For two weeks in September I've been working on the refugee & migrant crisis in Hungary, Serbia & Croatia. At the beginning of the month I've been watching the hungarian news on the net and I saw quite drastic scenes and sad things happening on the Keleti railway station in Budapest. Hundreds of people were sleeping on the floor with little babies and small kids; when a train to Vienna or München arrived everybody wanted to get on it stepping on each other - many got hurt, many passed out. Seeing this situation in the hungarian television (also on the german) I've decided to go and document it. After two days of shooting I've met two wonderful guys and great photographers from Cyprus & Greece: Achilleas Zavallis & Dimitris Chantzaras. We sticked together and deciced to move first to the Austrian border where finally nothing happened and the next day to the southern border with Serbia, close to a place called Röszke. Before we went there I thought that the biggest hardcore - that can happen in a civilised european country in the 21st century - I've already seen in Budapests Keleti station, but the situation on the border was way beyond of my imagination. Humiliation, desperation, sadness, disease, fear, chaos, dirt - are only a couple of words that can discribe what I witnessed. And every time I moved to a new location I thought the worst is behind me but then reality shot me in the head. I'm not saying that the situation is just about poor people escaping from war zones or dangerous & poor countries (like Somali or Eritrea or Libia). I experienced some rough moments, saw dodgy fellaz who not necessarily were refugees nor migrants - I don't know for sure, I didn't think about it, I was more concentrated on shooting and looking around. But I know for sure, that most of the people risk their own and their kids lifes, families life for a safe & better future. I always ask my self or others who talk about "stinky dirty terrorist ciappatas" - would I stay with my kids and wife in a country where people are shot on the streets, where bombs are falling from the sky, where chemical weapon is used, where isis soldiers may come in a moment and cut my daughters head of???? Or in a country where I earn 3 dollars after a 12 hours working day???? Or in a country where me or my kids might be wounded just because we're not in this or that clan???? Or maybe I should stay with my family for years in a refugee camp where I don't have enough food, got nothing to do, kids can't go to school etc????? My answer is: I would take my family & get the fuck out of this place as quickly as I can!!!!!!!
The refugee & migrant crisis is a very complexed issue, there are many aspects and elements. Some make great money on human trafficking and smuggling, some terrorist organizations also got their goal in it, everywhere I was I saw locals making good business on selling even a glass of water in front of their houses, I saw the gypsy mafia - on the petrol station next to the police - on the Hungarian side giving a ride to BP or the Austrian border for hundreds of euros. But from the other side there were many volunteers, people were coming with helpful things to donate, doctors without borders and charity organizations.
Thousands of people cross the Austrian border day by day. So European leaders got to wake up, professors, politicians, specialists have to figure out quiclky how to help the people here and there (Asia, Africa), what to do to stop this huge number of people coming to Europe - not because of their origin or religion, but to avoid humanitarian crisis in the middle of the Europe, avoid their huge disappointment with people and europes attitude (folks in nazi or in Ku Klux Klan outfits???wtf???) avoid ethnic conflicts and with the locals, because hate breeds hate, aggression breeds aggression. I'm not an expert but European leaders didn't help the people in the camps in Lebanon or Turkey or even in the countries endangered when there was a time to do it. Yeah, so these are a few quick thoughts after the days I spent on documenting the events.
I'm gonna post here quite a lot of images in the next couple of days, I hope the pics are gonna discribe better (than the words) what I saw.