Give refugees asylum in Europe

Why no help from Mid East nations?

TEMPORARY STOP: A Hungarian citizen who says he’s a regular visitor to Port Elizabeth, Róbert István Tóth, sent The Herald this picture he took of refugees sleeping at the Eastern railway station in Budapest, waiting for trains out of the city. Tóth lives in Budapest
TEMPORARY STOP: A Hungarian citizen who says he’s a regular visitor to Port Elizabeth, Róbert István Tóth, sent The Herald this picture he took of refugees sleeping at the Eastern railway station in Budapest, waiting for trains out of the city. Tóth lives in Budapest

I WAS seven years old when my father sent me to buy butter and I returned empty-handed after going to every shop in the area. That was when I realised communism couldn’t last.

At nine, I saw a picture of my parents’ wedding and noticed a guy I didn’t know. When asked, my aunt said he was an uncle of mine who had managed to defect and that he would face the firing squad if he returned to Romania.

I made a vow then that I would leave the country at the first opportunity. At age 11, I was on the border in broad daylight and watched Hungary shimmer a kilometre away, over the no man’s land.

I wanted to run, but knew I’d be shot dead by snipers and my family would be arrested, tortured and imprisoned – if allowed to live. The first targeted would be my father, who worked obliviously just 30m away.

Little did I know that a few months later, I would start an anti-communist organisation to fight against corruption and abuse, or that because of one guy’s betrayal and my amateurishness, I would have to watch as 20 guys were tortured in front of me for information and in turn be beaten for every word that came from bleeding lips and a torn psyche. Little did I know that my confederates would see me as a traitor for doing what I had to do to save families who would’ve died because I blew our fight for freedom and equality, or that 18 years later, I’d be made to swear not to kill that torturer a mere hour before I was going to do it.

Also that year, my would-be Aikido coach took his daughter through the border minefields and armed patrols for a swim across the 1.2km-wide Danube River into Yugoslavia, then freedom in a Western country. At 12, I went through the Romanian Revolution.

Then, at 14, my flight was the only one to take off from a foggy Otopeni Airport on the 28th anniversary of John F Kennedy’s assassination, an ironic and vomit-filled journey which ended in South Africa.

Let me tell any South African xenophobes and spoilt West European whiners three things about the myriad desperate folks crossing borders:

First, there’s only one thing worse than living under a dictatorship, and that is the bloodthirsty insanity people have endured for years in equatorial and northern African countries along with the Middle East.

Second, they have the inalienable human right to live free from the oppression to which your governments condemned them by coddling odious dictators for decades in the name of realpolitik expedience. Did you think your comfortable ignorance was going to last for ever?

Third, nobody can appreciate the sweet taste of freedom and what one can do with it unless they’ve been terrorised slaves like these people and countless others. Better accept them in your communities and learn what they’ve got to teach you, or end up enslaved and running eventually.

Now you know why I wrote so much about freedom and democracy, defended atheists and believers alike, stood up for Afrikaners when others didn’t; why I could love, bleed, die and hold others while they died for a country which has hurt so many, so much. It’s about maintaining our humanity folks, even after more than those one thousand hurts our late and great Nelson Mandela spoke of.

If you have European connections, please do the right thing. Tell your relatives to give these refugees a dignified and supportive asylum, because this is the most humane thing we can do in an increasingly inhumane world.

And like Mel Gibson’s William Wallace, I’ll end by shouting this: Freedom! THERE is a tremendous amount of “chatter” in the printed media and on television concerning Muslim people fleeing north Africa, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, to name a few countries.

These unfortunate immigrants/asylum seekers hope to escape war-torn, despotic Muslim environments, all wanting employment and to enjoy a democratic and free life in Western Europe, including Sweden.

The world “expects” Christian Western Europe/Sweden to throw open its borders to accept these seekers.

There doesn’t appear to be any response to these seekers’ pleas from the rich Middle Eastern Muslim countries. Why not?

-Concerned Christian, Port Elizabeth

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