Dear Western Europe,
it seems you are in sulk about our unwillingness to accept
more any refugees. It hurts us to hurt your feelings, so please allow us to explain things from an Eastern European perspective. We are certain you that you will understand us better after listening to our arguments.
First, we really don’t have any space. We are tiny countries. Most people wouldn’t even find Lithuania or Slovakia on a map. How are the poor refugees supposed to find us? What, “Great Plains of Hungary”, “Poland is the 6th largest country in the EU” I hear you retort? Well, we can’t really count Poland because it has a tendency to lose large parts of its territory, if you remember.
Second, we are already full. All of our houses and apartments are so packed, you couldn’t even fit an extra cat into them. Heck, we don’t even know where to house our own people!
Oh. Anyway, these are the numbers of the past. Our population will increase dramatically in the future because we will appeal to the patriotic pride of our young women. What, our young women have all left to Western Europe and America? Damn. (10 of the 11 countries projected to lose the most population by 2050 are in Eastern Europe, with losses of up to 50%.)
Well, there you see it! We are experts in emigration, not in immigration. You can’t expect us to suddenly reverse course and do something completely different. That would cause major upheaval in our societies. It would be like asking a communist dictatorship to turn into a free-market democracy from one year to the next. Crazy! That could never work.
Third, our languages are really hard to learn. No one has ever mastered Hungarian. Lithuanians pride themselves on having a highly complicated language that nobody can learn. It would be unfair to expect refugees to learn a complicated language when they could also move to England or Italy with their simple idioms. Or to Malta, they speak Arabic there already.
Fourth, we have bears in our forests. It’s not really safe here. Probably more dangerous than in Syria.
Fifth, we are too cold. No, not us as human beings, the climate. Have you seen Doctor Zhivago with all the snow? Yes, that’s how it looks here. You can’t seriously expect people from the desert to settle in Siberia. No, we haven’t heard about Sweden and Norway accepting hundreds of thousands of refugees. Also, their snow is not as cold as ours. And we don’t believe you that Doctor Zhivago was Egyptian. Or if he was, well, you see how unhappy he was in Eastern Europe.
Sixth, most refugees are Muslims. We drink vodka, pálinka, rakija and slivovitz all the time. That would offend the refugees, so it’s better they move on to non-alcoholic countries like Germany, France or Britain where they are not confronted with beer and wine wherever they go.
Seventh, if you want to know the truth, we are either genuinely xenophobic and racist or we suck at public policy and are worried that our electorate will judge us by economic progress, education, health and other complicated stuff. It’s much easier to insult families who have narrowly escaped bombardment and snipers and call them terrorists. They are such perfect scapegoats, these black people with names like Muhammad and Ali. (If only they didn’t have these cute children with curly hair, they make our demagoguery a bit trickier.)
Lastly, have you ever seen how we treat our own minorities, the Roma? If we don’t even provide basic services like water, sewage, roads or schools to some of our own citizens, how do you expect us to do this for foreigners?
We hope you have gained an understanding of our perfectly legitimate reasons to refuse any solidarity, help, compassion and humanity.
PS: The next tranche of the regional restructuring funds is due next week on Monday. Please make sure the bank transfer will occur on time!