- Szczsnowicz, the chairman of the local Muslim community in the eastern Polish village of Bohoniki.
- It was intended for soldiers and other border guards, but Szczsnowicz hopes some of it makes its way to the migrants.
When Maciej Szczsnowicz first saw migrants at the border, hungry and tired from the torture of being stuck while attempting to enter from Belarus, he cried.
Szczsnowicz saw individuals who were exhausted and hungry to the point of picking mushrooms off the ground to eat and eating the seeds of an apple when given one. But it was hearing the sounds of their pain that hurt him the most.
It’s the sound of the crying also screaming of the children, “He stated. “It’s the absolute worst.” As migrants from the Middle East have crossed from Belarus into an area of forests and swamps in Poland, Szczsnowicz has gotten to work collecting clothing and preparing food for them.
Many migrants arrived at Poland’s border this week, escalating a political standoff between the European Union and Belarus. With a buildup of forces on the wall, Szczsnowicz is also assisting in the feeding of soldiers and other service members protecting the country.
On Saturday, the Associated Press paid him a visit to a restaurant where he and other volunteers arranged a large pot of steaming chicken and vegetable soup.
While the border zone is closed due to a state of emergency that has been in effect since early September, his delivery of soup to the border has given him access that others do not also have a view of the people’s suffering just across razor-wire fences in Belarus.
For months, thousands of migrants have tried to cross Poland’s eastern border from Belarus, hoping to reach Western Europe. The arrival of migrants, the majority of whom are Muslims from the Middle East, is viewed as a problem that must be addressed by Polish and EU politicians.
However, a significant number of Poles see people in need of assistance and have been looking for ways to guide them. They are commonly ill or injured. Meanwhile, people all over the country have been donating money to organizations that provide food and other assistance to migrants in the woods.
The majority of the volunteers are Roman Catholic, as is their homeland. Still, Szczsnowicz is the head of the Muslim community in Bohoniki, where a small minority of Muslim Tatars who decided in the area 600 years ago remain.