Sunday 29 June 2014

Ceuta, Spain - The closeness of the communities of Sant’Egidio to the asylum seekers of the Holding Center

Ceuta and Melilla are two small Spanish towns in Africa, surrounded by Moroccan territory. These are the only outposts of the European Union in Africa and thousands of men and women of all ages head there in search of an opening in the frontier that separates the wealthy world of
the North from the wretched landscape of the South.
Europe, so close yet so distant. For years now there have been repeated en masse attempts to break in. In the last such attempts, just a few days ago, many refugees and migrants were brutally hit, according to various witnesses, by Moroccan police, while their Spanish colleagues stood by. The Madrid government has put in place metal fences and various other systems to dissuade or repel the assaults of those who hope to find dignity, freedom and security under a new sky. Ceuta and Melilla are another wall of our apparently global - but often pieced up - world village, as witnessed by the border between the United States and Mexico, the barbed wire system separating Greece and Turkey and many others ....
The border at Ceuta is a place of suffering for many. In January, a Spanish delegation of the Community of Sant’Egidio visited the CETI (Temporary Holding Center for Immigrants) in the Tangiers area, in Morocco, along the barrier that surrounds Ceuta. The CETI of Ceuta houses more than 500 asylum seekers
from sub-Saharan countries. The purpose of the visit was to learn more about the conditions of the many who attempt to enter Europe and of the few who succeed.
The bond established with the guests of the CETI must not be broken because, as is written in the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 25, “I was a stranger and you invited me in, a prisoner and you came to visit me”. On June 21st a few members of the Community of Madrid organized another visit and a get together with the asylum seekers of the CETI.

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