Following of Céline Barré’s chronicle on the road of the exiles in the Balkans.
Border between Serbia and Hungary – September 16
« We don’t want you here, understand ? »
This is what we hear arriving in Subotica, a town at the Serbian-Hungarian border. We go out at the bus station to take a match for Horgos, last town before Hungary. An agent informs us that we can take the 3 pm bus but that refugees must wait for the 6 pm bus. What for ? Because the 3 pm bus is reserved for our children and for Europeans. The refugees must wait. We go then to the desk to buy a ticket. The saleswoman tells us that the 3 pm bus is full, we have to wait that of 6 pm, we risk to say that we are not refugees: she apologizes, we can take the 3 pm bus. We will take the 6 pm, like everyone else. That of 3 pm left almost empty, only filled with Serbians and Europeans. The 6 pm bus takes more than 100 people including children and old people sitting on the ground.
We call a hotel for tonight: 1st question: “Are you Syrians? Refugees? “. “No, europeans. Why? “” Because Europeans, Yes. Refugees, no”. Should we impose yellow stars to better identify these refugees? This makes echo the history classes in high school, those that explained to us how we were able to reject categories of persons. Racism, xenophobia, segregation. These words are frightening, they are taboo but I have this agonizing feeling that they are valid. More in Europe we go up, the more pressure is felt.
“We do not want you here“; this sentence was pronounced by the officer from the station, towards someone asking where he could buy his bus ticket. Embarrassed, he is not angry, he’s just gone, silent. Witnessing this scene did not make me react either. No reaction. The disgust and passivity take precedence over anger.
The border between Serbia and Hungary closed yesterday evening. The last “luckies” were able to cross the border. To those with whom we were in the bus, the journey ends here, at Horgos. The bus stops us at the crossing of a railway. A sign: “Border 3 km. Border Will Be closed at midnight“. It was a warning message dated yesterday. Today is too late. Families do not know where to go. They still have to try. They will have to walk 3 km to reach the border. Closed. Barbed wire walls, security forces stationed on the other side. The course ends. A mother with her two sons asks me “Border closed? “. “Yes.” She collapses.
There are also these three little girls 3 years old triplets who play just outside the barbed wire fence, the grandmother who arrives in a wheelchair, this teenager who is missing a leg. More than a week of walking, fatigue, fear, violence, hunger to get here, to Horgos, a sort of no man’s land grid. No water, no food. They eat when the kids? They sleep where? Here, it seems to be the concern of no one. You can only have a feeling of shame towards this Europe without mercy. Some say they must go to Croatia which is several hundred kilometers far but the Serbians control, arrest and expel to Macedonia. Hungary has strengthened its police force, installed the army. Serbian newspapers speak of “100,000 clandestines stranded in the country including terrorists.” The anti-migrant propaganda is here and Europe offers it a beautiful field of emancipation.
Night falls and the triplets will sleep outside, and that in the largest European indifference. Serbian Minister urged the Hungarian government to reverse its decision of stopping the entrances and demand to let go “at least women and children.” Ah, finally some humanity! Fathers? Let them defend their country instead of wanting to protect their kids!
It reigns here a war atmosphere without understanding who the enemy is.