Italy – In time of war, give an account of peaceful actions

04 May 2022

(ANS - Turin) – The Press, months into the conflict in Ukraine, presents the public with a wealth of data on armaments, attack and defense operations, the tragic consequences for soldiers and civilians, the territories and what they contain. Much less is known about the calls for a cease-fire, or the real efforts of diplomacy once they are away from the spotlight, truly committed to reaching peace agreements, or the actions of non-violent defense and respect of human rights even in a state of belligerence.

Even contact with the many ordinary citizens helping the refugees escape, welcoming them in the emergency, giving them an accommodation in the medium term do not find the proper space, their due, in the pages of newspapers, beyond the emotion aroused by single human cases. It is, indeed, a "rule of journalism", they say: to identify an extreme case to draw attention to a widespread situation. It's a pity, however, that after the solicitation of feelings of solidarity, information is not given to make us more capable of a lasting response. And to corroborate the public opinion of those who oppose the war and the mystifications of the prevailing communication campaigns.

"Missioni Don Bosco", the Salesian Mission Office in Turin, has the privilege of being able to touch first-hand "the other side" of this war and of the unfortunately numerous others going on in various continents.

The Salesians of Ukraine, together with those of neighboring countries, are welcoming masses of displaced persons without clamor; the whole Congregation is providing, even from afar, not only basic necessities, but also the support needed to keep homes running, to assist in the physical and psychological health of traumatized women and children, and to ensure the latter do not miss out on school and recreation.

The service of communication, taken as the strongest commitment at this time, consists in giving news of the spirit of brotherhood that is expressed and organized, of the intelligence that guides immediate intervention together with plans for long-term reconstruction, of the hope that religious and laity are cultivating even where the discord seems unquenchable.

Those who work in the field - Salesians, religious, lay people, volunteers... - are of irreplaceable help: those who have made orphaned children or children without families safe, saving them from the risk of kidnapping or deportation; those who defend the dignity of women who find themselves bearing the entire responsibility for their families; those who approach the front line to bring words of comfort and keep faith in God for those who face death every day.

The Salesians celebrated Easter with both the Latin and Byzantine calendars, defying even the lack of wartime suspension on consecrated days, to respond to an inescapable call to bear witness to the Resurrection. At the same time, they communicated the tenacity of their people, gathered in and around the churches to a forcedly reduced extent, and they informed them about the Christian friendship that sustains them even at a distance.

They have done - with their deeds - that "constructive information" that will be able to overcome the "destructive disinformation" of the cult followers of death.

Antonio R. Labanca

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ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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