Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Somalia Today: Bishop Giorgio Bertin

Father Giorgio Bertin, Bishop of Somalia & Djibouti

The immediate causes of the human disaster in Somalia are due to:

a) gross violations of human rights under former President Siad Barre;
b) the resulting struggle for political power;
c) famine because of civil war and drought;
d) Islamic fundamentalism against the very small Christian community.

The remote causes were:
a) Colonialism, the cold war, unjust economic order, trade of weapons;
b) exasperated individualistic approach of the Somalis, superiority complex, looking down on manual labour, the difficulty in making a state out of a nation.

The Church's contribution can be:
a) to help the international community to be aware and to change a world that punishes the weak;
b) to popularise the social teaching of the Church, especially through a better collaboration at the Conference level in its use of radio and mass media;
c) Caritas should help everywhere but without neglecting its Christian identity;
d) more brotherhood among different Christian denominations especially among the Muslims;
e) no tribal discrimination in our Churches and to this end we should institute commissions to combat the evils of tribalism;
f) witness of our faith in Christ starting with the Church leaders through a life of detachment, brotherhood, prayer, serious work, humility and service.

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