As the war in Syria escalates, refugees rush to neighboring Hungary to seek asylum, to the displeasure of the people and its Prime Minister. Hungary’s premier, Viktor Orban, is known for ignoring the European Union so his disregard for Syrian refugees is not surprising. As a so called defender of Christian rights, Orban’s callous disregard for the largely Muslim Syrians has left most abandoned.
This rotten apple has spoiled the barrel so to speak with Hungarians largely unsympathetic to the refugees’ plight. Fleeing Syrians are faced with tear gas and water cannons as they try to seek asylum in the unfriendly country. Even the media has given them little peace.
However when a Hungarian journalist tripped a Syrian father while he was running form the border police, it sparked a debate that was shared across the globe. Yes, that’s right. She sees refugees running for their lives and thinks tripping them is a good idea. The journalist is a member of Hungary’s far right movement, Jobbik and was later recorded kicking and tripping children as well. The movement is open about its intense hatred of immigrants so this behavior is not surprising.
This is inhumane to say the least. However, it also points to major issues in Hungary’s government and why refugees are being treated badly in Europe. The country’s extremist right movement also wants to strip the voting rights of all refugees who are offered asylum. With more than 20% of the national vote, this rule might become a reality if appropriate measures are not taken.
Anti-refugee sentiments are not new in Europe, but Hungary has taken it to a scary level. With plans to make the country an ‘illiberal’ state, the premier has made several attempts in the past to stamp down the media and admires Vladimir Putin as a role model. Authority is admirable, but with desperate refugees at the door, an unbending leader deserves little sympathy.
That is not to say the rest of the world is blind to the discrimination and blatant disrespect Syrian refuges are subjected to in Hungary. Global outrage was palpable when the world witnessed this mistreatment on the border and notable celebrities such as soccer legend, Cristiano Ronaldo also took note.
The soccer star invited the entire refugee family to a match and asked the son of the refugee to accompany him out to the field. Both were met with thunderous applause and a very proud Syrian family among the spectators. This small gesture has done wonders for the family and given hope to the fleeing refugees that their plight is not being ignored by the world.
The rest of the family were also guests of honor in the crowd. This was a far cry from the rude reception they received at the Hungarian border and a positive sign that even though the country’s government had no love for the refugees, the world at least has not forsaken them and hears their cries for help clearly.