Public life will come to a brief halt in Budapest this Wednesday. The Hungarian capital will, together with the whole of Europe, observe a minute of silence for the victims of the pandemic and all who are suffering from its consequences, mayor Gergely Karácsony announced.
“At 12 noon on 24 March, public transport in Budapest will also stop for a short moment to share the grief of those who have lost loved ones, friends and acquaintances,” Karácsony writes in a personal statement. “With this gesture, we would like to thank all those on the front line, doctors, residents, nurses, paramedics and those who keep our cities and Hungary running during the restrictions.”
Based on the figures from Friday and Saturday, Hungary had the highest death toll per million people in Europe, Karácsony states. “Never before has Hungary topped such a sad list.”
The minute of silence is an initiative of European cities and their network Eurocities, which brings together around 200 cities from 38 countries in Europe.
“We cannot become numb to the dramatic data that is being reported every day”
“I know that a minute’s silence will not lessen the pain of mourning or alleviate the suffering caused by the pandemic and its consequences,” Karácsony writes in his statement on Facebook. “But it is perhaps a good reminder that we cannot ignore, we cannot become numb to the dramatic data that is being reported every day. Because behind the data, the figures, the statistics, there are fates and people, people who have loved and who are loved. Their absence is irreplaceable, it is our duty to remember them, to share the grief of their loved ones. And there is not a day that we do not owe a debt of gratitude to those who fight for lives in hospitals and clinics, in ambulances.”
Karácsony called for political quarrels to be put aside. “The dramatic mortality figures, the devastation of the pandemic, can only impose a mandate of cooperation and compassion on all decision-makers.”
Karácsony encouraged the people to persevere. “I ask you all to keep your patience – which I know is running out”, he writes. “We still have to endure, take care of each other, take care of ourselves. And if you can, join the one-minute silence initiative on 24 March at noon – not only in Budapest.”