Texts and Columns

First published on 8 October 2015 by the Croatian weekly Telegram. Then republished in both Englosh and German language.

1. Prologue: Border crossing Šid-Tovarnik (25/09/2015, 17.20 h)

Fifteen hastily abandoned tents are scattered in disarray on a small portion of no man’s land between Serbia and Croatia. All over trampled mud on which different shoe-prints can be discerned lie piles of uprooted sugar beet. The place is virtually littered with various personal items – pieces of clothing either forgotten or discarded in haste, pale pink mats printed over with big blue letters saying UNHCR – THE UN REFUGEE AGENCY, brochures published by Alliance Biblique Universelle with selected suras from the Koran printed in Arabic script, muddy leaflets also in Arabic, containing maps of Southeast Europe, lists of refugee camps and reception centres, phone numbers, email addresses and other similar information, half emptied cans of beans, sardines or tuna, plastic water bottles, boxes of biscuits, disposable plates, children’s diapers and toys, banana peels, crumpled cigarette packs.

The overwhelming silence convincingly testifies to the speed with which this makeshift camp was abandoned. In a ghostlike atmosphere that still lingers after everyone has left in haste, it is hard to imagine that only a few minutes earlier it was swarming with people. One thing, however, is quite certain: no one will ever miss it.

A week ago Croatia closed shut all its borders with Serbia in sheer panic over the growing wave of refugees redirected here after the Hungarians decided to impose tough and non-wavering measures against further entrance and passage of the migrants through their territory. Ever since, more then a thousand refugees gathered in the bleak vacuum of the intermediate zone. For a whole week, this narrow stretch of hard Pannonian soil represented their whole wide world. And the only thing all these people could possibly hope for was that sooner or later something would happen that would once more allow them to continue further with their long and arduous journey… (continue HERE)


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