This spring I travelled to Austria and Hungary, spending a few days in Vienna, and then reaching Budapest by train. Budapest gave me the impression of a rather clean and sleepy city, a city of contrasts, where some buildings in the main street were in desperate need of repairs, while another building right beside it would glitter with newest uplifting. And overall, a rather friendly city to be in. But nothing spoke of the coming disaster in the form of the hoards of the refugees – both real and for-hire, who would swamp Hungary in only a month’s time…
In this light, the following article in “Argumenty i Fakty” seemed very enlightening. It is written by the travelling journalist Georgij Zotov and is the first article in a series of two, the second telling about the situation in Austria. The original can be read in the newspaper weekly “Arguments and Facts” number 39 9/23/2015. Translation of the second article, pertaining Austria, can be read here.
“We have nothing to lose!”
The refugees, who arrived to the European Union are ready to revolt
Crowds of desperate Arab refugees storm the “entrance” to the EU. However, it is not too late for Europe to join Russia to work together so as to destroy the “Islamic state.” Otherwise, the worst predictions will come true.
You know, it’s just a real apocalypse. Dirt. Everywhere heaps of rubbish. Barking of the police dogs. Thousands of people wander under the cold rain on rusty rail tracks – wet, hungry, exhausted, with children in their arms. At the police cordon volunteers gave them bananas, they sat down on the ground and ate them right there. A hastily built wall on the border did not improve the situation – the refugees climb over it, throwing clothing over the barbed wire. Old railway near the town Rёske (following it, the refugees travel to Hungary on foot) was blocked by a carriage. The Iraqis and Syrians on the Serbian side openly discuss the possibility to dig a tunnel: “Then try to make our way through the forest in Austria and Germany … It is better to sleep off during the day, and walk by night.” Police are trying to put the newcomers into buses to be sent to a filtration camp. Some accept it, others break through the cordon and walk on foot 170 kilometres (!) To Budapest: taxi drivers and drivers of private vehicles are forbidden to give them a lift. Along the road tired refugees sit in groups: to gain strength, then to get up and move on. Crawl they may have to do, but forward – to Europe.
“We will start a rebellion”
– Previously, local Gypsies took the Arabs along the secret paths, asking $500 per person – says the captain of the Hungarian police Attila Rakosi. – Now so many refugees have accumulated, that they can not be held back at a checkpoint. The border is now closed, but will it have any effect? Syrians and Iraqis have gone to a bypass – through Croatia. We do not register people, don’t even look though their passports – as the result, many of the “guests” from the Arab countries scattered across Europe. On many occasions I identify former soldiers among the refugees. When I frankly wonder against whom they fought, I get a scripted response – “for democracy and against Syrian President Assad”. But frankly, it is the “Islamic state” that is fighting against Assad… I have a strong feeling that I’m just losing my mind: perhaps we are witnessing the end of Europe.
Hastily equipped Hungarian refugee camp for refugees from the Middle East and Northern Africa is located in the open field, three kilometres from the border. There Syrians, Libyans and Iraqis lodge in army tents, handed out blankets and food. But there is nowhere to wash – chronic shortage of water. There is a constant traffic jam at the gates – 4-5 buses stay there, crowded with refugees, having just arrived from Rёske. Police does not let journalists into the camp to talk to people, so I walk up to the fence. “I am here with the children for five days!” – complains 36-year-old Mustafa from the Libyan city of Sirte. – “My house was bombed already 4 years ago during NATO air raids, I lived with relatives, but we had to run here because of the attack on Sirte from the “Islamic state.” We were promised to be taken to Germany, but persistent rumours of deportation back to Serbia are spreading. If this happens, the rebellion will rise … We have nothing more to lose!”
“Throw them into the sea?”
Officials privately admit: the situation is dreadful. Hungary is not prepared, there is the danger of epidemics: people live on the ground, in unsanitary conditions, do not wash. I’ve seen a lot of camps in Iraq, where the Kurdish survivors of ISIS live – there things are organized much better. Here it’s a mess, oceans of dirt, piles of garbage. It is clear: Europe did not fully believe in the influx of the refugees.
– There have already been cases where the elderly have died – says the Hungarian volunteer Maria Hedek. – They cross the border, lay down, and do not get up. There is a lack of medicines, there is no funding: The EU promised the Hungary money, but not really helped. Brussels do not care about our problems. This is interesting: Americans and the British fought in Iraq, Libya was bombed by the Italians and French, militants in Syria were trained all of them together, while the Hungarians must take responsibility for this. 10 thousand refugees come to Rёske every day… and what should the police do: take them back to Greece and to drop back into the sea? It is necessary to destroy the ISIS, pounce on the terrorists together – and necessarily with the help of Russia.
The main ways of refugees into Europe. Infographics
Inside the underworld
What the emotional Libyan Mustafa warned about, happens in the evening. The refugees walk out of the camp gates in Rёske and in front of the bewildered guards scatter in all directions, while about a thousand of their “colleagues” from Serbia are storming the Hungarian fence. Stones are thrown at the police, the guardians of order respond by firing tear gas, even though there are lots of children in the crowd. We hear screaming and children crying, the refugees are in full frenzy, break through the barriers and begin beating the police, those respond with batons. Spray of blood scatter around, giving the feeling that I am in one of the circles of hell. Women throw children over the barbed wire: “Let at least them get into the EU!” An hour later the refugees are finally being pushed back, and wiping broken faces, they use the foulest words about Europe. Residents of Rёske watch the battle with the outright resignation. “You see how much trash there is all around?” – sighs a local farmer. – “The town turned into a dustbin. Why not ask the refugees to clean up after themselves? But the authorities piled everything on us, the service can not cope with cleaning up of the surrounding area. Leftovers are rotting everywhere, dirty clothes lying lying around.”
…The night only confirms the thought of apocalypse. Howling of dogs is heard, refugees along the borders of the EU lit fires – and there is no end to them in sight. The US adventure with the overthrowing of the rulers of Iraq and Libya, as well as US support for the civil war in Syria and Yemen has forced Europe to spit blood, and this is just the beginning. “Islamic state” is not held back by anyone – it can easily spread to Egypt and Turkey, and Jordan… And then absolute “fun” will start. It is still not too late for Europe to reach out to Russia: so as by joining forces in Syria, together pounce on militants of ISIS. Otherwise Apocalypse will become a reality. Being in Rёske, you realize this with specially clarity.