People of Törökbálint, Budaörs, Bicske and other towns along the M1 motorway, the volunteers at the railway stations, those getting into their cars to help the marching refugees; the Swedish girls, who came to Hungary to party but instead raised 3 million HUF for the refugees and despite police prohibited them to, handed it out to them; the French boys arriving to Budapest on holiday, but stood in as volunteers; the Abbey of Pannonhalma, the Benedictine order whose members are welcoming the wayfarers with food, drink, bed and a place to clean; mothers taking baby-carriers and prams to the motorway, children giving their soft toys to the refugees; and the huge amount of donors who waited their fellow humans with money, clothes and food.
The line is endless, with thousand of stories, which makes us proud to be Hungarian today.
The hatred that lives in another group of Hungarian people, who wish death on others only because they were born someplace else, billowed on many of our consciences, including me. After Friday’s huge wave of solidarity this was somehow broken.
I do not know the reasons why everything that has been happening in the past months culminated on Friday-Saturday in Hungary. Surely there are explanations, such as political indecisiveness, solidarity, decency. However, the amount of humanity shown in the face of the inhumanity of power could be anticipated by very few of us in the past years. It is not a coincidence that in the past few days we could hear a lot of refugees saying how wonderful the Hungarian people are, despite the Hungarian Government being evil.
It was broadcasted and mentioned everywhere, from CNN to Al Jazeera, from the smallest Japanese television to newspapers in Iran what an immense amount of help was given by the Hungarian people.
Then on Friday, partially due to this solidarity, too, a handful of Syrian and Afghani people, who set off from Bicske railway station and on the M1 motorway, in their final desperation and after all the treachery and political incompetency of the past week, demonstrated their existence, and managed to get the border open for them and their fellow refugees.
At midnight on Friday we were still worrying about far-right “ultras” seeping in at Keleti railway station in Budapest, turning up in ever increasing numbers around the station’s transit zone, then a few minutes later we could witness something very rare. A tiny dot in the world’s history. The opening of the border of the EU.
Thinking back on Friday like this, after twice two hours of sleep, gives me enormous power. The hatred that lives in another group of Hungarian people, who wish death on others only because they were born someplace else, billowed on many of our consciences, including me. After Friday’s huge wave of solidarity this was somehow broken.
I don’t much believe in the types of phrases such as “the flood of love shall break hatred” but now something like this has actually happened. These sentences don’t bother or frustrate me, and the government’s cruelty seems equally distant now. I still have this euphoric feeling, and the real, valid knowledge: it is worth helping these people and we really do save lives when we give water to those thirsty, and when we give food to those hungry.
These are of course only the events of the present, giving no explanation to what is yet to come in Europe, or what politics must do. I am still however sure that Orban and his team misjudged the situation and by opening the borders gave a direction to European politics that will not reinforce their own “death-dealing” rhetoric. They set solidarity and love free, and this will be difficult to undo. And not only in politics. Those who were part of the days passed feel, that some sort of a community was born, a real national cooperation, even if we not yet understand-, or have a use for it.
We don’t know what the following days and weeks will bring, we are yet unaware of any horrible or wondrous moments to come. There are surely better and also worse situations to become all of us.
Nevertheless, about one thing we can be certain. What could be done as Hungarian Citizens did dutifully, and we are standing prepared to continue!
András Jámbor, Budapest, Hungary
Kettős Mérce, kettosmerce.blog.hu
Translated by Eva Cartwright