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Europe, Hungary and absent memory.......

Aah, how convenient to forget history.   Think Hungary, a country whose PM is now openly not letting seeking to prevent  that flood of refugees passing through his country by erecting a fence to keep those pesky non-Christians out.    Roger Cohen, op-ed writer for the International New York Times provides a timely reminder to the fascist Hungarian PM.

"Oh, Europe, the Mediterranean, cradle of civilization, is a watery grave. At the side of an Austrian highway, 71 nameless refugees perish, asphyxiated in a modern-day boxcar. Czech authorities, armed with indelible markers but bereft of a sense of history, inscribe identification numbers on the skin of 200 migrants. Others are duped by Hungarian police with promises of “freedom” and find themselves in a “reception” camp (where presumably they are offered a shower).

Oh, Europe, Slovakia wants only Christian refugees, not the Muslims of Syria or Afghanistan. Viktor Orban, the puffed-up little Putin serving as Hungary’s prime minister, says he is protecting “European civilization” — read Christian Europe — as a 175-kilometer razor wire fence is installed along the Serbian border. David Cameron speaks of a “swarm” of migrants trying to reach Britain; it is locusts that move in swarms. A three-year-old Syrian boy, his little left hand folded back as if he were asleep in a crib, lies dead on a Turkish beach, his face in the sand, his silent reproach indelible. He was called Aylan Kurdi. His family wanted to bring him to Europe.

The shadows return, freighted with ironies. Orban’s Hungary turns its back on the magnificent Hungary of 1989, the first country to open the Iron Curtain a crack as it allowed tens of thousands of East Germans to cross into Austria and make their way to West Germany. Orban’s pusillanimous Hungary forgets how, in 1956, at the time of the Soviet invasion, about 200,000 Hungarians fled into Austria and found refuge and freedom in Western Europe.

This petty Hungary also chooses to ignore that, of all the blessings acquired by the former nations of the Soviet bloc when the division of Europe ended, freedom of movement was the most prized. It was secured, this gift, with the fall of a wall. Now Hungary erects one.

Hungary is not alone in its prejudice. The preference for Christian migrants (in small numbers), and equating of Muslims with inevitable menace, is marked across almost all the countries of Central and East Europe that were once part of the Soviet imperium. These states have not known the influx of post-colonial migrants that has changed several West European societies. Their Jews were almost all killed by the Nazis (with help from local accomplices). Their ethnic makeup was further homogenized through border shifts or mass expulsions (ethnic Germans out of postwar Poland). Their recent history has been of mass emigration in search of job opportunities in the West, not of immigration."


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