The power of the refugee movement

When goverments are forced to become smugglers

Botovo/Croatia – 26.09.2015/ It was a surrealistic situation and probably nothing can express more the power of the ongoing refugee movement and the fear of the governments for their struggle: more than 1600 refugees were transported last saturday night at 10 p.m. to the little trainstation of Botovo.Its outside the small village of Croatia and very close to the hungarian border. A lot of policemen, volunteer firebrigade, red cross and about 150 activists from the open border caravan exspected them. Hundreds of young people mainly from Syria and Afghanistan, but also many families with hundreds of children, very old people, even handicapped persons with wheelchairs left the extra-train, which was ordered by the croatian government. Most of the refugees were hold in a croatian camp before, in Opatovac near the serbian border, after they arrived by boats from the turkish coast to the greek islands and went through northern Greece and Macedonia to Serbia last days. Now they faced a very strange bordercrossing. First they met local supporters and the activists from the open border caravan and they were offered drinks, food and clothes (and informations as the w2eu-visitor cards…) on the street, which looked like a night basar. Then, escorted by the croatian police these 1650 refugees were led through a small dark forest to the green border of Hungary. Barbed wire was everywhere at the borderline, but the armed hungarian soldiers opened a small path through this fence and the refugees were asked to cross it with not more than two persons beside each other. Finally the hungarian soldiers escorted them through a field to another train, which was waiting nearby with 20 wagons. From a small group of hungarian supporters the refugees received some more food through the windows.
It all needed some hours time, before the train started in the direction of Hegyeshalom near the austrian border. But the whole procedure obviously happened with a certain routine as it might have been the 19th time to organize such an „illegal bordercrossing“ in this way during last days. About 30.000 refugees took this channel and probably more trains will follow.
The open border caravan activists could not really believe, what they experienced. They came to support refugees in bordercrossing, if necessary also in a clandestine way. Now they could see, that two states organize it by themselves in the most strange way. And it was a clear common decision in the assembly to be careful and not to disturb in any way this great achievement of the refugees. We came to do a visible action for freedom of movement, but at this spot it was immediately agreed, that we remain „politically invisible“ and appear only in the role of humanitarian supporters.
One involved man from the local fire brigade gave a logic interpretation to the whole procedure: if the refugees would cross the official borderpoints, they need to be kept and the authorities are obliged to register and – in the case of Hungary – to  fingerprint all refugees according Dublin regulation. But if they all cross „illegally“, such procedures are not necessary and people can simply go on.
Nobody could imagine, that bureaucratic states can become so creative and even organise transport through their green borders to avoid the struggle of refugees. They obviously learned from two earlier experiences: first in Macedonia at the border to Greece the military had to withdraw their forces after the refugees did not stop their protests and stormed the provisional fences. A huge media attention was given and the pictures were in all news, when soldiers have beaten refugee families with their children.
Secondly the experience at the hungarian serbian border, after Orban let close the last door of the new barbed wire fence. But again the pictures went though the world, when teargas was used to „defend“ the fortress europe against asylum seekers.
Obviously the croatian and the hungarian government decided not to risk to repeat such pictures. They could see, that another ten thousands refugees are on the route and will become a stronger and stronger power, if they are blocked. Driven by this fear they tried to create a solution by organising an „illegal“ channel through the green borders.
Hardly to imagine, that the governments in Austria and Germany did not know about the stately organised border-smuggling between Croatia and Hungary. And this means, that the whole european borderregime appears now more helpless and chaotic as ever before.
Anticipating from last years experiences, that the movement of refugees and migrants across the aegean sea will not stop at least for the month of October, we can exspect still some more amazing weeks along the balcanroute and beyond with unpredictable consequences through the ongoing struggle for freedom of movement. And in all countries of transit and destination we are challenged to continue on a daily level our support and cooperation with the new citizens.
no one is illegal, hanau