Note from the Keleti Train Station in Budapest: refugee crisis

Here is the letter from one of the Hero Imagination Project trainers to prof. Philip Zimbardo. After reading it (as I join Zimbardo’s team and professor shared this note with me too) I have asked Lucza Balazs to publish it on my Blog. This is not any kind of propaganda, it is not also the political or any party side. It’s just report of honest man – what he saw with his own eyes and how he feel about it.

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Lucza Balazs writing to prof. Philip Zimbardo 5th of Sept 2015:

I’m in Budapest again. I think my life would be easier without knowing the steps you teach, but it would also be much less socially responsible. Against all odds (losing an income source, starting from scratch, still not having a producer) I’ve invested all my energies and money into following this path to make this documentary. I’ve completed the Hungarian training (twice) and I’m stretching my own mindset where it’s fixed to grow, and it is painful.

The refugee crises started before I returned, but I wasn’t sure what it was like. I saw the news and it was shocking, but not nearly as shocking as being among them. One day I passed through the square in front of the Eastern Railway Station (Keleti). And I stopped to see not just to look. And I stood there overlooking people humiliated, lying around on the ground in clothes that got dirty along the long way they traveled, children hiding in the shade on a hot and humid day. My sunglasses hid my tears. I left very worked up. Then an accident happened not too far. Two cars crashed. As I walked by I heard people blaming the refugees. One car was a fire police car that was hit by a Porsche Cayenne that didn’t hear the siren and didn’t give the right away. Definitely not a refugee’s fault, but people were quick to jump to conclusions. I heard some say he would exterminate them all. I was deeply saddened to notice how hate can spread without any fact. I decided to act.CON9xjCWUAA2kIA

Yesterday I spent 9 hours with the refugees giving out food, talking to people, filming, getting my point of view from up close, rather than filtered by news outlets. I was threatened by my own people for taking the refugees’ side and I was befriending Syrian, Iranian, Palestine, and many other nation’s people joining forces with Hungarian volunteers. I was there when far right activists threw firecrackers into the crowd, when a beer bottle thrown by a man wearing a black T-shirt saying “Hungary belongs to Hungarians” blasted into pieces on someone next to me, when the Syrians held a peaceful sitting as a response and were chanting “We love police”. I was there until the 100 buses came at 2am to finally take the refugees to the Austrian border after a week long wait without proper means for hygiene. The government ruled that everyone helping the refugees outside their camps commits a crime. Yet many people helped by taking them home to let them shower, or even sharing their home for the night before.

I am torn. I started making this documentary because I want to believe in change. And I think if I hadn’t heard about HIP I would not be here, I would not help, I would not care. Because it is easy not to. It is hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel in such times, but I try to focus on being there, taking initiative, because some of these people come from much much worse. What’s hate for me is just anger for others. I asked a Syrian and Palestine guy around 24 that live in Budapest for 3 years, why they moved to such a racist country? They said, racist people are everywhere, but at least here it is safe. And then I thought, if they can speak so kindly of my nation, why can’t I believe in change?

I barely slept last night and in the morning my own mother disliked me for taking sides with the refugees thanks to the government’s hate propaganda, and I found my car with a boot and a $200 fine for misreading the parking signs that I’m not used to anymore thanks to living in the US for the past 5 years. Today is tough. But I’ll go on. I don’t know if the film will ever be finished, but the journey I’m going through feels like the most difficult yet most important lesson in life. I’m changing to my core.

I want to make the shift, I want to push through, I want to grow. I’ll check in again when I succeeded.

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