Pope Francis' audience with the Humanitarian Corridors
Daniela Pompei - Community of Sant'Egidio
There are many of us today - mingled between those who have been welcomed and those who have opened their homes and hearts, in this embrace that are the humanitarian corridors. They were born out of the painful memory of deaths at sea, they were born out of weeping and prayer. Prayer and pain have helped us not to accept resignation, indeed to reflect, to struggle and build a path alternative to the barges. Prayer and pain have pushed us, forced us almost, to that creativity of love you Holy Father spoke of so many times.
Since 2016, 6080 lives have been saved, arrived in Europe legally, mostly in Italy, but also in France, Belgium and a limited number in the principality of Andorra and San Marino.
A small light in front of the wall of impossibility and the idea that you cannot do anything. Yet this is true for those who have arrived safely, but I am also thinking of the many asylum seekers who contact us from war-torn countries or refugee camps. The Humanitarian Corridors represent hope for them too: an alternative route is possible to the desperate sea voyages. There is a way when you only see walls.
Holy Father, today we can see the future here: a mixed people, of different peoples but building a fraternal and happy future. Fratelli tutti!
Opening a way was the beginning, then the daily challenge is to live together. How many children have been born in these years! How many weddings and furnished houses, reunions, graduation parties. So much life is born again even in the small depopulated municipalities. Problems too of course, but so much life!
Welcoming people has triggered a movement of integration and peace. Many here could tell their story. Parishes, associations, municipalities, religious congregations, families, so many people who have felt the responsibility to welcome. And those who were welcomed yesterday are today in the front line to welcome those who arrive.
'Together' is a crucial word in the humanitarian corridors. Welcoming cannot be done alone. It is necessary to be 'together' to welcome. We felt more community: this was an unexpected gift of welcoming. You welcome a family fleeing war and, as you take in those seeking shelter, you discover a community of people who help each other, struggle and hope with you.
Lebanon, Ethiopia, Libya, Pakistan, Iran, Niger, Greece and Cyprus, and in a different way Ukraine, are the outposts of the eight humanitarian corridors where the safe route to Europe begins. Afghans, Syrians, Eritreans, Congolese, Nigerians, Cameroonians, Sudanese, Somalis, Yemenis, Iraqis, Palestinians, Guineans, Togolese and most recently the Ukrainians, mostly women and children, have arrived.
We know each other now, yet this story of love and friendship began earlier. It was born when we went searching in the hell of refugee camps for people we did not know but already felt were our brothers and sisters. Need is great, so many, too many, continue to die. Continue to support us Holy Father, bless us, may we never become deaf to the cry that rises from so many places of pain. We feel the responsibility and the urgency, we must do more and we must hurry.