We must listen to witnesses on the ground who are seeing abuse, duplicity, and the dereliction of duty firsthand. Our lives depend on their voices being heard. The op-ed by Sean Thomas, International Director of Investigations at Animal Equality.
Pope Francis’ visit to Africa is more explosive than a thousand bombs
Pope Francis embarks on his first Africa journey that will lead him to 3 countries tackling global issues, such as terrorism, war, and civil rights.
From 25 to 30 November, the head of the Catholic Church will be on a mission in the African continent: he will visit Kenya, Central African Republic, and Uganda. It is Pope Francis’ first trip to Africa and the tour has been confirmed despite the recent terror attacks carried out all over the world. Moreover, the pontiff will ride in an open popemobile, with no glasses or other forms of protection. Pope Francis will meet believers, political and religious leaders of different countries, trying to spread messages of unity, tolerance, and reconciliation.
All human persons – all of us – are important in God’s eyes.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) 19 Novembre 2015
Karibu Kenya, welcome to Kenya
The first destination is Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. Pope Francis will hold 7 speeches in 3 languages: English, Spanish, and Italian. Among the events on the agenda, he will visit one of Nairobi’s slums: Kangemi. Despite Kenya is a growing country, only 30% of the population have access to social services, only 62% to drinking water. A massacre of 150 students has been carried out at the University of Garissa on 2 April.
Uganda and civil rights
Uganda is known to the world for its laws that establish homosexuality a crime. President Yoweri Museveni said in an interview that gays and lesbians are “repugnant”. Ugandan jurisdiction provides life sentence for gay people considered recidivists, and bans LGBT rights or any form of support to them. An uncivilised legislation. Pope Francis, despite he doesn’t openly support same-sex couples, said: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
Central African Republic and the civil war
It is the first time that Pope Francis visits Africa, but it is also the very first time that a Pope visits a country with an ongoing civil war. In the capital of Bangui, he will meet the Islamic community in a mosque located in one of the city’s most dangerous districts. The aim is to foster dialogue and underline that violence cannot be legitimised in the name of God, whoever it is. Since 2013, there’s a conflict going on in the Central African Republic between Christian militias and the Muslim population, which caused over 5,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of refugees, both within and outside the country’s borders. From the cathedral of Bangui, the pontiff will officially inaugurate the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, to start on 8 December all over the world. A symbolic yet extraordinary act, in a country that needs to find unity again, after years of fratricidal conflicts.
Pope Francis’ journey will end on 30 November. Everyone hopes it could become a proof of how dialogue between people, open-mindedness, and the meeting between cultures can help end conflicts and fight violence, more than all bombs and reprisals can do.
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