In these days, where we prepare to celebrate the holidays together looking forward for the first time since the intense years of the pandemic to the possibility of embracing our loved ones, we live with the awareness that in too many corners of the world Christmas will not bring the peace we have so much hoped for throughout this year. In parallel, for us in Europe, crisis-related difficulties lead us to experience a more unstable Christmas, with many doubts about the future still looming overhead.
In Ukraine, this Christmas will be different from those that have come before. 10 months since the beginning of the conflict, no respite is planned for the days to come in the political agenda of this terrifying war. The heartfelt appeals of politicians and those of religious leaders have been to no avail: weapons will continue to strike cities, towns, homes, and families on Ukrainian territory, effectively erasing what we consider to be the meaning of Christmas.
These are also difficult days for women in Iran, deprived of their freedom and basic rights, and crushed by the physical and moral violence of a system that intends to regulate their bodies and minds.
In the Mediterranean, it will be yet another Christmas where children, women and men are subjected to the cold and frost of the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, as they risk their lives to try to reach a blind and deaf Europe that continues to pretend not to see, and that continues to consider human beings who are in danger, as unwelcome commodities, arguing over the country of reception and placement.
And what will Christmas be like for all the people who have the misfortune to live in a country battered by war, violence, persecution and poverty? For the stateless Rohingya families who are in the mega camps in Bangladesh and on Bashan Char Island? For those children, who in their lives, have never experienced a Christmas outside a cold shack in the mud of the refugee camps? For those who will continue to be subjected to violence and harassment in Libyan centers? For those who will find themselves alone, forgotten?
These days I wonder where our humanity has gone. How have we forgotten that feeling of human solidarity that, during this Christmas season, we should feel even stronger in our hearts. The greatest gift we can give ourselves is to rediscover our humanity, slumbering in the thousands of daily commitments and distractions, of a life we have whirled back into full swing, too often closing ourselves up in our own world, in our own backyard, without looking elsewhere.
I wish for all of us to rediscover our deepest humanity and to ensure that our thoughts and actions will always bring peace and unity, help and hope.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and may the New Year be better for each of us!