get many comments from people who write me privately on this because they don’t want to be viewed as right-leaning rednecks. They’re concerned. As one said, European countries have been built up over hundreds of years, people have fought and died for what they believed in. Lots of ugly history in Europe. Why should we let people in, who don’t fight for their own countries, and reshape what our ancestors have built? And as some people say, people who don’t respect our cultures and who won’t integrate as a matter of principle?

      I’ve always been a liberal and have always believed that a mixing of cultures is a good thing for a society. But there are always limits, you can’t do it blindly. And that’s the issue here. I agree with you 100% Katrina.

  4. what a situation Europe and the world finds itself in now. What can be done? It’s really so overwhelming that no-one really know what to do. The only thing that can affect it positively is Syria and Afghanistan become safe places to return to. and that doesnt seem likely any time soon. In fact now Russia is going to bolster the Assad regime in Syria. sometimes a tyrannical leader is better than none at all, but at the same time a whole new can of worms could be opened. not to mention that sooner or later there will be hundreds of thousands coming (already happening) from Libya, In some ways it all feels very apocalyptic.

    1. I had the same conversation with someone else on what you just touched upon Andy: tyrannical leaders. Muslim societies have proven (so far) that they fall apart without one. The Arab Spring has ended up being a disaster. I remember the big dilemma for the US being whether to support the rebels, who incidentally, have become ISIS. Russia helping Assad? Might be the lesser of two evils. But nobody is going to put boots on the ground – no money and people are just fed up with what’s going on in the Middle East.
      They tried democracy in Egypt and voted in the Islamic Brotherhood. Great. Every time they’ve allowed people to vote in the Middle East they turned to extreme parties. Like Hammas.
      I agree that they need safe places to return to. That is the solution. But how to do that? Because if the West gets involved they’ll always be a backlash. Do you think the Arab world is going to try to fix the problem? (please suppress your laughter).

  5. I find it interesting that these people aren’t going to other Muslim countries that can help them. They’re heading to the countries that have the most generous welfare benefits, with the exception of Greece, they caught the wrong boat there! It was announced today, that our liberal president that has ruined America, is clearing the way to initially accept 10,000, and that’s just the beginning. There is no way to know exactly who these people are and if they’re extreme radicalized Muslims who want to kill all non Muslims. They’re certainly not going to admit they’ve been yelling “Death to America” in the streets of their native countries, or that they hate America and want to kill us, or they’re a member of ISIS. We have no way of knowing exactly who these people are, what their intentions are and it’s a fact that ISIS will infiltrate and enter the country with them. Our southern border is wide open, since the democrats know the illegals will vote for democrats when they’re given amnesty. This is an enormous security risk for every country taking in these migrants/refugees. Germany is having their feel good moment, but it won’t last long. The fact is, Muslims make no effort to assimilate into their adopted countries. I live in an area where there is a large population of Muslims. America gave these Muslims, mostly immigrants, entry into our country so they could live a better life. Many began receiving free housing, food stamps and other generous welfare benefits, like monthly cash, before they were even citizens. Then, on 9/11, there was an enormous, deafening, sickening display by Muslims. They celebrated on 9/11, joyfully yelling, dancing and celebrating in the streets of major intersections in my town when the twin towers were under attack. They amped up the celebration as the twin towers fell, shouting :Death to America” as they paraded through the streets, with signs, blocking traffic and causing a huge disturbance. This is how they thanked America for their second chance and a better life. Europe, beware. Merkel, well, her career is over.

    1. Wow. Whereabouts are you Deanna? Really, I can’t believe they would celebrate IN THE USA.
      I could tell you a lot of stories from Montreal as well. There’s getting to me more and more, most of the non-educated variety. You see certain neighborhoods where you see the women all covered up and the men wearing their outfits, holding hands with other men. I’m all for immigration as long as people want to integrate and be part of society. Damn, I went to high school in Ottawa where I studied with blacks, muslims, Asians. We all mixed. It’s what has always been great about Canada.
      But what I’ve seen in Quebec, from the new Muslim immigrants, is this unwillingness to integrate. That’s new. They’ve even demanded to able to have Sharia laws in their own communities – which was blocked after people got upset. Imagine, we let them in and they want to live under their own set of laws? Screw that. Turn the tables for a second. If you went to Saudi Arabia how far do you think you would get? Try getting into a hotel without a husband, driving, or walking down the street without a hair sticking out.
      It’s this that make people upset.

      1. I’m in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. They recently tried to build a mega mosque in another nearby suburb, but there was huge opposition to that and.I haven’t heard anything else about that lately.
        When they celebrated on 9/11 the non Muslims poured into the streets very angry, disgusted appalled, there were many emotions involved. Some got physical with the Muslims, trying to make them stop the celebration, and they were arrested. Unfortunately, they were told the Muslims had the right to celebrate under the constitution. They were exercising their right to free speech. How ironic. They were also screaming about racism. Yes, they played the race card, claiming they were attacked because of Islam-phobia. They were horribly ungrateful for everything this great country has done for them and unapologetic for their disgraceful actions.
        The main street is a gridlocked traffic jam while they go to to the mosque on Fridays. We have to wait for long periods of time, sometimes 20 minutes, while they let the Muslims into the mosque.Then they only let a few cars through before they stop traffic again for them. They’re showing the Muslims preferential treatment to use the road, when other large churches have to pay people, usually off duty officers, to handle their traffic issues. This is only one example of their tendency to dominate, with their needs paramount to any non Muslims.
        The men in the camps yelling Allah Akbar are not helping their cause.There is no way for any country to screen out the radicals trying to enter their country. People are afraid, and I don’t blame anyone for speaking out against letting more of them in. I’m afraid too.

        1. Thanks so much Dee. We love you on facebook but appreciate when you come to the blog – you always have a point of view and appreciate your frankness and that you share your opinion with our readers. Your comments are always honest. I also totally agree with you 🙂

          1. Yes, the Muslims here basically have their own community and don’t interact with any cultures other than their own. My children went to a racially mixed school, with many immigrants and different racial backgrounds. There were whites, some blacks, Mexican and Arabs, mostly Palestinians. Many of the children befriended other children that were 1st generation immigrants and from other races, but the Muslims basically kept to themselves.
            We have a huge Palestinian population here. The fact is, in Palestine, they’re taught from the time they’re toddlers to hate Jews and Americans. They chant death to America and death to Israel all the time in the streets of Palestine. They have television shows that show murderous Disney like characters that kill Jews and Americans. The walls of their schools have pictures of “martyrs” suicide bombers everywhere, who are held in the highest regard. They’re encouraged their whole lives to achieve the status of a martyr. I believe there are also streets named after the suicide bombers. The reality also is, they have very large families with more than 10 children, all taught to hate America and Israel. Eventually, with Americans having much smaller families, there are going to be the majority. They come here for a better life but basically hate Americans. It’s the reality of the situation we live in everyday. Sad but true. They showed their true colors when they celebrated on 9/11 and that’s a fact.that can’t be disputed.

  6. Thank you for your excellent article. I’ve been waiting for you to write about this human catastrophic and you did an excellent job!
    I support Hungary. No country should just let these people in without knowing more about each and every one They’re demanding unreasonable, unmitigated access to these countries, and it’s a known fact there are ISIS infiltrators among them. Every country has the right to protect its borders and citizens. I totally agree with you that the underlying problems need to be fixed. Worldwide, countries are broke and cannot afford to absorb these huge numbers of migrants/refugees. Greece is in dire straits and can’t even take care of its own citizens. They’re certainly not in a position to help anyone. No country has unlimited resources.
    I’ve frightened by the videos of angry young men in the refugee camps, flying foreign flags yelling Allah Akbar. People are terrified that letting them in will unleash that violent, scary behavior from the camps into the streets of their host country. Those angry violent young men need to be turned away or sent back home to fight for their countries.
    Let’s not forget all of the Christians still in Syria, hiding in terror, unable to enter Muslim run refugee camps because they will be harmed or killed. Christians, Jews and other infidels are routinely killed in their native countries.
    My heart goes out to the women and children and the innocents who are suffering and I believe we should help some of them. However, countries can’t handle this overwhelming influx of people no matter what religion they are or what country they’re from More are coming in by the hundreds of thousands, fleeing instead of staying to fight for change in their native countries. Countries like Hungary and Poland won’t let them enter and are being demonized by the liberal media. People are afraid because of the demonstrated Muslim violence by those who have been radicalized. Europe will change forever because of this crisis. There will be many politicians voted out of office , I believe Merkel will be one of them.

    1. Great point Deanna. Any non-Muslim in these countries is screwed. I’ve known a few and anyone with any money and means got their families out years ago. The others have been tormented, tortured and killed, their churches burnt. And this has been going on for a while, way before IS came along. Honestly, I am so anti-religion, I think it is the bane of humankind. But I guess if it isn’t religion it’ll be colour or social status. They’ll always be something to foster hate.

      And as someone pointed out (off the blog) the West is always demonized for attempting to restore order in a region that can’t ever get its own act together. I’m almost 50 and when I think of the Middle East I always think of youths throwing rocks. women wailing over a dead body as they look up to Allah in the sky, and clerics threatening revenge for the latest action perpetrated in the west. It sounds terrible, but really that’s what I think of. It’s all so predictable.

      Thank you for being honest with your fear – really, I think its what most of us in the west are afraid of.

      I had friends in the Caribbean who desperately wanted to live in Canada and the US. They figured that life was easy and money grows on trees. One guy made in to Montreal. I heard from him one day and we met up to play pool. He complained about the weather, how hard it was trying to find a job, and how people were unfriendly etc etc. He didn’t lift a finger to pay for anything until I told him it was his round. I guess he thought he could mooch off me. But I wasn’t on holiday and I wasn’t going to have it. I later heard he had decided to go back to Cuba. My point is that that people in the developing world all think life is easy in the West. It’s not. You don’t have to look far to see angry, disenfranchised young Muslims who – for different reasons – were never able to integrate within their new societies. Yes, it’s scary.

      I can say that I think we should feed, house, and educate people in Refugee camps. Make life good enough that they don’t want to leave and give them conditions that will foster independence. But that would cost lots of money which like you say countries don’t have. And you know IS would try to undermine that so then you’re also having dead refugees and humanitarian workers. Then you’re stuck guarding the camps and having a ground army in the region. Which nobody wants. Back where we started. So where does that leave us? Building walls to keep out the hordes? Its the cheapest solution and what most countries would opt for.

      Depressing.

  7. Thanks Frank for your impartial post, it is a pity that those things happen and at the same time in different regions of the earth, we pray and wish for a fair and good ending of all these situations.

    How safe is to be in Budapest at this moment, my wife, daughter and I will be traveling the area Vienna-Prague-Venice and will be in Budapest from October 24 to 27, of course it is a little bit early to know from more than a month in advance. Are you going to be in Budapest for those dates? It would be nice to meet you two.

    Thanks again

    Carlos Gomez

    1. Hi Carlos! Nice to hear from you. Unfortunately we’ll be leaving for Brasov, Romania the first week of October.
      That sounds like a great itinerary. We spend 3 months in Prague last year and will have spent 2 months here by the time we leave – I’d be very curious to see how you feel about either city. Towards the end of our stay I’ll be doing a Prague Vs Budapest post because everyone always compares the two.
      End October also sounds like the ideal time for your trip.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment and for offering to meet. Maybe our paths will cross again in the future 🙂
      Frank

    2. Oops sorry Carlos, I forgot to answer your most important question – perfectly safe coming here. Until that protest I had seen nothing to suggest what is going on. You’ll be fine.

      1. Thanks, Frank, anyway if situation in Budapest changes, please keep me posted and one of these days we will meet, you’ll see.

        Carlos

  8. Thx Frank – very good report and observation of things, and from the frontline seats. We exchanged ideas on this a few weeks ago before things heated up , but even as they hv, nothing has changed. But there are a few issues here which hv to be taken into account. Germany has had a serious demographic crisis for several years – in fact much of their economic success of late has as much to do with their declining population in recent years as with good economic policies (under normal circumstances their population would be dropping by approx 150.000 per annum, and getting worse with each passing year. At the same time France and the UK each hv rising populations of around 400.000 per year) . The situation is stark for Germany unless there is a heavy and consistent net migration rate into Germany. There are just not enough young people coming into the labour pool and with full employment and a lack of new candiates they hv been increasing their intake of immigrants . The Syrians offer a huge benefit – in general they are v well educated with a great many engineers, teachers, and other professionals (like so man of the Iraquis before them) and in return Germany can offer a majority of them almost immediate and good jobs. The Germans seem to hv been preparing for this for a while, or at least they hv got a jump start on things A language centres for immersion German courses, good to fine rwefugee centres and a well planned ‘refugee asylum’ structure in place to fast-track the entire process. A coincidence . Perhaps.

    But as you mention, it may well be a short lived generous and beneficial event. Noone, not even Germany can welcome and integrate what looks like becoming millions more refugees – or migrants. The word is out. Europe has flung open its borders, and its the Wild West all over again. How the hang Europe is going to separate the wheat (refugees) from the chaff (economic migrants) is another thing entirely. But long before that becomes a factor I suspect the public and popular opinion acorss Europe will turn rapidly sour. Denmark has already shutdown and suspended all train services with Germany … This is the integrated Europe they , and we all , were so to constuct?

    I hv already expressed my serious misgivings about tEurope and the direction(s) it is going in, the rise of the Far Right across the continent etc. With the ever increasing meltdown in ever more countries the present handling of the ‘crisis’ is absolutely pathetic, totally unproductive and entirely useless. Talk about the Barbarians at the gates of Rome !!! But how do you keep Johnny down on the farm unless you make farming very worthwhile – and thats something noone even wants to consider let alone talk about. As more and more nations and states “fail” – many as a result of mainly the US’s and UK’s war luster and hubris over the last 15 years, the EU seems destined to harvest the woes of those wars. And the ‘social media’ Arab Spring has turned out to be a really infernal and disasterous summer …

    I darsay that in the coming months a lot more countries – and maybe even Germany, where opposition to the influx is mounting too – will be siding with Hungary. Remember the South Africans backlash against the 3 million African migrants that fled there from Zombabwe, Zambia etc. We never ever seem to learn from History do we ?

    We look forward to your further adventures and ‘sagas’ at the centre of it all … Happy days !

    1. I knew you’d comment on this one Tony! I read some of the same on the positives of having Syrian refugees here. And I really hope all goes according to the plan, the Syrians deserve a break.

      But chances are they won’t: not everyone will be the ideal Syrian and integrating into a different culture is never easy. And just by their numbers you know that they’ll be a backlash at some point. Now, in recent days, the Germans are saying that this is all temporary for emergency measures. What happens then? How about the new ones that want to come in? And how will they send back those migrants that they reject? That will be ugly…

      “Barbarians at the Gate”. Yes. What shocks me is how this suddenly became an emergency situation when its been a slowly growing crisis. You would think that the EU would have set up facilities in advance for these people and that there would have been a concerted EU response – instead of letting Italy, Greece and Hungary basically having to fend for themselves. Also, that article I’ve included (I’m attaching it here again): ““So far this year more than 170,000 people have arrived in Hungary illegally, without any control or checking, often without ID cards or any other papers, so with no way of identifying them. Obviously that means there’s a security risk”. All this crap we’ve gone through at airports and this is allowed to happen? 170,000 – that’s as of Tuesday Sept 8.They’re saying that Hungary can expect another 40,000 migrants over the next week (here). Those are scary numbers.

      Thanks for the comment Tony, you should have become a politician!

  9. I’ve been waiting for this post from you! I actually left a comment on another blogger’s post yesterday that my dearest wish in the world was that this refugee crisis would end well. That people would have patience to ride this out. The same outpouring of goodness that regular folk were showing would last. I know it won’t. It was just a matter of time before the hatred spews out. It is obvious to anyone that this is unsustainable for any government. I think at this point, a whole lot of people are slipping through, and ultimately it’s not going to end well. Not at all. It makes me wonder how such a small population of extremists can have such a big impact on the welfare of the majority. In Nigeria, Boko Haram is still very active in the North and l am positive that they have friends in high places (government backing) and that somehow it backfired on them and are now uncontrollable. This will end the same way, extremists that have slipped in and will slip in will make life tough for everyone else. I have always said we are headed for a religious war. Now, l am even more convinced. I hear that some of the refugees are refusing food and any aid over your way, and refusing to stay in the camps while their paperwork is being processed, and just want to be sent to Germany straight on. I don’t have the answers, but what l do know is that, unless the politicians grow balls like you said.. we are in for a very long ride. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Great post. I don’t like to talk politics at all either, but this is quickly becoming an everybody problem.

    1. Thanks Kemkem for taking the time (and balls) to comment. I know some people won’t touch this one with a 10 foot pole…
      Religious war – you’re even more negative than I am! I think its a question of time before Europe turns into a fortress, with borders closed and walls coming up. Many countries in the east (Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia) are already fed up with the richer countries dictating terms to them and they’re basically already telling Germany and France to screw off. Everyone thought economics would be the thing that could endanger Schengen and the EU. Instead it might be this whole migrant crisis.
      I think we have to get help over there, to the refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Those countries have it even worse off than Europe (I read that only 10% of Syrians migrants actually coming to Europe). You have to stop them before they leave because who’s going to want to make it all the way to the Hungarian border just to turn back? But that means also solving the Middle East situation and IS, which nobody seems to really, seriously want to do. Either way, it means a lot of money and humanitarian aid which, again, nobody wants to commit to.

      Travel means more than just writing about sights. What’s happening is part of our travel experience and ignoring it would be like walking around with blinders on. I never thought when coming here that this situation would evolve the way it has but it’s become part of the experience and something I had to write about.

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