Fr. Lombardi editorial : Do not forget Somalia

The drought in the Horn of Africa has created a dramatic humanitarian emergency and the Somali people are its main victims
by Vatican Radio | Source: News Va

 2011-07-16


Hunger and thirst are pushing countless people to a desperate search for help, many fleeing to neighbouring countries, to refugee camps, at a rate of almost two thousand people a day. There are reports of exhausting marches on foot under the threat and attacks of predators, and even of children attacked by packs of hyenas.


In July of 1989 Mgr. Salvatore Colombo, Bishop of Mogadishu, was assassinated in front of the door of the cathedral. Since then, the apostolic administrator of the diocese has resided outside of the country. In 2003, the lay volunteer nurse Annalena Tonelli was shot and killed in Somaliland, was then the turn of Sister Leonella Sgorbati, who died - as the Pope recalled January 7, 2007 - "asking forgiveness for her killers." These are only three names, to say that the Catholic Church is present and suffers with people of Somalia, but by now the countless innocent victims are countless, even among other Christian denominations, because of fundamentalist hate, and among the civilian population because of the armed struggle between political and ethnic factions. For twenty years the country has been without leadership, rampant piracy pervades its coasts is, many aid workers have had to abandon their commitments because of the violence and threats they are subjected to.


Even if the Pope remembers Somalia every year in his speech to diplomats, there is a widespread perception that world public opinion and the international community have resigned themselves and have left this country to its unfortunate fate. Do we also try to forget it, will the horrific images and the anguished appeals of these days succeed in awakening our sense of responsibility and solidarity?


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