Hungary is doing it’s best to help the persecuted
Listening to the people in need - that is what Hungary does in its humanitarian program, the Hungary Helps initiative. Some regard the idea "innovative", however, there's nothing new among the basic principles, which were founded on rational arguments. Project manager Stephan Rasche from the Aid to the Chruch in Need in Nineveh, Iraq told S4C that the Hungarian example is outstanding in its simplicity.
What attitude the European Parliament has in terms of providing aid?
I spoke on this subject in front of a somewhat skeptical crowd at the European Parliament in Brussels over a year ago, and somewhat chastised them because we had quite a group of people who were telling us what needed to be done and why the Christians should not be singled out for any special preference, and why the European Parliament needed to be careful about how they did different things as it pertained to the Christians. Our response was: well the Christians are about to disappear! At the time we were responsible for tens of thousands of displaced Christians from Mosul who had been violently expelled from their homes and were living as wards of the Church and in shelters in Erbil.
I asked the members of the European Parliament: what is your plan for these Christians who have been violently removed permanently from their homes. In their plans, which they were devising at the time to provide financial support for the economy in Mosul, there was no provision whatsoever for these displaced Christians living in churches and shelters.
So we had this ongoing discussion back and forth and at one point I provided the model of what was going on at the time in Telesqof from the Government of Hungary. At our darkest hours when no governments were helping we were trying to put our people desperately back into their homes so that the towns would not be empty and occupied by others.
What sort of help do you really need?
I would like to speak about the unique example of Hungary.
The Government of Hungary came to us and said: ‘we can help you – what do you need?’ We explained to them what we needed, they listened, put together a contract – it was a straightforward contract between the Archdiocese and the Government of Hungary.
They funded the money and in sixty days we saved the town. Sixty days! We saved the town of Telesqof. And the Government of Hungary did that.
According to the Hungarian model local help is the most important, in addition to the real need of the communities. The contract between the Church and the Government of Hungary guarantee the proper use of the donation.
Basically, we need assistance for the reconstruction of the damaged residential buildings. But the reconstruction of public institutions such as schools, hospitals and churches is also essential. Furthermore, reconstruction by the local population is the best solution, namely, these projects create new jobs and help to revitalize our local economy. The Hungarian projects fulfil these purposes.
Why the so-called Hungarian example is of utmost importance? The European Union doesn’t help?
There is nothing to stop the European governments who have the money at hand to do similar projects; there is nothing to stop them except to make this courageous decision to say: ‘these are persecuted people, victims of genocide and we can save them!’
So far Hungary has done that, we hope and pray that European countries will follow soon and primarily the gathering of V4 countries.
I have no doubt that if we had five European countries like Hungary the Christian population of Iraq would be stabilized – now – already!
Do you have a message to Hungary?
We cannot thank the country of Hungary enough. The love that the people of Northern Iraq feel towards Hungarians is real and we see it every time they come to visit us.