Two of the bravest women

Sister Gabriella och Reverend Iren making a stand for humanity in Hungary.

At the centre of this picture are two of the bravest women I ever met – Sister Gabriella Sári and Reverend Iren Honti. They both work with and for migrants in Hungary. So few they seem to be that engage in those kind of issues these days, so few that they all know each other.

Someone suggested we should meet with Sister Gabriella, so we spent an afternoon trying to track her down – with no luck. The next day she shows up at one of our meetings – she heard we were looking for her.

With her is her friend Reverend Iren from the Lutheran congregation at the border of Serbia. In the few hours we have together they try to explain so that we will understand – how grave the situation is, how far reaching is the injustice.

They tell us about the transit zones at the border, where those trying to apply for asylum are held – about the lack of food and health care. But also about what seems to worry them most, what they keep coming back to – the lack of humanity.

How the inhumane rhetoric is spreading from the hate-speech of the government to the self-censorship and silence within their own churches. Who will speak for the vulnerable and marginalized, Iren asks, if the churches become silent?

The programme Interreligious Praxis for Peace – A World of Neighbours has since its launch early 2018 met and interviewed practitioners from faith communities, working with and for people on the move, in several countries in Europe. This is a text based on notes and memories from these encounters.