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August 20 2015 | CATANIA, ITALY

To welcome is an embrace that says "I don’t agree" to rejection and fear. The Youth for Peace at the dock of Catania

They offer a smile, a pair of shoes and dry clothes to those arriving. A flower and a prayer for those that did not make it

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To reject is an act of war, to welcome is an act of Peace. With this clear conscience this morning many youth for Peace went to the port of Catania to welcome more than four hundred migrants and to greet forty-nine of them that did not make it, because they were suffocated in the hold of the boat where they boarded. We are at the port, once again, here in Catania to greet forty people who sought hope and found death. It is not a ritual, it is only a prayer of young people rising up in the sky accompanying friends that never arrived. It is the prayer of those who wanted to be welcomed alive. It is our "I don’t agree!"

Today is the day of silence, but also that of a growing solidarity between the city of Catania, between its young people and those who, from the other side of the Mediterranean, arrive exhausted to our shores.

As soon as news spread about the arrival of the ship that would take them to the port of Catania, the first aid began to arrive at the headquarters of the Community of Sant'Egidio. Especially shoes, because many of them came barefoot and dressed in a few rags, there were many children and women. But the port also needs a smile, someone to play with children, a word of comfort, so there were also many young people for peace, new Europeans from various reception shelters who helped with translations and listened to the words of those who were successful in the journey.

For the Youth for Peace to welcome today is really an act of peace, a hug between peoples, a hymn to the future.

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