Pope Francis hails migrants in Lesbos

From BBC News

Pope Francis has denounced the “shipwreck of civilisation” in the wake of the “evil” of modern-day war.

Addressing refugees and migrants from Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran and Jordan in Lesbos, the Pope said wars had taught the world a “harsher culture of killing, lies and revenge” and left many enslaved.

He said the safe-haven island was a “national memorial of a national tragedy”.

These were the first words of Pope Francis, who on Saturday appealed to the Greek government to help the refugees and migrants.

Speaking to a crowd of thousands of people, about 200 of whom had taken the risk to cross the Aegean Sea by boat to reach Lesbos, Francis said he had witnessed the suffering of people who had been “beaten, raped, killed by evil wars, disasters and injustice”.

He said: “This shipwreck of civilisation that we saw today, as a result of the world’s decision to wage war and to become crueler, in all its forms, kills every time.”

He said the trip was his “first and most powerful message” to send to the refugee families who had travelled to the island.

“Today, with the great dignity that you carry with you, let us seek a way to rebuild your dignity so that we too may be transformed into brothers and sisters.”


Francis’ comments in Lesbos appeared to be a thinly-veiled reference to the Nazis’ death camps in Europe which were the most notorious examples of the Nazi regime’s holocaust.

But he was not referring to these atrocities. He referred to Greece and the island’s people as the “preserver of your dignity”.

The comments in Lesbos, like in most of his speeches on his four-day tour of Greece, were aimed at the world’s indifference and indifference towards those most in need.

On Monday he will visit a refugee camp on the island of Chios, where he will spend the night on a tent platform after his visit to Lesbos.

Pope Francis also lambasted Europe for what he called its greed and selfishness, for failing to lift “the veil of mystery” and for perceiving human suffering through the tools of money and consumerism.

‘Second place’

The Pope arrived in Lesbos on Saturday, where he was greeted by Orthodox Church leaders, before his speech.

He will be spent the night on Lesbos, the first papal papal visit to the island.

His visit comes just weeks after the Balkan route, which saw hundreds of thousands of people fleeing conflict in their countries of origin and journey through Greece, was closed.

Many hundreds of thousands of people have used the route, which runs from Turkey to the Greek islands, for crossing the Aegean and taking a longer route via Europe to Germany and other countries.

European countries are trying to sign up to a refugee pact that will see migrants sent back to Turkey if they fail to qualify for asylum in Europe.

A fifth of a million migrants and refugees have made the journey across the Mediterranean this year, the UNHCR has said.

Photo Credit: BBC

Leave a Comment