Visiting the University of Roma Tre, Francis answers questions from students. The fundamental importance of dialogue, the search for "truth, goodness and beauty"; unity that needs differences; integration and "respect" as a response to the fear of the migrant, "but each country has to see what number it can accommodate. It's true: you cannot welcome [migrants] if there are no possibilities[for them]".
Rome (AsiaNews) - The fundamental importance of dialogue, the search for "truth, goodness and beauty"; unity that needs differences; integration and "respect" as a response to the fear of the migrant, "but each country has to see what number it can accommodate. It's true: you cannot welcome [migrants] if there are no possibilities[for them]": These are the topics addressed by the Pope in a long question and answer session, entirely off the cuff, to the questions of four students of the University of Roma Tre, where Francis went this morning.
The youngest of the Roman universities, founded just 25 years ago, the Pope was warmly welcomed by teachers and students and stopped at length to greet those who were waiting along the barriers at the entrance to halls. In addition to greeting the rector Mario Panizza, the program included the Pope's response to student’s questions. "I listened to your questions - said Francis- for which I am grateful; I had read them previously and I will try to give answers taking into account my own experience. I thought about it and made a speech that I will deliver to the rector. It’s a well thought out answer, but I would like to respond spontaneously because I like it better this way. "
The Pope addressed "fear of immigrants" seen as a threat to Europe's Christian culture, in response to the question put to him by Nour Essa, 31, a Syrian who arrived in Italy from Lesbos with Francis, on board his flight along with eleven other refugees in April 2016. She won a scholarship, waiting for the recognition of her degree in agriculture and masters in microbiology, obtained in France, and is currently enrolled in the third year of Biology in Rome.
"Europe - responded Francis - was made by invasions, migrations ... the Normans ... but you know better than me ... it was handcrafted in this way. Migration is not a danger: It challenges us to grow and this comes from someone who comes from a country where more than 80 percent are immigrants. "
Migrants are men and women like us
The Pope continued: “The issue of immigration must be well thought out, because migration is a massive phenomenon - think of Africa and the Middle East, towards Europe: this is not because of politics (...) No. That is not how I see it. It is because there is war and people who are fleeing war, or there is hunger: fleeing from hunger. But what would be the ideal solution? No war and no hunger, that is, to make peace, make peace or make investments in those places so they have resources to work and earn a living. But if there is hunger, they flee. " "And they are hungry because they do not work and do not work because they have been exploited. They flee. But then, to get to Europe where they think they will find a better status, there also are exploited by the traffickers, we all know that: Those who have turned the Mediterranean into a graveyard. Do not forget this: our sea, the 'Mare Nostrum', is now a cemetery. We should think about it when we are alone, as if it were a prayer. " And "How should receive migrants? How should welcome migrants? First, as human brothers and sisters they are men and women like us. Second, every country, every country has to see what number it can accommodate. It's true : [The migrant flow] cannot be maintained if there are no possibilities. But everyone can do this. Then, not only accommodate: integration. Integrating, welcome these people and try to integrate them. First, they learn the language, find a job, a house : integrate. There needs to be organizations to foster integration. The experience that I had when Nour came, I believe that three days after the children went to school and when they came (...) all together, from me to lunch, after three months, the children spoke Italian. The adults just a little, but the children were talking ... why? Because they went to school and the children we know learn quickly, is it not so? This is integration. And then, the adults had already found work and a person who had accompanied them in integration: open doors. Then it is important: they bring a culture, a culture that is wealth, for us. But they too must receive our culture and make an exchange of cultures. Respect. And that takes away fear. But there is fear, yes; but fear not only of migrants: the criminals that we see in the papers, the news, are from here, or immigrants, from everywhere: they are from everywhere. But integration is important: it is important to integrate. "
The Pope then recalled the young people who carried out the massacre in Zaventem: "They were Belgian, born in Belgium! Children of migrants, but ghettoized, not integrated! (...) There are some countries in Europe that give a great example of this, integration (...) for example, I know from the time of the military dictatorships in Latin America, Sweden: Sweden received many South American migrants, many. But soon, the next day they had a house, then a job (...) then the language ... the Swedes, for example, now have 9 million people, but of these, 890,000 are new Swedes, that is migrants or children of migrants who have integrated. The day I was leaving Sweden, the Minister came to take leave on behalf of the government (...) a woman, the daughter of a Swedish woman and a father I think, he was from Gabon, a migrant. A Minister of the State. Why? Because they know - and other countries have done such things - they do this. And when there is this: welcome, accompanying and integration, there is no danger from migrations. You receive a culture and offer another culture. This is my response to fear. "
Dialogue as an antidote to violence and even war was the theme of which Francis spoke in response to Giulia, 25, a Roman, who asked "what is the 'medicine' to counter the manifestations of violence, unfortunately always present in the history of humanity".
The Pope responded: “You talked about violent action, violence. But just think of language: the tone of our language has risen, so much. Today we talk on the street, at home, we shout, we insult as if it were normal ... there is also violence in the way we express ourselves in speech. And this is a reality that we all see". "Violence is a process that makes us ever more anonymous: it takes your name. Anonymous towards each other. It deprives you of your name and our relationships are a bit more anonymous: yes, it is a person that I have before me, with a name, but I greet you as if you were a thing. But that's what we see here, it grows, grows, grows and becomes the world's violence. No one today can deny that we are at war, and this is a piecemeal third world war. We tone down, speak less and listen more. There are many remedies, against violence, but the first, the very first, is the heart: a heart that knows how to receive, to receive what you think. And before we discuss, debate. If you think differently from me, let us try dialogue! Dialogue brings us closer, not only, it brings people together: It brings hearts closer. Dialogue creates friendship and social friendship ". "So often - but this is so frequent when there are political campaigns, debates on TV - before someone finishes speaking, the other responds (...) but wait, listen carefully to what he says, then think and answer. Listen well. And if I do not understand what you want to tell me, ask, 'But why did you say that, what do you mean? Because I did not understand '. The patience of dialogue. And where there is no dialogue, there is violence. I talked of war: it is true, we are at war. It's true. But wars do not begin there: they begin in your heart, eh ?, in our hearts. When I'm not able to open up to others, to respect others, to speak with others, to dialogue with others: war begins there. When there is no dialogue at home, for example, when instead of speaking, there is screaming and shouting. Or scolding. Or, when we're at the table, instead of talking, everyone has their mobile phone, this is speaking, yes, but with others. And that seed is the beginning of the war. Because there is no dialogue. And I think this is the foundation. "
Not uniformity, but unity in diversity
"A liquid Society" and "unity in diversity" were the last arguments addressed by the Pope spoke in response to questions put by Nicholas Antongiulio Romano - who had asked what about the value and significance of Rome for Pope Francis - and Riccardo Zucchetti who asked "how can we prepare ourselves to become workers of intellectual charity to contribute to a constructive renewal of society", in a globalized world.
"We must always seek unity - said the Pope. "Unity which is a totally different thing uniformity. Unity needs differences: unity in diversity. Unity is made with diversity. We are in an age, we live in an age of globalization and it is a mistake is to think of globalization as if it were a ball, a sphere, where each point is equidistant from the center, there is no difference, everything is uniform. This point is that in this way,... there is no difference and this uniformity is the destruction of unity because it removes the ability to be different. Unity in differences. This is why I like to talk about another geometric figure, not the sphere: the polyhedron. Yes, there is a many-sided globalization, there is a unity, but every person, every race, every country, every culture always retains its own identity. And this is the unity in diversity that globalization must try. " "And when you do that, you go that way, cultures grow, and the cultural level grows because it is a continuous dialogue between this side of the polyhedron and with this, with this, which are joined into one unit. I believe that the danger today – it is a real danger the world - is to design a unity, a uniform globalization and this destroys. "
"It is true that there is great speed in communications ... The Dutch 40, 50 years ago, had invented a word that I liked so much:" rapidization ", it is like geometric progression over time. That of Aristotle, no? Movement, when it arrives at the end is faster, the law of gravity and you go faster. And now communications is like this, at risk of not having the time to stop for assimilation, thought, reflection ... And this is important: becoming accustomed to this communication but without this speed, this "rapidization" - that word new – deprives me of my freedom to say 'No'. Becoming accustomed to dialogue at this speed. So often, such a rapid, weightless communication can become liquid-like, without any consistency and this is one of the dangers of this society - this is not my word, 'liquid society', Bauman said it-, liquidity without consistency. And we must take the challenge to transform this liquidity into concrete. The key word for me to answer the question of Richard Zucchetti is 'concrete': against liquidity, concreteness. Just think of the economy. What is the main problem with the economy today? The liquid economy. And when there is liquid economy, there is lack of work, there is unemployment".
"And when there is liquidity in the economy, for example, there is no concrete work. I will ask the question: our dear mother Europe, the identity of Europe - Nour spoke a bit of this - how is it possible that developed countries have such massive youth unemployment? I will not name the countries but the figures yes: young people 25 years old and under in one country: 40 percent jobless; another country close to this 47 per cent; another country - I am talking about Europe - 50; another country is almost coming closer to 60. This liquid economy removes the reality of work and takes away the culture of work because you cannot work, young people do not know what to do. And I, an unemployed youth do not find anything ... I look, and look, am exploited here, exploited there for two or three days ... And I find nothing ... At the end of the bitterness of the heart where does it take me? Dependency, dependencies are rooted there. Or it leads me to suicide. They say what they know, I'm not sure about that, I'm not sure, but they say that the true statistics of youth suicides are not published, they publish something. The real statistics, no. This lack of work brings me to decide, well, I will go away and enlist in a terrorist army, at least I have something to do and it will give meaning to my life ... Terrible. It is terrible. And this is a market economy, economy .... I do not know, I would say a liquid economy. Instead it must be concrete to solve economic, social, all the problems, even cultural: concrete, concrete. Otherwise you cannot [solve them]. Then there's another thing I wanted to say about this ... Yes, the university: It must be here, in your dialogue with Professors, in your questions and among yourselves: Why is this so? What’s more look for solutions to propose to the real problems, to counter this liquid culture".