Year 135 - December 2023Find out more

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On the road to peace

Fr. Livio Tonello, director

Nowadays it is difficult to speak about peace. The impacts of war devastate many countries of the world: attacks, counterattacks and demonization of the adversary. We see it in Ukraine, attacked and invaded by the Russians. We see it in the conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine. Many houses and cities were severely bombed; many soldiers fell in battle and thousands of innocent lives killed.

The war, however, is not only in Ukraine and the Middle East. There are other conflicts and humanitarian crisis all over the world. Pope Francis said that we are living through a third world war in pieces: In Syria armed conflict began more than ten years ago without no perspectives for peace. Millions of Syrians have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety. The forgotten war in the Yemen has caused a terrible humanitarian crisis, Ethiopia is ravaged by drought and ethnic conflicts, the Tigray region is in the throes of an atrocious humanitarian crisis. In this terrible list there is also Somalia and the Islamic extremism that spreads terror in Northern Mozambique where more than one million people have had to flee their homes.

Anyhow peace is not impossible because so many people suffer for the conflicts. Cultural and economic globalization have caused countries to become more connected politically but war often becomes the worse politic. The globalized world should be the connection of different part of the planet and of the experiences of people around the world but it causes many armed conflicts. The global world urgently needs an architecture of dialogue that protects and affirms peace, always and in every context.

We must seek peace because of the suffering of millions of innocents in war. Peace is difficult but it is possible; we must never stop seeking dialogue, the construction of peace at all latitudes, appears increasingly necessary. Pope Francis said: “the plea for peace cannot be suppressed, it rightfully summons everyone, beginning with government leaders, to take time and listen, seriously and respectfully. That plea for peace expresses the pain and the horror of war, which is the mother of all poverty” (International Meeting of Prayer for Peace of world religions, Rome 25 October 2022).

From my experience a real artisan of peace is able to create dialogue where people can find themselves anew by listening to all those who are involved in a conflict. If all this happens we glimpse the beginning of a peace process. Pope Francis said: “Let us defuse conflicts with the weapons of dialogue”. We must try to do it with courage. In the Gospel we read: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Matthew 5,9): brothers and sisters who listen to each other.