Hungarian MEP posits that posting pig heads along border could effectively deter refugees

Hungarian MEP posits that posting pig heads along border could effectively deter refugees
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

One member of the European Parliament apparently thinks posting pig heads along the border of his country could be an appropriate way to keep migrants out — or at the very least, it could be an interesting "thought experiment.

On Friday, Andrew Stroehlein of Human Rights Watch tweeted an article by the Washington Post describing Hungary's use of vegetable scarecrows — beetroots carved to resemble human heads — to scare Syrian refugees out of trying to make it over the country's border fence. 

 Stroehlein pointed out the "lunacy" of the scarecrows, and according to Reuters, Hungarian MEP György Schöpflin pounced. 

"Human images are haram," he tweeted. "But agree, pig's head would deter more effectively."

And then a Twitter fight broke out. Stroehlein accused Schöpflin of "spouting xenophobic filth" and called him "an embarrassment to Hungary, to Europe and to humanity." Schöpflin later told members of the media (Reuters and the Independent's Siobhan Fenton) that the "hypothetical" statement was merely a "thought experiment." 

Hungary, according to the Independent, is infamously harsh toward refugees, having accepted just 146 of the 177,135 people who applied for asylum there in 2015. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has advocated for the building of a "European defense line" along Greece's borders with Bulgaria and Macedonia. 

Hungary's own wall — 13 feet tall, topped with razor wire and patrolled by police with German shepherds — deterred migrants from making the crossing for a time, according to the Washington Post. But in early 2016, numbers began to climb again. 

Many have called Hungary xenophobic, and Schöpflin is a conservative government official propagating stereotypes. His is approximately the line of reasoning Dog the Bounty Hunter once used to explain his ISIS-fighting plan to Mic: "They're afraid of pigs and pig blood and that stuff as much as we were afraid of AIDS in America back in the '80s."


For his part, Schöpflin will not be apologizing. 

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Claire Lampen

Claire is a staff writer at Mic who covers women's issues and reproductive rights. She is based in New York and can be reached at claire@mic.com.

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