Some Slovaks get in their cars to help the refugees awaiting their fate at Budapest’s Keleti Pályaudvar train station, others are taking their packages to the Austrian Traiskirchen.
These are important expressions of humanity in times when the most powerful men of this country label the people who are left with nothing but our help, a threat to the European way of life. We pour money into stadiums for our entertainment, but when it comes to the lives of people, we say our possibilities to help are indeed limited. But now is the time to prove ourselves as Europeans.
We live in the times when some Slovaks, with ease, write in discussions on public networks that if the refugees come here, they should all be shot dead. Many Slovaks reportedly fear refugees, but what they should really fear is their neighbours or colleagues who do not shy away from writing such comments.
They should fear that some expressions against people who are on the run from persecution and war evoke the atmosphere of the late 1930s.
In the vast majority of cases everything we say or write cannot be separated from what kind of people we are. This is true also for times of crisis. Good people usually do not write things from which evil radiates. Large-minded and intelligent people most likely won’t write ignorant and deeply stupid things, and it is not often that great people abase themselves to inexcusable parochialism.
It is too easy to formally place our nation in Europe at celebrations and conferences about human rights. But now we live in times when our attitudes are put to real tests. Not only in order to make it clear for other European countries where it is we actually belong, but in order to make it clear to ourselves.
Humanity and compassion are no complicated concepts. It is a chance to live the words that people silently recite in churches, that makes us shiver when we hear the stories of heroes, and words that good teachers pass on to children in the hope that they will grow up to be good human beings.
The Plea for Humanity can be signed here.
1. Sep 2015 at 18:13 | Beata Balogová