War is not and should not be our final word

29 January 2023

Hands, fence.

“I don’t know who sold the homeland, but I saw who paid the price,” are words of the Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish.  

Permanently committed to peace and a nonviolent way of resolving conflicts, we have been taught by experience that the highest cost of war is always paid by the weakest ones – civilians, women and children.  

While salvos are raging in eastern Europe, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, as well as other European countries, are in a hurry to prepare a suitable humanitarian response and organize their capacity for the possible reception of refugees from war-torn areas.  

The Jesuit Refugee Service has a long history of real and successful work in the sphere of refugee admission and integration, in accordance with its primary purpose of accompanying, serving, and advocating for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. 

In addition to the extensive network of sister organizations around the world and their shared belief that a more solidarity-based world can begin with small but safe steps, we call on the Governments of Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo, as well as their respective institutions, the Church and religious communities, as well as all well-meaning people, to prepare their hearts and engage in the organization of assistance for the afflicted, whose only desire is to find peace and security of refuge.  

We call for cooperation and are ready, once again, to provide support and make ourselves available to all important actors at this, for Europe and Croatia, extremely important moment, as we join Pope Francis’ calls, while constantly praying and invoking the Lord who is given the task of turning our hearts to the path of peace. 

Let us do everything we can to alleviate and lessen the pain of those who have been brought to our doorstep by the horrors of war. Let us join those who, despite their inability to avoid or end the conflict, have the knowledge, strength, and willingness to respond effectively to the difficulties it implies, all the more so since we have experienced them firsthand. 

People’s predicament should not come as a surprise to us! Let us do everything we can today to enable and prepare a common response in terms of securing solidarity programs, providing legal and safe pathways for the reception of refugees and other displaced persons, and ensuring that people fleeing the horrors of war can find a worthy refuge, feel our support, and experience the much-desired peace.