Europe’s brutal treatment of refugees ‘the shipwreck of civilisation,’ Pope says on Lesbos visit

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THE Pope said today that Europe’s murderous treatment of refugees marked “the shipwreck of civilisation” as he visited the Mavrovouni refugee camp on Lesbos.

“I ask every man and woman, all of us, to overcome the paralysis of fear, the indifference that kills, the cynical disregard that nonchalantly condemns to death those on the fringes,” the pontiff said at the seaside cluster of box-like UN container-residences ringed with barbed wire.

“Let us stop ignoring reality, stop constantly shifting responsibility, stop passing off the issue of migration to others as if it mattered to no-one and was only a pointless burden to be shouldered by somebody else.”

“Let us not let our sea” (the Mediterranean, using the Roman term “Mare Nostrum”) “be transformed into a desolate sea of death,” he said.

Refugees on Lesbos said they hoped the publicity around the Pope’s visit would “bring change.

“We would like a better life. We plead with the Pope to help us, to speak on our behalf,” Congolese father of three Tango Mukaya said.

He spoke out as rights activists criticised Poland’s government for organising a concert in support of troops deployed to stop refugees from the Middle East crossing its border with Belarus.

Polish state broadcaster TVP broadcast the “great concert of support for the defenders of the Polish borders” today, featuring “European stars” from Las Ketchup and Lou Bega to former Ace of Base singer Jenny Berggren, Captain Jack and the appropriately named No Mercy.

Activists called for people to bombard the artists with protests for “drowning out the sound of death with music.”

Journalist Franziska Grillmeier tweeted that the concert was being held while “dozens of migrants are still stuck in [the] forest, without water, food, warmth, medical and legal aid,” noting that journalists and human rights observers have been barred from entry to a three-kilometre militarised zone along the border since September.

The European Union has accused Belarus of orchestrating the refugee crisis on its borders by allowing people to travel from the Middle East and declining to stop them trying to enter.

Last week the EU, Britain, the United States and Canada slapped further sanctions on the country, including on its airline Belavia, saying it was carrying people from the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Iraq whose intention was to try to get into the EU.

By Ben Chakcko

Source: Morning Star

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