Hunger and thirst are pushing countless people to a desperate search for help, many fleeing to neighbouring countries, to refugee camps, at a rate of almost two thousand people a day. There are reports of exhausting marches on foot under the threat and attacks of predators, and even of children attacked by packs of hyenas.
In July of 1989 Mgr. Salvatore Colombo, Bishop of Mogadishu, was
assassinated in front of the door of the cathedral. Since then, the
apostolic administrator of the diocese has resided outside of the
country. In 2003, the lay volunteer nurse Annalena Tonelli was shot and
killed in Somaliland, was then the turn of Sister Leonella Sgorbati, who
died - as the Pope recalled January 7, 2007 - "asking forgiveness for
her killers." These are only three names, to say that the Catholic
Church is present and suffers with people of Somalia, but by now the
countless innocent victims are countless, even among other Christian
denominations, because of fundamentalist hate, and among the civilian
population because of the armed struggle between political and ethnic
factions. For twenty years the country has been without leadership,
rampant piracy pervades its coasts is, many aid workers have had to
abandon their commitments because of the violence and threats they are
Even if the Pope remembers Somalia every year in his speech to
diplomats, there is a widespread perception that world public opinion
and the international community have resigned themselves and have left
this country to its unfortunate fate. Do we also try to forget it, will
the horrific images and the anguished appeals of these days succeed in
awakening our sense of responsibility and solidarity?
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