Lombardi editorial: The hour of Somalia?

2012-02-24 Vatican Radio

In these last days, an important international Conference on Somalia has taken place in London. Everyone hopes that this will be a new starting point for the reconstruction of state institutions, practically non-existent for more than twenty years, destroyed by instability and civil war. It is a poor country, practically abandoned by the international community to chaos and violence, which, in time, led to the growth of piracy in the surrounding seas. War, famine, and poverty: the ancient scourges of humanity have raged, and continue to rage, against a people that have lost the memory of hope. The toll of victims is difficult to measure. They are too many, and they are unknown. Certainly, very many are children, and the testimony of refugees about the violence of the Shabab militias makes the skin crawl…

Catholics are a tiny minority – in many places there are none at all. But they have given many beautiful examples of martyrdom, in solidarity with the suffering people. Let us remember a few of them: Bishop Colombo, the last resident bishop of Mogadishu, killed in his cathedral in 1989; Graziella Fumagalli, a lay volunteer and a doctor, killed in her hospital in 1995; Annalena Tonelli, another doctor, also killed in her hospital, in 2003; Sister Sgorbati, a religious nurse, killed leaving the hospital in 2006. “May the whole Church,” wrote Annalena, a few days before she was killed, “understand and accept that even if it seems to be losing, love ultimately triumphs: that love that is truth, goodness, non-violence, forgiveness, rivers of compassion.” With this spiritual heritage, we long to participate in the work of reconciliation, peace, and reconstruction in Somalia.