Early Sunday morning, METAdrasi’s interpreters in Lesvos were ready for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to the Reception and Identification Center of Mavrovouni. They had undertaken the provision of interpretation in Arabic and Dari, so that all refugees and asylum seekers present at the visit, could follow the speeches of the officials.
Five years after his first visit to the island of Lesvos, the Pope delivered a moving speech that conveyed universal messages. Among other things, he did not fail to send a message of gratitude to the residents of Lesvos for their sacrifices during all these years of the migration crisis; while addressing the refugees, he stressed:
“[…] Your faces beg us not to look the other way, not to denounce the humanity that connects us […] Let us look at the faces of the migrant children. May we find the courage to feel ashamed in their presence; in their innocence, they are our future. They challenge our consciences and ask us: ‘What kind of world do you want to give us?’ Let us not hastily turn away from the shocking pictures of their tiny bodies lying lifeless on the beaches. The Mediterranean, which for millennia has brought different peoples and distant lands together, is now becoming a grim cemetery without tombstones. This great basin of water, the cradle of so many civilizations, now looks like a mirror of death. Let us not let our sea (mare nostrum) be transformed into a desolate sea of death (mare mortuum). Let us not allow this place of encounter to become a theatre of conflict. Please, let us stop this shipwreck of civilization”!