Yesterday, 30 November, 2031 cities of the world were"Cities for Life”, cities against the death penalty. The movement was launched 14 years ago by the Community of Sant'Egidio, in the belief that involving civil societies and local governments of all parts of the world would strengthen the campaign against the death penalty. The movement of the "Cities for Life" has grown over the years.
And yesterday, 382 events were held simultaneously with the demonstration in front of the Colosseum in Rome, ready to be lit by coloured lights of life.
In front of one of the most famous monuments in the world, there were many to say YES to life and NO to tdeath penalty, and to listen again to the call for the abolition of the death penalty that pope Francis addressed to the Congress of the United States of America on his recent trip.
A delegation of Nebraska was in Rome, led by Senator Mark Kolterman and Miriam Kelle, activist of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.
After a battle of thirty years, Nebraska has abolished the death penalty, the seventh state of the US to do so. As pointed out by Sister Helen Prejean, it is a decisive step "to see the end of the death penalty in the United States".
This year the events of "Cities for Life" were held in the atmosphere of fear, widespread through the terrorist attacks that hit Paris, Bamako and other places around the world.
In this regard, Marco Impagliazzo remarked: "As death is sown, this event creates a movement of life and is an act of faith in the future. There are young people that are seduced by the culture of evil, but they must not be abandoned to the culture of death. And the death penalty, already in its name, is part of this logic of death that we want to abolish. We are tired of hearing about the culture of death and the death penalty".
We all know the problem of youth violence in the big cities in Latin America. Precisely for this, very significant was the demonstration held in Mexico City, with a large participation of young people.
Sant'Egidio has organised numerous initiatives in Africatoo (7 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo, 5 in Mozambique, 4 in Cameroon, 1 in Guinea Conakry) and in Asia.
Torchlight processions were held in Indonesia to spread the campaign against the death penalty, but also distributions of flowers in the squares of Jakarta, Kupang, Atambua, Jogyakarta, Kefamenanu, Bandung, Medan, Maumere, Ende, Pontianak and Duri.
Precisely in Indonesia, in fact, the death penalty struck again. 13 executions have been carried out in 2015, but last April the mobilisation of the Community of Sant'Egidio managed to stop the execution of two death row inmates.
Working for the abolition of the death penalty is an act of trust in the future that overcomes the culture of death.