In Terris receives and relaunches the appeal to the Italian journalists written in recent days by Father Alex Zanotelli, Combonian missionary active in Africa since the 1960s, from the time of his consecration. Let us make our own the call to turn on the spotlight on the tragedies and on the iniquity perpetrated against the inhabitants of the Black Continent.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Excuse me if I am speaking to you in this sweltering summer, but it is the growing suffering of the poorest and most marginalized that pushes me to do so. For this reason, as a missionary I use a pen (I myself belong to your category) to make their cry heard, a cry that always finds less space in the Italian mass-media. I find in fact most of our media, both newspapers and TV, so provincial, so superficial, so well-integrated in the global market. I know that mass-media, unfortunately, are in the hands of powerful financial groups, therefore each one of you has little chances to write what he really wants. I do not ask you for heroic acts, but only to try to pass every day some news to help the Italian people to understand the tragedies that so many people are living.
I appeal to you journalists because you may have the courage to break the conspiracy of silence in the media that weighs especially on Africa. (Unfortunately, there are only few exceptions in this field!).
It is unacceptable for me the silence on the dramatic situation in Southern Sudan (the youngest African Country), entangled in a scary civil war which has already caused at least three hundred thousand deaths and millions of people in flight.
It is unacceptable the silence on Sudan, governed by a dictatorial regime in war against the Nuba, the people on the mountains of Kordofan, martyrs of Africa and against the ethnic groups in Darfur.
It is unacceptable the silence on Somalia in civil war for over thirty years with millions of interior and exterior refugees.
It is unacceptable the silence on Eritrea, governed by one of the most oppressive regimes in the world, with hundreds of thousands of young people fleeing toward Europe.
It is unacceptable the silence on Central Africa which continues to be torn apart by a civil war that does not seem to ever end.
It is unacceptable to the silence on the serious situation of the Sahel area from Chad to Mali where the powerful jihadists groups could establish a new African Caliphate.
It is unacceptable the silence on the chaotic situation in Libya where there is a clash of all against all, caused by that miserable our war against Gaddafi.
It is unacceptable the silence on what is going on in the heart of Africa, especially in the Congo, from where our most precious minerals come from.
It is unacceptable the silence over thirty million people that are at risk for hunger in Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, North of Kenya and around Lake Chad, the worst food crisis in the last 50 years according to the UN.
It is unacceptable the silence on climate change in Africa which risks by the end of the century to have three quarters of its territory inhabitable.
It is unacceptable the silence on the Italian sales of heavy and light weapons to these countries that only boost wars increasingly ferocious from which millions of refugees are forced to flee. (Last year Italy exported weapons for a value of 14 billion euro!!)
Not knowing all this it is clear that the Italian people cannot understand why so many people are fleeing from their lands risking their own life to reach Europe. This creates the paranoia of the “invasion”, cunningly fed by xenophobic parties. This force the European governments to attempt to block the migrants coming from the black continent with the African Compact, contracts made with African governments to block the migrants. But nobody will stop the desperate people of history. This is not an emergency question, but it is structural to the economic and financial system. The Un expects already by 2050 approximately fifty million climate refugees only from Africa. And now our politicians are crying, after that for centuries we have plundered their countries and we continue to do so with an economic policy which bring benefit only to our banks and to our enterprises.
And so, we find ourselves with a Mare Nostrum that became Cimiterium Nostrum where tens of thousands of refugees drowned and with them also Europe, as a homeland of rights is drowning.
In view of all this we cannot remain in silence. (Wont our grandchildren perhaps say what we say today about the Nazis?). That is why I ask you to break this press silence on Africa, forcing your media to talk about it. In order to achieve this, why don’t we prepare a letter signed by thousands of you to be sent to the Commission for the supervision of Rai and to the great national media? And what if this gesture was done by the Italian National Press Federation (FNSI)? Could this not be a journalistic African Compact, much more useful to the continent than the various treaties signed by the governments to block migrants? We cannot remain silent before another “Holocaust” that is taking place under our eyes.
Let us all work to break this cursed silence on Africa.