By Robert Samuels,
HORGOS, Serbia — “Go that way,” the Serbian police officer told them. Rumor had it that a hole in a fence might lead migrants to an open border in Hungary, so a pastor and his friend brought five Syrians to test it out.
“Isn’t this kind of sketchy?” the pastor, Jeremy Bair, 33, said as the pavement turned into a patch of soft mud and crunchy grass.
“We are the first group to do?” said Odai Tele, 28, who came from Damascus. “That’s good. We will show the way.”
The border closed early Tuesday and when the sun rose, hundreds of migrants were in a netherworld where two countries meet. With no one providing instructions on what to do next, they were left to rely on ingenuity and faith to get to the other side.
Navigating the treacherous Aegean Sea in a tiny boat was supposed to have been the most perilous part of the journey, but the Hungarian barricade provided an unexpected, practically insurmountable test.
Those left behind lamented how they missed an easy route to Western Europe by minutes. Streams of migrants coming along the train tracks used to come in one direction, but now families were meeting in the middle, and turning around, once they found the way forward barred. They questioned themselves with a new set of “what-ifs,” and they tried to find a way to handle the turn of events.
“Cope,” Tele said. “We carry on.”
In the morning, some women who still had extra clothes folded them into piles. Children played with squeaky toys. Others tried coming up with any way possible to get Hungary to reopen its gate, or to sneak through. When someone suggested going through Croatia, a volunteer insisted, “No.” Land mines.
Tele walked. He went with the pastor, a Hungarian Roma activist and five other migrant men. He was a little scared because he had no idea where this would lead, unlike seemingly more treacherous paths before. Still, in minutes the grass became soft and muddy and he could see the “Welcome to Hungary” sign up a small hill.
But the police were locking in a barricade right behind it.
Others were already there. Migrants sat in the blazing sun and were asked to wait for an …Read More
Caught in no man's land between Serbia and Hungary – Washington Post
By Robert Samuels,