This morning over 100 representatives of Sant'Egidio from 25 African countries gathered for a ceremony at the site of the Nazi-Fascist massacre
This morning, more than 100 representatives of the Communities of Sant'Egidio from 25 countries, currently taking part in the Pan-African Congress "Africa will stretch out its hands to God" in Rome, went to the Fosse Ardeatine to commemorate the victims of the cruel Nazi-Fascist massacre during the Second World War. A delegation of Ukrainians also joined the pilgrimage, opened by a greeting of Sant'Egidio President, Marco Impagliazzo.
Before visiting the caves where the victims of the massacre were deported and murdered, they launched an appeal for peace and against all violence. Eventually the long procession reached the memorial with the tombs of the 335 people murdered on 24 March 1944.
Everyone laid a flower on the graves and a moment of silence was observed to remember all the victims of wars in the world. A symbolic memorial visit in the most significant place of the wound of war in Rome, at a time still marked by too many conflicts, such as in Ukraine and several African countries.
APPEAL FOR PEACE
We, representatives of the Community of Sant'Egidio in Africa, gathered in Rome for a pan-African congress, considered it our duty to visit the Fosse Ardeatine to commemorate the victims of the worst massacre recorded in the capital of Italy during the Second World War. A homage to the memory of those who lost their lives in this terrible massacre carried out by the Nazi-Fascists, and also a solemn pledge to take on the hopes for peace of so many of our African peoples still suffering from conflict, widespread violence, and the exploitation of land and resources. Remembering the 335 innocent people slaughtered in this place on 24 March 1944 encourages us to reflect on the great evil war always brings with it.
We were born many years after the end of the Second World War, which also affected Africa, yet today we can see violence has not been vanquished. It is not over in the world, and also in our continent where some conflicts have persisted for decades with no solution. Meanwhile, most recent phenomena, such as widespread terrorism in the Sahel and northern Mozambique, are causing people to suffer and displacing thousands of refugees. We are also deeply saddened by the prejudices many people suffer and the lynchings we witness all too often in our own countries. The poor and the weak are the first to be affected: elderly, people with disabilities, migrants, the homeless, street children.
We are close to all those suffering from violence, and so we want to huddle today, in particular, around our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, gathered here, victims of a war we would never have wanted to see in a continent like Europe, which has succeeded for so many years in preserving peace as a precious and supreme good.
At a time when there is too much resignation, even to the evil of evils that is war, we want instead to resist the logic of walls, separating people and peoples, rich and poor, and to be artisans of peace. We dream and build a world of peace, an Africa finally liberated from conflict, which looks to a future in its own land together with its young people. We believe in the strength of friendship between peoples and in living together. We strive for no one to erase pity from his or her heart, as happened tragically here. War never again, anti-Semitism never again, hatred never again! May the Lord give us peace and give it in abundance to those who await it, to Europe, to Africa, to the whole world.