10/25/2022, 18.13
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Card Sako: Amid terrifying wars, peace is solidarity between peoples, religions, and cultures

by Louis Raphael Sako *

The Chaldean primate spoke at a conference promoted by the Community of Sant'Egidio in Rome, which is set to end today at the Colosseum with an interfaith prayer in the presence of Pope Francis. The cardinal urges us to work for a “civic and democratic model" of the state based on "citizenship, not on a sectarian system that divides”.

Rome (AsiaNews) - In a world torn by "terrifying" conflicts, such as Russia's war in Ukraine or the many conflicts in the Middle East, peace must be built through "solidarity between peoples, religions and cultures,” said the Patriarch of Baghdad, Card Louis Raphael Sako, in his address at the conference "The cry for peace" promoted in Rome by the Community of Sant'Egidio, from 23 to 25 October. The meeting will culminate in a prayer for peace at the Colosseum this afternoon, in the presence of Pope Francis and representatives of world religions.

In addition to solidarity, the cardinal notes that it is necessary "to work to build a civic and democratic model based on citizenship, not on a sectarian system that divides". What follows is the Chaldean patriarch’s own thoughts:

Living together: Lesson from the pandemic

"The cry for peace" is a cry of hope for all humanity, especially in the world’s current situation, which is a source of great concern, such as, for example, the war between Russia and Ukraine and the tensions and conflicts we are experiencing in the Middle East, which are also terrifying.

The number of dead and injured is high, many schools and universities have closed, the lives of innocent citizens are almost paralysed. They live in panic and do not know what will become of tomorrow. It's terrible!

To build peace, we must promote cultural and religious diversity, closeness, solidarity as well as the efforts of every country and religion to stop the immediate danger of the pandemic!

We must build such an international union, learning from the pandemic, to end the absurd war between Russia and Ukraine, but also other conflicts. We must choose dialogue, diplomacy, and peace to solve problems, not use weapons.

Peace cannot be achieved without respect, love and brotherhood, the solidarity of all individuals and peoples, working for security and shared well-being. Peace, in fact, is an educational process. To achieve it, we must teach ourselves, work on ourselves.

Of course, peace is also a challenge, but our differences, the things that seem to divide us, actually allow us to be complementary. Each of us and each of our countries have a talent to offer to society as a whole.

We live in a new world that requires us to emphasise the importance of diversity, in line with the global approach that aspires to equal human rights, as well as respect for freedom and dignity of all.

Given these differences and these complementarities, we naturally depend on each other. When I know I need my neighbours, I show them even more attention. Today it is necessary to come out of ourselves to work in a simple and concrete way, with friendship, to build peace.

“Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus said (Mt 5:9). To build peace in our societies, true citizenship is a necessary condition for harmonious coexistence. Those who leave their countries of origin for the West seek rights and dignity.

Living together works on several levels:

- Religiously: we all believe in one God, even if our expressions are different;

- Socially: we are all brothers and sisters under the umbrella of humanity;

- Politically: we are all citizens of the same planet.

However, religious extremism has distorted coexistence, politicised sectarianism has wiped out the human mosaic, and corruption has destroyed society.

It takes a solid background in diversity, which is a form of wealth. The role of educational institutions is not only to teach so that people can find a job, but rather to train the new generations to be open, respect diversity and pluralism, and build up solidarity and coexistence with:

- The development of students' skills through honest dialogue and friendship;

- The strengthening of reconciliation and solidarity between different peoples, religions, and cultures, to achieve peace and prosperity for all citizens, as Pope Francis said several times during his visit to Iraq in March 2021.

From this point of view, I urge everyone in the West and the East to review inherited traditions with open rationality, to change them and remove all expressions of fundamentalism and hatred, so as to adapt to current reality and social diversity.

Ultimately, we must work to build a civic and democratic model based on citizenship, not on a sectarian system that divides.

To build peace in society, the development of true citizenship is a necessary condition.

* Patriarch of Baghdad

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