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September 28, 2021

Supporting Christians

The so-called migrants’ crisis has proved that Europe is culturally divided. If in the West proper there is a humanist right to asylum culture, the former communist countries are far more selfish and intolerant. This vision is, of course, ill-boding. But the situation is especially as complicated as this Western humanism tends to slide toward the ideological, at the expense of practical efficiency. In other words, in order to protect Muslim sensibilities, the openness toward Christians persecuted in various corners of the world is not living up to the responsibilities of efficient solidarity.

It is at least painful for a European Christian to find out periodically about massacres against Christian minorities in other countries. Unfortunately, the post-colonial complex renders diplomacy cautious, and the pressures often far too weak to bear fruit. The main cause is the high instability in these regions, which lowers the capacity for real control over the situation on the part of the authorities with whom diplomatic negotiations could be carried out.

Chaos is the main enemy of minorities. But even in the case of far more stable states, such as Saudi Arabia, there is a caution that puts issues of democracy on the backburner in favour of economic and geostrategic issues. Moreover, flagrant abuses are thus tolerated in the name of cautious non-interventionism. However, even the interventions, such as the one led by the Americans in Iraq, generated only much more instability, with all the evil short, medium and long-term effects.

However, reprehensible was not the interventionism per se but the bellicose ideology of the Bush Jr. administration. Not to intervene means leaving the world prey to increasingly dangerous convulsions. Because the Islamist attacks in Europe, for instance, are only the outer circle of exacerbated violence.

In some countries in the Middle East, this violence is almost a daily occurrence. The problem is how one should intervene. One of the principles should be concern for the persecuted Christians. Europe is only half-Christian now, in the sense that the values of Christianity are no longer shared except by a part of its citizens. In the name of this part, nevertheless still significant, the EU’s foreign policy has to adopt as a priority imperative the defence of Christians in difficulty in any corner of the world. It is a dramatic reality of today’s world and it has to be tackled responsibly, without finding ideological excuses.

Because the more time passes the more the number of the dead and refugees rises. Their overwhelming majority has not come to Europe but are wandering in Asian countries. Why can’t they be helped preferentially, as persons more exposed to discrimination than others? Why isn’t the principle of “positive discrimination,” applied for ethnic and sexual minorities in Europe, being used also in the case of religious minorities by those who can offer visas and asylum? This does not mean solely receiving Christian refugees, but also being aware of the greater risks they are exposed to in their countries of origin. It is not desirable for the world to be divided behind a religious border: Christians in Europe and America, and Muslims in certain regions of Asia and Africa. But those who drive them away, not those who welcome them, are to blame.

We would like the millennia-old Christian communities of the Middle East to survive in the same places, but we cannot sit idle and look at how they are slaughtered. To leave everything in the care of local governments is a way of sticking one’s head in the sand like an ostrich.

By defending the Christians, we are defending the pluralism that stands at the basis of the values of today’s Europe. The most perverse effect of these waves of violent Islamism is the fact that many Europeans are falling back behind an exclusivism that risks changing our civilization for the worse. We have to leave the defensive behind, but to promote more wisely, but also firmer, our own values in the relations with the whole world.

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