For those who have not followed the Hungarian migration situation so closely, let’s get the context straight. After the busy years of the Balkan wars, asylum applications remained at a more or less constant +/- 2000 a year. There was a system in place, although that system, just like now, relied on arbitrary detention, provided very limited legal aid and resulted in homelessness of recognized refugees. In 2013, the number of applications rose to ca. 18 000, in 2014 to 42 777, and the number of 2015 has already passed 60 000. It is hardly surprising that the system which to an extent relies on EU money, is in crisis, like we wrote earlier.
Now, an incredible wave of good will, solidarity and spontaneous organization to help migrants passing through Hungary has taken everyone by surprise. Facebook groups of people organizing to distribute food, water, clothes, shoes and information are popping up, while local people in Debrecen organized a demonstration against the government's xenophobic propaganda. While Fidesz has been trying to engineer a moral panic and fear of migrants, its policies have, once again, been counterproductive: there is a panic, but the panic has the following caption: “Please, someone tell me, how can I help the migrants?” Even the state had to ask for the help of the volunteers: they are in great need of people who are accompanying the asylum-seekers in the container-camp of Nagyfa, near Szeged. Also, it clearly shows that where the state has failed, Hungarians are taking it up once again. The Fidesz and Jobbik vision of Hungary seems simply not to be accurate.
At Migszol, we started in the context of 2012, when the situation was remarkably different. Now that there are so many groups referring to Migszol, we thought to clarify our values and our structure to the wider audience. Back then, we made a conscious choice: there is the political work, and there is the humanitarian work. We have in the past, and also will in the future, focus on the political side: organizing demonstrations and actions, consulting with stakeholders in and out of Hungary, and so on. We chose the political side because the Hungarian government cannot securitize the situation by building fences and presenting migrants as terrorists, it cannot ignore this by deferring it as a EU problem of lack of solidarity, and it cannot let it be solved by the good will of Hungarians giving food and shelter - we need a lasting political arrangement to offer migrants conditions to live in Hungary. This is not to say that we would consider the political side more important than the humanitarian: when there is urgent need, both are absolutely needed.
Apart from explicitly focusing on the political side of the struggle instead of the humanitarian side, from the start Migszol also decided to be independent from the state, political parties or European Union. We do, occasionally, consult different political parties when they are interested in our opinion, but we wish to express we remain independent from them. This has always been the cornerstone of our values. Therefore, we also wish that any entity that uses the name Migszol will also respect this value and remain independent. It is up to the different groups to decide the ways in which they will function - at Migszol, we make decisions based on consensus, we do not have a leader, we do not have paid employees, and we do not make decisions based on external pressure.
Many of the newly born groups of Migszol supporters are doing exactly the opposite from Migszol - that is, engaging in humanitarian work instead of political. We are amazed and happy to see all these determined Hungarians taking the initiative to show their solidarity and help, offering support when it’s needed the most, and we can only say - that we are extremely impressed, and thank you for all the efforts and great work you all are doing to help in this worrying situation! We would also use this moment to remind people that migrants are not the only precarious group in Hungary. Many migrant help-groups cannot accept any more volunteers at the moment, so we suggest people also to look for volunteering opportunities with fellow Hungarians.
We could not be happier about this humanitarian movement of migrant solidarity, since now there are the two sides that together complete the circle. Although we fully support each other's work, and naturally also communicate with each other, the different entities remain independent from each other.
Please, if you feel like dedicating yourself to the political side of the issue for a more permanent period of time, then contact Migszol, but if you are interested to help with humanitarian actions, contact one of the below mentioned groups. Together we are the most powerful!
Migszol supporters in Szeged
Migszol supporters in Pécs
Let's help refugees together! - Group in Budapest
Migration Aid in Budapest