How a 16 year old Afghan refugee saved the life of a Hungarian homeless man

On Thursday, a homeless man in Budapest’s economically disadvantaged 8th District became agitated as he waited outside a small soup kitchen in Bérkocsis Street. The man may have been intoxicated, as he waited for his meal in Budapest’s relentless heatwave, with temperatures soaring to above 36 Celsius. According to eyewitnesses, the middle aged man became impatient and broke the glass door to the soup kitchen, puncturing his artery in the process. Bystanders and volunteers were horrified, as the man began to rapidly bleed to death in front of their very eyes.

Sixteen year old Aziz, one of over 106,000 refugees who have arrived in Hungary this year, was in the neighbourhood, and having lived through the violence and horrors of armed conflict in Afghanistan, he intervened and took the lead in halting the bleeding, during the long minutes before the ambulance arrived to the scene.

Eyewitnesses were astounded by how confidently and professionally this 16 year old boy was able to handle the life threatening situation. The paramedics took almost 20 minutes to arrive, and during this time it was Aziz who held back the bleeding and tried to bring calm to an alarming situation unfolding on the streets of central Budapest. The injured man remains in critical condition at a Budapest hospital.

What people soon learned is that Aziz is, himself, homeless in the Hungarian capital. He is living in an 8th District park. His father was killed back home in Afghanistan and he lost his mother and his siblings on the long, harrowing journey from Central Asia, through southeastern Europe and into Hungary, and has yet to be reunited with them.

When journalists from the Index news site asked Aziz about his act of courage and compassion, he responded that it was just the normal, natural thing to do.

A photo of Aziz, after his courageous and compassionate intervention in Budapest. The photo was sent to us by Szilárd Kalmár, who knew Aziz personally during his stay in Budapest.

A photo of Aziz, after his courageous and compassionate intervention in Budapest. The photo was sent to us by Szilárd Kalmár, who knew Aziz personally during his stay in Budapest.

“I am human and so is he. He was in trouble and I knew what I had to do. I did not have to think about it; not even for a moment,” said Aziz. Index journalists began referring to him as the “hero of Bérkocsis Street,” though it seems that this young man sees this as nothing more than a normal act of humanity.

Since Thursday, Aziz began volunteering at the local soup kitchen…in fact, when journalists caught up with him, he was busy slicing peppers and dicing tomatoes, for use in a traditional Hungarian lecsó, which they were serving to guests.

Aziz’s act of kindness was captured by a photographer behind the Facebook page entitled, Budapest Seen, which documents–through startling photography–the refugee crisis unfolding in the streets, parks and railway stations of Budapest. Earlier today, the page’s administrator published a graphic that read “Je suis Aziz.”

I hope that this story of humanity gets across to a broader Hungarian audience. Maybe it will nuance the views being pedalled by government officials and their media on the influx of “dangerous,” “dirty,” “uncivilized” foreigners invading the country and diluting its population and the Hungarian national character. Hungary needs people just like Aziz; I hope he submits a request for asylum and I hope that he is able to stay. Budapest will be all the better for it.

12 Comments

  1. This is a truly touching story. The question is whether or not the hardened hearts in Hungary will be softened–even just a little bit–by this. Based on the comments of people like Geza Hegedus on HFP’s Facebook page, the chances are slim.

  2. I agree, it is important for Hungarians to see this type of humanity, it may help them find their own. As for Geza, his kind can never win. Remember that.

  3. It is somehow very typical that marginalized individuals on the sidelines of our class societies are the ones who help other fellow human beings; for whom to act in a human way is above question. Should the disadvantaged, excluded, exploited and oppressed masses of the world irrespective of their ethno-religious background join their forces in order to help each other to emancipate themselves, we would witness the birth of a whole new and more humane world.

  4. He is a Hazara Mongol living in Afghanistan. These people are targeted by Taliban because of race and sect issues. Hazara are nice people they are not backwards. Wish we had refugees like him.

    • Why are you calling him a mongol hazara he is afghan and as an afghan i can tell you the whole Afghanistan is backwared thanks to west’s intervention…Afghanistan during the 70s was secure modern and liberal.

      • Because Hazara are being targeted by extemist groups , Taliban now Isıs and long time before during reign of Abdurrahman and being genocided.
        How they are Afgan? They are not safe in their own country..as this boys father .He lost all his family.
        Everyone so busy with Palestine ,no one knows about what is happening to Hazara.
        And also lots of people think every Afgan is Jihadi , not a good image at all.I wanted to underline he is not .

        • West intervention?
          “it is reported that during the reign of Emir Abdur Rahman (1880-1901), thousands of Hazaras were killed, expelled and enslaved”

          The Hazara people have also been the victims of massacre by Taliban and al-Qaeda Now ISIS kidnapped 31 Hazara..

          Why? Because they are not sunni ?

  5. I read in the Hungarian press that in the western part of Hungary close to the Austrian border, companies go bankrupt for labor shortage as all their employees chose to work in Austria as they are unable to make both ends meet from the miserable wages they can earn in Hungary.

    I wonder, whether this man could ever get the honorific “non-terrorist” refugee status from the government and will ever be allowed to take any of the dirty under-payed jobs in Hungary that no Hungarians want to undertake.

    No, I am wrong. My question is whether even if he is allowed to stay, would he be willing to do so and live in that misery that Hungarians live at home or will quickly move on to Germany or England.

    BTW. I know many countries even the admittedly xenophobe ones where refugees and foreigners are allowed to take jobs and take care of the elderly generation in old-homes, even male nurses in hospitals, construction workers etc. and they are payed decently.

    Wait a second. Hungary doesn’t need this solution. Fidesz has looted the country, crated an army of jobless and homeless, they criminalized homelessness and voila they have the free workforce of, jobless, homeless and convicts from prison houses. And they can do a job building razor fences without mandatory protective gear suffering more than 15 human serious injuries each day at the border. yet, the fence must be stand to protect Hungary from bad people.

    They should build that razor fence around the Parliament building.

    Oh, once there was one, not a razor fence just railing fences around the Parliament but Orban personally tore them down in order to show an example what to do with his fences when HE build them later on.

  6. Giorgio Magyaroni says:

    No, Mr. Adam, the 28% of the historic Hungary needs not the Azis’ of Afghanistan etc. etc
    Because the US and Russia on first line destroyed Afghanistan.

    The US and Russia should take care of all Azids. Remember the US destroyed also the historic Hungary.

    So, what you are looking for by this conditions? All refugee should go to USA, CANADA, FRANCE, RUSSIA and UK. Because they are the evils of all wars in the world.

  7. This article is extremely dishonest. The Afghan boy may have done a good act, but he is not a refugee. He is an illegal migrant. Trying to

    • Trying a make the people of Hungary and Europe feel guilty about their basic right to protect themselves from that insane invasion of many hundreds thousands of strangers on their homeland territory is disgusting.

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