This week, a Hungarian journalist was caught on camera deliberately kicking at refugee children, and tripping a man as he ran with a child in his arms. Sight of the footage left concerned people everywhere infuriated by her cruelty. But the good news is: karma came quickly. She no longer has a job.
To put the scenes in Hungary in perspective, there are currently 4.1 million registered Syrian refugees. Lebanon is now housing well over one million of them, an enormous burden for a state with just 4.4 million citizens of its own. Jordan is also supporting over 1 million Syrian refugees, and Jordan is already struggling to cope with its 2 million Palestinian refugees.
Nearby countries have absorbed more than they can reasonably be expected to accommodate and it is now time for Europe, the U.S. and her allies among the Gulf States to help resolve a crisis they helped create. So far, results have been patchy.
While Germany, Austria and various other Western European governments have responded to the crisis with great compassion – things have been very different in the East. A number of Eastern European governments have put forth, frankly, racist and xenophobic arguments for sealing their borders against the incoming refugees. Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic will accept Christian refugees but are strongly against accepting Muslims. The Hungarian Prime Minister is steadfastly refusing to honor refugee obligations, claiming they “are threatening Europe’s Christian culture.”
As a result, Hungarian police have been holding refugees (who have traveled thousands of miles from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan) in the most dire conditions, with every likelihood they will be turned around and sent back to the same horrifying devastation they already fled. On Tuesday, hundreds of migrants decided to run, and make an attempt to cross the border and escape Hungarian police.
A Hungarian camerawoman caught in the incident began attacking refugees, in efforts to prevent them fleeing. She is seen kicking the feet out from under a child, and tripping a father running with a child in his arms. Father and child crash into the ground, and are rounded up by police.
When footage of the incident went viral, the journalist was identified and has since been fired. As CBS News reports:
The camerawoman has been identified by local media as Petra Laszlo, who works for Nemzeti Televizio N1TV in Hungary.
N1Tv released a statement on their Facebook page on Tuesday saying one of their colleagues behaved unacceptably and their relationship was terminated.
It’s certainly lucky that when tens of thousands of Hungarians were made refugees in 1956, surrounding countries showed greater compassion than Laszlo and her compatriots are today. The U.K. alone took in over 20,000 Hungarians who were fleeing the devastation of the revolution against Soviet control.
The truth is, none of us knows what tragedy might befall our nation or our state. Any of us could be refugees one day. Under International Law, and the most basic codes of human decency, we should treat others with the compassion and care that we would wish them to treat us.
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