A declaration by Maria Voce, President of the Focolare Movement, after the recent massacres that took place in Paris, Nigeria and Pakistan
Rome, January 17, 2015
One asks today, after the murderous attacks in Paris and the massacres in Nigeria and Pakistan, whether there is need for dialogue between people of different religions and cultures. I beg to reverse the question and ask: can we live without dialogue in a globalized world? On our planet, besides an increase in the number of people who choose to emigrate in search of employment or otherwise, there are entire populations who are forced to flee from their countries because of persecutions taking place in various parts of the world. These people are uprooted from their environment and their future, and are forced to live with others of different races, cultures, opinions and religions.
The pressing question in our Western countries is: how do we live with these people? The answer is clear: we either dialogue or fight with one another. But conflicts lead to the destruction of both residents and immigrants, while openness and dialogue create life and lead to life. Dialogue between people of different creeds always leads to something constructive from which their society and all humanity can benefit, because their actions are based on the fact that they recognize themselves as brethren. I have noted this during my trips to places in the Middle East, Africa and Asia where dramatic situations are present. The brave commitment to dialogue is lived by children in their schools, by families in their neighborhoods and by many people in their workplaces.