walterw.a / CC BY 2.0

Hordes fleeing war-torn Syria and other lands are struggling to understand why German Chancellor Angela Merkel, praised as “Mama Merkel” for opening her country’s borders in early September, closed them again barely eight days later.

“She said she will bring big boats from Turkey to rescue Syrians!” said Maria, a Syrian who fled the bombs of Damascus six weeks ago and was quoted by The Guardian. “And now why has she closed the border?” asked her daughter.

The Guardian reports:

For a week, refugees had been able to freely board trains to Germany from Vienna – but Sunday’s developments returned the status quo to how it was in late August. Station staff said on Monday that the rail border had reopened at 7am, less than a day after Germany had stopped all inbound rail services. But the ticket machines would not let people book journeys to German destinations. And while some had managed to get fares from the ticket office, it was unclear to many people whether the border had reopened or not.

Pacing around the concourse with her two children, Galbari al-Hussein saw the constant changes in border policy as a cruel game played at the expense of vulnerable refugees. “We’ve travelled so far, thousands of kilometres, and now they’re closing the borders,” said Hussein, who reached Vienna barely a week after escaping Islamic State territory, hidden in an unfamiliar niqab. “Is it open, is it closed? It’s very unfair.” …

As rumours swirled, even non-Syrian refugees couldn’t help but wonder whether they were the real targets of the German border shenanigans. Hany, an Iraqi engineering student, smiled wistfully. “Germany is very good to Syrians,” he said. “It wants all the Syrians to come, but maybe not the Iraqis.”

There was one thing on which everyone could agree. Whatever Germany does or doesn’t do with its border, refugees will still keep fleeing to Europe. “Everybody is coming,” said Iyad, a Syrian student. “They are coming, coming, coming. My brother will leave Syria in two days.” Iyad’s friend Amal nodded in agreement. “The only people who will stay are those who don’t have any money,” said Amal. “People are selling their cars and homes to come here.”

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


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