the scathing speech of Pope Francis to the EU on the migration issue

History will not be able to blame this Pope for not having spoken with enough force against what he called on Friday “The war of this time”, namely the migration issue. On the second day of his visit to Greece, François went, Sunday, December 5, to the island of Lesbos to meet refugees who, from the Turkish coast, are seeking to reach a European country. There, he delivered in a soft voice his arguably most ardent speech, but also the most scathing, in favor of a radical change in the attitude of the countries of the European Union towards the migrants who appear at its doors. . For the current policy of preventing them from entering, he stormed, constitutes “A shipwreck of civilization”.

The tent under which a few dozen refugees from the Mavrovouni reception and identification center are waiting for him is set up ten meters from the shore of this Greek island, facing the Turkish coast which, although fifteen kilometers away, seems within reach of the boat. The immediate surroundings have been covered with limestone to make the rugged terrain more accessible. Around it are lined up tents and containers, in which some 2,200 people are crammed, nearly 30% of them children. Some are educated in the Greek schools of Mytilene, the others have access only to a “Informal education”says Angeliki, 28, an employee of the Catholic humanitarian organization Caritas Hellas, who works in the camp. “There is a majority of Afghans, Somalis, Congolese and Syrians”, she explains. Among the countries where these asylum seekers would like to go, “Germany is the most popular”, explains the young woman.

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Faced with this small assistance, and after having traveled the camp as close as possible to its inhabitants, the philippic of Pope Francis has developed in several registers. By quoting Elie Wiesel twice, the Pope first placed himself on a moral plane to ask for the awakening of the “Hearts deaf to the needs of others”. “Let us overcome the paralysis of fear, the indifference which kills, the cynical disinterest which, with its velvet gloves, condemns to death those who are on the margins!”, he said. Let us fight at the root against this dominant thought, this thought which focuses on its own ego, on personal and national egoisms. “ As five years ago, when he first visited the island of Lesbos, the pontiff insisted on the people behind the globalizing term of migrant. “Let’s look at the children’s faces, he asked. Let us have the courage to feel shame in front of them, who are innocent and represent the future. (…) Let’s not run away too quickly from the harsh images of little bodies lying on the beaches. “

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