It is one of those rare images
that make profound policy statements – yet, will it change anything?
What Pope Francis did today could
not have been better than it – and could not have come at a more opportune time
The Pope chose the Holy Thursday
rite to convey the message that we all so desperately need – that we all are
same – in joy – in pain – that we all are brothers – be it the European
residents – or the migrants from Asia and Africa that have created the biggest human
crisis in the Europe since the World War II.
When he washed and kissed the feet
of refugees, including Muslims, Christians and even Hindus, it was a strong
counter-statement to those who are out there to exploit the xenophobic mindsets
to score political mileage.
Remember the rise of Adolf Hitler
in Germany – who exploited the nationalist sentiments of Germans after the loss
and humiliation of Germany in the World War I to create his brand of
ultra-nationalism that ultimately gave the world the World War II and the
Holocaust and millions dead across the continents!
Yes, it is not going to be the
World War III – but again, human lives are at stake – and millions of them.
Thousands have been killed in the
ongoing war theatres in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria, Libya,
Yemen, Lebanon and many other Asian, African and Central American countries.
And the war-torn nation states
have left millions of displaced – desperate to find some shelter – desperate to
find the next day of their lives.
And the exodus is coming mainly from
Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
We talk of universal nature and values
of the human rights.
We have a world body for it – the
We have a global agency dedicated
to look after the affairs of the refugees – the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees.
We have an International Criminal
Court – we have an international police organization (Interpol) – and we have
many strategic and trade bodies panning across the globe.
That directly tells we all are
global citizens with similar rights to live and grow.
Now, when there are domestic war
theaters forcing people out of their homes, of their cities, of their countries
– isn’t it the responsibility of everyone – including those in Europe – to give
them shelter – to give them a place to live – to preserve their right to live
Yes, these are utopian
propositions – but have always been true – and will always be – even if the
ground realities are starkly different.
When Pope Francis delivered his
message of ‘brotherhood’ by embracing the Muslim refugees, he just did that.
It was a humane attempt to convey
the message of seeing the God in everyone, be it a Christian or a Muslim, in
the times of war rhetoric and increasing anti-migrant voices in the European
establishments after the spate of terror attacks in European nations,
especially France and Belgium.
Let’s hope sense prevails –
because the millions – displaced from their houses – and trying to pick the
thread of their existences in Europe - need it desperately.
Image Courtesy: Vatican Radio’s Facebook Page (see the video here – https://www.facebook.com/VaticanRadioEnglish)