Responsibility in the face of tragedy
Responsibility in the face of tragedy
"The tragedy of Cutro reminds us that the situation of migrants and refugees is everyone's responsibility."
I would like to express, on behalf of the International Union of Superiors General, our deep sorrow for what has been happening in these last days in Italy, following the shipwreck of migrants in Steccato di Cutro (Crotone) on February 26th. Every day, we are shown dreadful pictures that grieve us and arouse in us conflicting emotions. Deep is our righteous anger at seeing the number of victims increasing inexorably, just as the emotion and indignation we feel at the deaths of innocent men, women, and children; on the contrary, the generosity of rescuers and the testimony of the local people uplifts and encourages us to always support others. Along with the disputes concerning what could have gone differently, here comes our questioning on the value of existence, welcoming, and solidarity, while Pope Francis ceaselessly calls us all to fraternity, as the founding value of true humanity. We are bombarded with conflicting opinions by mass media, while boats, packed with hundreds of men and women in serious danger, are being rescued at sea. On the one hand, we see the people on these boats, who have been risking their lives, trying to reach the shores of Italy; on the other hand, we also see the incredibly crowded refugee reception centres, which are incapable of adequately responding to such an unprecedented migratory phenomenon. The data, which we are provided with, inform us that in the period from January until February, the landings of migrants doubled and, to try to stem the increasing migratory flows, many strategies have been developed in the world of politics, despite disputes and attempts to understand who is to be held accountable for these tragedies.
In this social framework, the International Union of Superiors General wishes to express its regret for what has been happening, aware that the matter at hand here is people, with their faces, and stories... It is our Brothers and Sisters, who, in search of and hoping for a better future, embark in perilous journeys at sea.
Deep is our sorrow for the deaths taking place in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. We cannot be left astonished in the face of the victims who lost their lives at sea and saw their human rights drowning with them, as their hope got destroyed. We have already, on other occasions, spoken words of sorrow and wisdom. Now the time has come for change. The cry of victims can no longer leave us indifferent. We want to make their despair be heard, while being the voice of their pain and their wounded, mortified, and annihilated dignity.
Humanitarian tragedies of this scale cannot be tolerated anymore. Laws and economic policies that ignore human rights, that condemn people to misery can no longer be tolerated. This tragedy reminds us that the situation of migrants and refugees is everyone's responsibility. We ask national and European governmental institutions to "choose life" (see Deut 30:19), by developping responsible and humane support and aid strategies, agreeing on humanitarian corridors, promoting equity as a principle of social justice, the very basis of peace and friendship between peoples.
We cannot forget that sacred history is full of people fleeing and people welcoming.
While we ask the Lord to give us a compassionate heart, capable of feeling genuine pity and contrition for what, due to human fault, has happened once again, we implore Him to give us the strength to understand how to intervene, to not become used to these images, to line up on the side of the weak and to recognise the value of others. Life is precious, it is a gift from God, it is always and in any case worth the Blood of Christ. We are asked to commit ourselves to take action for and safeguard this common, precious good.
Sr Nadia Coppa, ASC - UISG President
Rome, March 11th, 2023
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