Warning: rant follows
reductionism – the attempt to reduce complex phenomenon to a simple statement
The idea of boiling things down to understand them is not bad. Unless there are elements in the resulting boiled down statement that imply or allow for the inference what the person boiling it down is trying to convey, whether correct or not.
In the last weeks, especially the last 7 days, as I watch and hear reports from Hungary, I am increasingly frustrated by this method.
There is no doubt that the Orban administration is not handling things as well as many would like, but who is doing better? Apparently no one. I don’t see Germany or Sweden sending busses and bureaucrats with authority to issue visas. That would seem to be a legal solution as we seem to understand EU, Schengen and Dublin rules.
Last Saturday the leader of Austria made headlines as it was announced that Austria and Germany would open the gates. 16,000 got through. That relieved a lot of pressure in Budapest but that 16,000 has been replaced since then. Today, Austria stopped the trains because they were “overwhelmed.” Did you know, dear reader, that Austria is, per capita GDP, better off than Germany? But Austria is “overwhelmed.” So they stopped the trains.
When the shameful extreme right wing camera operator in Hungary was filmed abusing refugees, she was fired. But the on the radio in the US, the presenter/interviewer asked a British journalist (who was reporting from Germany) if this reflected the attitude of Hungarians. The question wasn’t actually answered. But the question, since it was not refuted, stood. Anyone listening might then surmise that this shameful woman who tripped a man running with his toddler represented Hungarians. This impression is categorically wrong.
Report after report shows the terrible conditions on the Hungarian – Serbian border. They show the horrible plight of the refugees and bemoan the fact that the UNHCR has told Hungary to set up better conditions. They interview the people who say that they just want to walk to Germany. This situation is not a two sided coin (as we say, with two side of a story). This is a Rubik’s cube with all the colors mixed up. The press seems to think that this country can solve this Rubik’s cube by waving a magic wand. Hungary is a country that is struggling economically and politically. They can’t just wave a magic wand to have wonderful tents set up and lavatories set up to the tune of what now seems to be 5,000 persons a day. Yes the government could do better. All governments could.
Austria’s solution was to stop the trains. Hungary can’t, the people just keep coming. Orban’s fence will not stop them, nor will Army maneuvers.
But realize that Hungarian and many internationals are on the scene and are doing the best they can with whatever resources they can gather. Fund raising efforts abound to help these people.
But 5,000 people today. How could anyone handle that?
Again, it’s a political/humanitarian crisis Rubik’s cube. It is way to complicated for an American reporter to show up, spend a half a day interviewing people and then report in 27 seconds while mispronouncing every proper name they try to say.
Am I being too harsh on the Western press?
Of course I am.
Because they are committing a journalistic injustice to everyday Hungarians, and Greeks, and Macedonians and Serbs by giving their viewers and listeners a view that is just not the whole story.
Shame on the journalists for their truncated stories.
Shame on the politicians for hiding behind laws and their polls.
May God use the kind folks in Hungary, Serbia, Macedonia and Greece to help these unfortunates. May we all look around us wherever we are with compassion on unfortunates everywhere.
May we tell the whole truth.