Hungary, from removing barbed wire to erecting it

27 June 1989: The Foreign ministers of Austria, Alois Mock (L) and Hungary, Gyula Horn (R) cut through the barbed wire that separated the two countries

From German weekly Der Spiegel in 2009:

When the Iron Curtain was torn open for the first time, on June 27, 1989, an image made its way around the world. It showed two men dressed in suits, using bolt cutters to nip holes in a barbed wire fence.

The men, then-Austrian Foreign Minister Alois Mock and his Hungarian counterpart Gyula Horn, had traveled to the Austrian-Hungarian border that day to send a signal that the division of postwar Europe was coming to an end. Shoulder-to-shoulder, wielding the bulky bolt cutters against the wire fence, they seemed to be conveying the good news that the fence was finally coming down.

In reality, as then-Hungarian Prime Minister Miklós Németh says today, speaking in a coffee shop close to his home on the north shore of Lake Balaton, the removal of the border fence had already been underway for several weeks at the time. When Foreign Minister Horn proposed the fence-cutting ceremony along the border, Németh replied: “Gyula, do it, but hurry up — there isn’t much barbed wire left.”

That was 1989, that was then.

And now …

This video says about itself:

28 August 2015

Screaming in agony, a young migrant girl gets her hair tangled in barbed wire as her family scramble through mud seeking a better life in Europe.

Barely old enough to understand what is happening to her, the girl was forced to crawl under a razor-sharp fence to get across the border into Hungary.

But as she wriggles through the dirt, her hair becomes caught and she lets out a cry of pain.

A woman, believed to be her mother, who is carrying a baby in one arm, uses her other hand to untangle her and the family rush to safety.

On 27 June, 1989, an image from Hungary went around the world. A staged media stunt, it showed Hungarian Foreign Minister Gyula Horn and his Austrian counterpart, Alois Mock, cutting a hole in the barbed wire fence that separated Eastern and Western Europe. The opening of the Hungarian border contributed greatly to the collapse of the Stalinist regimes and restoration of capitalism in Eastern Europe. Twenty-six years later, the front pages of the world press once again carry pictures from Hungary. They show a razor-sharp barbed wire fence guarded by heavily armed police who are attacking desperate refugees with tear gas to prevent them from crossing the border: here.

Refugees Welcome supporters fight anti-migrant memes with satire – but not everyone gets it: here.


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