Saturday, 8 February 2014

Genoa, Italy - Solidarity with the world of the homeless, and a prayer that “the whole city may be as good as you”

One night at the end of January, in Genoa, four Slovak homeless people who were sleeping under the downtown porticos, Alica, Jan, Koloman, and Zuzana, were assaulted, beaten, and severely wounded. It was a disturbing, sad episode, involving the cowardly and inhuman persecution of those whom life had already wounded.
Genoa - both its institutions and citizens - reacted to the event with words and actions of friendship. Approximately fifty people lived “a night as a clochard”, in a sleeping bag, as a sign of solidarity with those who are exposed, each night, defenseless, to a faceless violence.
The Community of Sant’Egidio, for many years a friend of the world of the homeless in Genoa and other cities, organized a prayer in the Basilica of the Annunziata that saw the participation of hundreds of people. Among them were many young people, including the students of “Università Solidale”, who for some time have been engaged in collecting blankets for those
who live in the street.
Koloman and Alica, who had just left the hospital, were also present. On the Community’s website, www.santegidio.org, we can read the beautiful words of the first of the two: “My wounds have healed but the wounds of the heart are still there. However, it comforts me to see all these people close to us. I would like the whole city to be as good as you.”
The words of the head of Sant’Egidio in Genoa, Andrea Chiapponi: “We feel the need to stop and to listen to the Gospel, not to escape reality but because it is the only way to avoid the growth of rancor and violence in our city. Let us be silent, so that from this silence may be born novel words and feelings, capable of creating unity, of making us into builders of acceptance and peace.”

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