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HUNGARY HELPS (thanks be to god)

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

My original plan was to write this blog's inaugural post on the topic of Budapest’s famous cafes, on Vaci Utca, the famous shopping street just steps from my front door, or on one of many amazing churches in my new neighborhood. But, the events of the last days, namely the cataclysmic American withdrawal from Afghanistan, led me in a different direction.


I want to talk about one of my main goals for going to Budapest: to study Hungarian immigration policy in the context of their struggle to maintain cultural hegemony and national sovereignty. Over the last 10+ years, Hungary, a small central-eastern European nation and relatively new European Union (EU) member having joined in 2004, has faced immense pressure from Brussels and fellow EU partners to throw open its borders to refugees, specifically to migrants who found themselves swept up in the Syrian refugee crisis in the waning years of the Obama administration.


Instead of cow-towing to the EU and adopting an open-borders policy, Hungary pushed back. They pointed to the failed unfettered immigration experiments of countries like France where there are 'no-go zones' for non-Muslims and where there is consistent if sporadic violence rooted in Muslim non-assimilation. They noted that after years of massive immigration with no regard to assimilation, German chancellor Angela Merkel was finally forced to concede that multiculturalism had completely failed in her country. Desperate to save face (and lives), Merkel was forced to beg tens of thousands of Muslim refugees inside her borders to assimilate into German (that is, western, Christian) culture.


Hungarian prime minister Victor Orban also remarked that widespread pressure to accept a glut of refugees from majority Muslim countries amounted to a suicide mission for Hungary culturally, on the basis that "Christian Hungary" would not be bifurcated into "parallel societies." Instead, his government erected a southern border wall designed to choke out illegal crossing attempts from the so-called "Balkan Route" (a migrant path going from Greece through the Balkans to Hungary). As a result, the emigration of Muslim refugees into Hungary slowed to a crawl and illegal scaling of the border wall became almost non-existent. Chalk one up for Hungarian national sovereignty and cultural survival.


Whether one agrees with Hungary’s approach to immigration or not (I do, by the way), the prime minister was not to be shamed (or sued) into conforming to the EU’s globalist ideals. Nonplussed, the Orban government piloted a program based on assisting would-be refugees without rehousing them in Hungary. This program, called Hungary Helps, operates as a non-profit organization (NGO) under the coordination of the prime minister's office. The organization operates out of the logic that, given the chance, persecuted people would rather stay home than relocate. It also acknowledges a scandalous truth that many in the west would like to hide or at least ignore: the most displaced and hunted religious group in the world follows Jesus not Mohammed. According to Tristan Azbey, State Secretary For the Aid of Persecuted Christians and the Hungary Helps program:


“Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. This means that Christians are persecuted in the largest numbers in the world because of their faith and their beliefs. organizations for human rights, such as Open Doors, and the Truro Report for the British Foreign Office confirmed what our research suggests: more than a quarter of a billion people in the world suffer disadvantages and are discriminated against for their Christian faith. Four out of five people persecuted and discriminated against for their faith and religious beliefs are Christians. Although we currently find this as one of the most serious human rights crises in the world, we notice that this issue is not addressed by international organizations. The problem is among the most serious human rights crises and it is obviously one of the most hidden.

We think that the reasons why international organizations do not deal with the persecution of Christians, and why they try to hide this crisis are mainly political and ideological. The Hungarian government recognized this in 2016, as well as the need to support persecuted and discriminated Christians. The first is always the deeds: in early 2017, we launched an international humanitarian program specifically designed to alleviate the humanitarian emergency of Christians and other groups persecuted for their religion, in the form of a specific support operation.

In addition, we decided to represent the cause of persecuted Christians in international forums. The fact that the Hungarian government was the first, and so far, the only one in the world to set up a separate government unit, the name of which includes the position responsible for helping persecuted Christians is a message in itself. We have decided to take over the representation of this matter because no one else has done so until now. The decision is based not only on humanitarian considerations but also on value perspectives. Since we consider Hungary a Christian-based nation and our cultural roots are also Christian, we believe that we owe solidarity to the people who are suffering innocently,’ emphasis added.

I can think of no better time than now to lean into the mission, vision, and values of Hungary Helps. It gives me hope that a European nation such as Hungary not only understands the plight of persecuted Christians around the world but is doing something about it. As I write this, somewhere between 10,000-12,000 Christians are hiding from the Taliban in the country of Afghanistan. Their being in danger is a direct result of my country's botched exit. Today I joined an NGO fundraising effort to rescue those people, but I still feel ashamed of my country and troubled for the endangered.


I also understand that just as elitists in Washington and Brussels created the Syrian refugee crisis of the last decade (which partly inspired the launch of Hungary Helps), a new refugee crisis will soon develop in Afghanistan (for those fortunate enough to escape the Taliban, that is). Time will tell how that goes. But one thing is for sure. I want to be on the ground in Budapest to see how Hungary Helps responds. I have absolutely no trust in my own government to do anything but dither.


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for further reading:


https://hungaryhelps.gov.hu/hungary-helps-agency/


https://eclj.org/religious-freedom/eu/interview-with-tristan-azbej-state-secretary-for-the-aid-of-persecuted-christians-and-the-hungary-helps-program


https://www.epsa-projects.eu/index.php/Hungary_Helps_Program#tab=Case_description


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