AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - "God exists and God knows"

Friday, 14 February 2014

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "The clashes between these two factions (the former Seleka rebels and anti Balaka militia) have poisoned the Country and continue to claim innocent victims", writes Fr. Frederick Trinchero, Discalced Carmelite missionary, superior and teacher in the Notre Dame du Mont Carmel convent in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic.
"The madness of war did not spare the families of my confreres. If seleka, and those who supported them, are undoubtedly the origin of the situation in which we find ourselves, the anti- Balaka showed equal violence, if not superior, to those who preceded and provoked them" said Fr. Trinchero.
"The anti- Balaka, who are not Muslims, cannot call themselves Christians. If they were, their actions say the contrary", continued the missionary who said that "the Bishops have repeatedly denounced this mass violent reaction, that the media have hastily interpreted as Christian. But, because they are not Muslims, the confusion was inevitable.
We are consoled by the knowledge that, although all of this is a shame, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Muslims found refuge in parishes and monasteries scattered around the Country. But the exodus of this minority has begun. Many Muslims - and among them also some of our dearest friends - were forced to leave the Country, despite being born here".
"There is also a side effect that will make the already fragile Central African economy even more difficult. The few businesses - especially, but not only, the wholesale and retail of basic foodstuffs - were in fact in the hands of the Muslims. The future of Central Africa, therefore even its economy, is uncertain".
Fr. Trinchero ends with a note of hope: "In this bleak picture, there was, on January 20, a sign of detente: the election of a new President - Cathérine Samba Panza, ex - mayor of Bangui, who unlike those who preceded her enjoys the people’s support. The new President has since appointed a new Prime Minister whose name says it all: Nzapayeke, which means 'God exists'. A great tandem with the Archbishop of Bangui, whose surname, Nzapalainga, means ' God knows'. Therefore: 'God exists and God knows'.
These two certainties, that are in the heart of all Central Africans, whether they are Christian or Muslim, are more than enough to allow people to feel discouraged, to feel safe and to move forward". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 14/02/2014)