Okay, this is ridiculous. Hungarian photographer Norbert Baksa has created a series of photographs and named it Der Migrant, to show us his view of the whole refugee crisis, in which Hungary has an important, but not praiseworthy role. Thanks, Norbert, but no thanks, you really shouldn't have bothered. What is going on? Young and beautiful (and semi-nude) model Monika Jablonczky is posing as a refugee in front of barb wire. Now, Baksa is claiming that he just presented things that he has seen, yet, I'm still unable to find where did he see bare-breasted refugee that is taking selfie in front of the newly erected barb-wired wall. After the public all around Europe had reacted angrily, Baksa issued a statement, claiming that he only wanted to "draw the attention to the problem and make people think about it". Lovely.
Let's just ignore the fact that, although Baksa claimed that he didn't want to "glamourize this clearly bad situation", he placed this series of photographs under "Fashion" on his website (we grant him, he didn't put them under "Glamour", that is just under "Fashion" on his site). But, let's see why Baksa thinks that the public revolt is unfounded. "I usually refuse to deal with political topics, but this situation affects the daily lives of virtually everybody in Hungary", said Baksa in his statement. Perhaps this was the case when migrants were able to get into Hungary, but since the erection of barb-wire, that impact is, in our opinion, reduced to zero as close as possible. Baksa is also telling us that "we are taking stands on partial or biased information", and that "we are flooded with contradictory information through the media, so no one has extensive knowledge of the situation as a whole. This is exactly what we wanted to picture: you see a suffering woman, who is also beautiful and despite her situation, has some high quality pieces of outfit and an smartphone".
Bingo. Now we are talking. The question of the source of information is very important, as we are creating and modeling our opinion with every new information that we believe it is relevant. And what do we have? I, personally, don't know Hungarian, but it could be easily assumed what pro-Orban media are telling to the people of Hungary - for every right, or far-right political option, it is very important to constantly propagate permanent danger "from the outside", the danger of real or fictional attacks from other countries. This is also true for Orban's nationalist government. So, we have the situation where Orban's government had already built hundreds of miles of barb-wired wall on the border with Serbia, and it is starting to build the similar one on the border with Croatia. What do you think he is telling his voters and citizens of Hungary? So, when you mix this kind of propaganda with other sources that are (still) available via Internet, yes, you have contradictory information about the whole situation: your government is making it contradictory, up to the point when the majority of the people just turn their heads away and say, hey, I can not tell anymore what is true and what isn't, so, I'm not going to think about that anymore. Baksa is clear about that: "It is very difficult to understand from the news coverage whether these people are indeed refugees or something else".
And that brings us to the second point: some refugees, indeed, have quality clothing and quality telephones. So? Should have they came on camels, dressed in fish nets and newspaper? This is also another forgery by the nationalist of every kind: "these people are not refugees, but economic migrants, and that is not ok, because we would have all loved to live in Germany or Sweden, but you don't see us going that way, and since they are so well dressed, they had good lives in Syria or Iraq, and should have stayed there" - that is the line of argumentation. So, let's think on this one for a moment. You have good life, good job, money, apartment or a house, your clothing is fine, you simply are enjoying living with your family. And all of the sudden, you decide, just like that, that you should leave this beautiful life and everything you have gained, gather your family around, and start walking 2,000 miles towards Germany. Sounds like a plan, right? No, of course not. But this logic is lying behind nationalist's rhetoric and their arguments. Petra Laszlo, that camerawoman that kicked and tripped people that were carrying children, probably was also confused with "partial or biased information", nothing more. No biggie.
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Images via Norbert Baksa.