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Migrants camp on the border between Belarus and Poland Migrants camp on the border between Belarus and Poland  Editorial

Poland's green lights, beacons of humanity for struggling migrants

Catholic activists find a novel way to assist migrants trying to survive in the freezing woods on the border between Poland and Belarus.

By Andrea Tornielli

There are those who instrumentalize migrants and refugees by turning them into hostages, and this makes the news every day. There are those who hastily build barriers of barbed wire to repel the "invasion" of defenseless children, women, and men who wander in the cold woods between Belarus and Poland and who are in need of everything, and this also makes the news. There are also those who take to the streets to support the policies of those who build walls, in the name of an identity that claims to be Christian, and this too does not escape the media’s radar.

But there are also those who rebel silently, without demonstrating, without taking to the streets, by staying at home away from the cameras: These people light torches of humanity.

And when this news reaches the pages of newspapers—as its has hit the Italian papers Avvenire and Repubblica—hope is revived.

In Poland—in a few houses sitting on the Belarus border near the woods where the migration drama is taking place—there are men and women who have not surrendered to the globalization of indifference, who remember that their Christian roots have not turned into ideology. They draw on the living Gospel, especially the parable of the Good Samaritan.

These are people who remember the magisterium of Pope St. John Paul II, quoted three days ago by Pope Francis at the end of the weekly General Audience: "Today the world and Poland need people with big hearts."

And even though they are aware that they risk being reported for aiding and abetting illegal immigration, these good Samaritans leave a green light on in their homes at night.

Those green lights tell visitors that there, behind those illuminated windows, sits a bowl of hot soup and a blanket ready for any who pass through, regardless of passports or visas.

Others leave fresh milk, shoes, and large bottles of water outside their doors, so that silent volunteers, who get to work as evening falls, can collect these gifts and drop them off in the woods for those who need them so badly.

"Trying to prevent these desperate people from dying," says Wiktor Jarocki, an activist with a Catholic association in Krynki, "is treated today as a crime. But we remember the lesson of Pope Wojtyla, and we engage in legal, civil disobedience: It can happen that one forgets food and clothes in the woods, and today such help is indispensable".

12 November 2021, 16:20