By Paolo Naso: the European churches should join forces to face the challenge of migration.


NEV Agency

At the conclusion of the conference “Vivere e testimoniare la frontiera” (Living and witnessing the border), held in Palermo, Paolo Naso, coordinator of the Mediterranean Hope project promoted by FCEI, appeals to the European churches.

Lampedusa (NEV), October 3, 2017 –At the end of a busy day of interventions held yesterday at the prestigious municipal headquarters of Villa Niscemi in Palermo, Paolo Naso, coordinator of the  Mediterranean Hope Project  –Refugee and Migrant Project of the FCEI , appealed to the participants attending the conference “Vivere e testimoniare la frontiera – Migrations, Borders and Reception” from September30 in the Sicilian chief town to explore the size of the frontier: «Churches in Europe have a role to play, but they should face this challenge unitedly.» Then, addressing the European policies that have not been able to govern the migration flows nor stopping them or integrating, Mr. Naso said: «We must confess our sin too, since the actual European failure is also a moral failure, and it is our failure, too. »

«Emotionality has been separated from rationality leading, for example, to the rejection of the ius soli law. Rejecting that law means going against the same national interest. » Mr. Naso said.

As for the contemporary migratory flows, which are nothing more than the 800,000 young individuals « actually Italian, but not according to the law», Mr. Naso explained how we are facing a system of communicating vessels: if we close on frontier, the flow pressure will find other irregular routes out. «Frontiers cannot be closed without working on stabilization and cooperation policies, and without opening safe and legal gates for those who are entitled to international protection. The humanitarian corridors that we have promoted and built over these two years are not the only solution, but they are a valid and successful experience concerning migration management. We must also review the right of asylum, which is still like it was at the time of the Berlin Wall and which today demands different challenges and strategies. It is difficult to courageously jump into a complex reality, but we want to make it freely, facing uncertainty with confidence and hope. »

The moderator of the Waldensian Board, pastor Eugenio Bernardini, has recalled the role of believers at this particular historical moment «Migrations question our Christian conscience, for you were foreigners in Egypt. » The Cardinal Francesco Montenegro, president of Italian Caritas, echoed him, who, in the face of the many Christians who do not want migrants and do not want to welcome them, said: «This means tearing the pages of the Bible. » The card. Montenegro has talked about the humanitarian corridors from Ethiopia, promoted by the CEI that are about to be launched. Pastor Jean Fontanieu, of the Fédération de l’Entraide Protestante, has brought his experience of humanitarian corridors from Lebanon to France.

The conference in which participated experienced migration scholars (among whom Valerio Calzolaio, Maurizio Ambrosini, Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo), and journalists working at some frontiers (Nancy Porsia and Giacomo Zandonini) as well as volunteers of the European churches working in migrants and refugees reception projects and the advocacy (Doris Peschke), started with an institutional moment – the participation of Giuseppe Mattina, assessor for social policies of Palermo local council, to highlight the importance of a synergy between civil society, institutions and politics when facing migration and reception issues.