Pope Francis: We Share the Earth

Coming to Marseille, a city of all mixes, a city of confluences, Pope Francis insistently threw a big stone into the pond* – into the mare nostrum, our common sea, we should say. This sea at the crossroads of North and South, East and West, washes North Africa, the Middle East, the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea, the Balkans and Latin Europe. This shows that the Mediterranean Meetings, a week of exchanges between bishops and young people, from September 17 to 24, were of crucial importance in the current circumstances. I experienced this when I was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean.

Francis reminded those who claim to follow his faith of their duties and their own beliefs. He begged to stop turning the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea into a cemetery; the equivalent of the population of a medium-sized French town, around 40,000 people fleeing the unbearable, have lost their lives there since the beginning of this century. We cannot relegate this to the chapter of news items. On the contrary, we are obliged to take stock of the thickness of the walls of indifference and cynicism which imprison humanity in the darkness of barbarism.

Some public officials stir up fear of migrants to try to exonerate their policy in the service of the minority of wealthy people. Pointing out the migrant, the immigrant, the child of an immigrant, serves above all to cover up the system which sows so much misfortune, fuels so many conflicts and wars, from North to South.

These expulsion fanatics pretended to listen to the Pope, but refuse to hear him. They criminalize non-governmental organizations that help migrants; the European Union is deploying barbed wire and police boats on the sea. From the government to the far right, xenophobia serves as a catch net for voters. And, do they dare to talk to us about the “values of civilization”? “European values” that the same people insisted on having it written at the head of the European treaties that they are “Christian”? In truth, these racist and xenophobic campaigns, these absolute rejections of the “Other”, undermine the foundations of what should allow us to create a common society, a common world. No human group can live on the basis of the rejection of the other when there is so much human common to defend, to develop, whether it is health, the climate, social protections against capitalist predators who , they know no borders. It is the construction of this “in common” that government acts voluntarily break, contradicting Article 13, paragraph 2, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights according to which “everyone has the right to leave any country, including his”, as well as its article 14 which considers that “in the face of persecution, everyone has the right to seek asylum and to benefit from asylum in other countries”. This right to asylum is written in golden letters in the French Constitution.

“He who has the right with him can go with his head held high,” Sophocles proclaimed. The large and sad coterie made up of the Minister of the Interior, European officials, the right and the extreme right, have a very low brow. When they have finished building their walls, installing their rows of barbed wire, restricting the number of visas granted, they dangle boxes of money to “transit” countries to whom they entrust the role of guardians responsible for make life impossible for those who wish to come to Europe.

We must be wary of the stories that anti-humanist circles tell about migrations since the majority of these take place between countries in the South. France is far, very far, from having contributed to welcoming Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Sudanese, Eritreans, Ukrainians and so many others who are fleeing wars and persecution, hunger and poverty. And, the general insecurity, the human insecurity with the difficult ends of the month, the rents that we cannot pay, the prices of food and energy which are soaring, the precariousness of employment, the Deadly conflicts like climate change are not the result of immigration but the fruit of a system that makes profit the alpha and omega of the organization of society and the world.

Social insecurity is not due to immigration but to capitalism which places all workers, whatever their origins, their skin color or their beliefs, in competition, to subject them all to the heel of iron of the violent law of money-king. And, the immigrant worker does not “cost” France, on the contrary it is an annual contribution of 30 billion euros in taxes and contributions. It is the government which organizes the clandestinity of a part of these workers, while the employers employ them in decisive sectors of the economy such as cleaning, transport, public works and construction, catering and hotel. Refusing to recognize it means wanting to make it a forced labor force, put into competition with other workers to squeeze everyone’s wages. This is, moreover, what is aimed at with the so-called “selected immigration” projects. The united battle for wages therefore involves the regularization of all those who are called “undocumented”. The charge of words serves more a vision of the world in the service of the powerful, than the construction of a common world.

The pope’s message is all the more powerful because it is linked to the great democratic and humanist ideals – which should serve as guides – taking into account the fractures and wounds of the world which bleed humanity, international conflicts and blows. state, droughts and floods. It also carries human aspirations for justice and democracy, peace and solidarity. The general interest and the progress of humanity call for respect for international law and a policy of welcoming solidarity and inclusion.

Beyond this, the times require major global cooperation initiatives aimed at designing a globality for human beings. This cannot be done without involving at the same time the countries of departure, the countries of arrival and those who migrate. Instead of only seeing migration as a “burden”, it would be time to truly measure its benefits, far from easy slogans, from the excitement of fears, as opposed to the rapprochement of cultures, otherness, of production itself. Here, as for other global human security issues, there is an urgent need to mobilize new international bodies dealing with the issues of global migration, how to support them humanly and socially, to open the doors to work and creation for them. , based on global conventions rejecting the war of all against all, defending the abolition of contemporary slavery which exploits and overexploits, violent, sequester, torture, rape, reduced to forced labor to the detriment of solid standards of protection for all and all, social security and human security for every human being populating our Earth. Europe, so bruised by warlike shipwrecks, should nevertheless remember that where humanity withers away, nationalism and barbarism flourish and strengthen.

A new type of global cooperation must also address the means of human and democratic development in countries currently in difficulty, while anticipating the new crises that climate upheavals will generate.

So do we have nothing to say, for example, about the strictly slave-like conditions of extraction, by often very young workers, sometimes children, of these rare metals used in our cell phones or electric cars? Do we definitely have nothing to say about the plundering of the wealth of African countries or the free trade treaties of the European Union which lead to the destruction of subsistence agriculture and push the children of peasants onto the roads of exile? Solidarity in internationalist struggles has meaning. It is cruelly topical. Contrary to popular theories, security does not stand alone. It includes: physical security but also guarantee of “decent” work, security in access to education and culture, social security, health security, food or energy security; it is included in the safety of life on the entire planet, in global and common human security.

It is time to change the nature of debates around migration issues. These will be an integral part of the new world that is advancing, as they have been of the entire history of the human race. Maintaining, as the European institutions do, migrants in fear and clandestinity amounts to adding misfortune to misfortune, with the reinforcement of exploitation, violence of all kinds, rape and racism; while the stigmatization of the migrant aims to constantly increase the electoral spoils of the right and the extreme right which serve as crutches for capital.

Rightly castigating archaic and bellicose nationalisms, Pope Francis calls for “a surge of conscience” in order to “prevent a shipwreck of civilization”. May it be heard by all! These words from Jean Jaurès shed a splendid light on the meaning of political action: “The day when [the homeland] turns against human rights, against the freedoms and dignity of the human being, it would lose his titles**. » May this message reach the parliamentary majorities!

At every moment, let us remember that “we inhabit the same Earth” and that it is our common humanity that we must build.

*Address from Pope Francis, extract cited by our colleagues from La Croix, September 24, 2023: “On the one hand, fraternity, which fertilizes the community with kindness

human; on the other, indifference, which is bloodying the Mediterranean. We are at a crossroads of civilizations. Either the culture of humanity and fraternity, or the culture of indifference: let everyone manage as best they can. »

This article is originally published on humanite.fr

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