By Alberto Garcia, November 9, 2010

Presented at Congo and Development Congress

This story is about a student from Congo who studies at our University.

She has difficulty in providing herself with a meal each day in order to survive right here in Rome.

She has need of receiving an Education and cultural enrichment.

Last November 9, she could not attend class in International Law because she had to be preoccupied with receiving a free meal, which she had absolute need of, from a Vatican institution that had assigned a specific time and day for this which she had to respect. There are rules of course and she must follow the rules if she is to survive in Rome. And so it is for all of us: we must respect the rules of the community.

The Christian charity provided by the Vatican is the only way for her to survive in Rome for the time being.

Josephine, while remaining silent, is speaking to us through the suffering which she is vulnerably exposed to each day in Rome.

But at the same time, we are all like Josephine…we all have need of one another.

“I need your help” (Josephine states in a low voice).

These are the words of a Josephine who at times feels sad and miserable. It is a melody that is repeated each day.

Does justice demand that we help her? Yes!

….Justice, solidarity, but above all, Christian charity for humanity that is incarnate in Josephine.

…Oh Josephine!  Are you not perfect harmony at its best? Is not the eloquent melody of your life a sonnet that needs to be listened to in the depths of our personal conscience and that of the entire community, in order to change our small little world?

…And this is precisely our mission:  that of promoting the art of convergence and cooperation within a global ethic that permits us to listen and to understand the ethical-bioethical, social and juridical. In fact this is what we have already anticipated in the field of bioethics and of human rights.

…We want to capture the spirit of truth, of knowing the reality of others, at times painful, silent, hidden.

…Could someone help Josephine so that she can have a harmonious existence and a better life?

I cannot bear to see the suffering and vulnerable Josephine wandering aimlessly through the beautiful city of Rome! Rome is Rome” Congo is Rome, and Africa is Rome …Rome is the name of that metaphor for all that happens in those smaller worlds in our history today.

The origin of art, of civil law and of justice, the living center of Christianity.

A historic city, a patrimony of humanity, where important international treaties in the area of human rights have been signed.

Nonetheless, life in Rome is still miserable!

My friends, life can be tough in Congo…  but also in Rome.

Because we are all like “Josephine”…  We all have need of each other…

“I have need of you” (Josephine whispers).

Go to Congo!

Josephine has need of you! Josephine has need of me! Josephine has need of “Rome”, of the  Church, of the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC), of UNESCO and of the international community, of the academic world and the entire world.

We need much energy: physical-material energy, but above all, the interior-cultural energy. That is to say, we need ethics, bioethics, religious and spiritual, as that which is present in this class, which is also a metaphor of the world….

It is the link between RomaINEtnico and Cebad, and between the solidarity among people within the world of the university which enables Josephine to survive. This is because there are still, fortunately, responsible people, or ‘people who have responded’ to the word that has sounded in their conscience, be it personal, communitarian, individual and social.

Our young students at APRA have already responded in a concrete way to help Josephine … One week has been sufficient for attentive eyes.

Do you want to do something for “Josephine” here in Congo, in Africa or in the world?

We are ready to help you do so if you wish!

Today in the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics and Human Rights, we are not alone in the endeavor which I would call metaphorically a “brief history of music” referring to our short encounter dedicated to Josephine. Here are the names of the musicians taking part in the work of art with their help and with their work in what is for the moment, a small institutional work. Noentheless, we do not want to forget their names and their roles:

… Fabrizio (homo faber- works) e Giovanni (supports and believes)

… Juan Pablo (BELIEVES), Rafael (Reasons), Victor (Observes)

… Gonzalo (inspires), Adriana (irradiates), Joseph (calculates)

… Francesco (“Il Poverello”), Maria / Cuca (promotes / organizes)

… Jacobo e Miguel … (are concerned) e Sandro (organizes)

… Pedro (the key) e Paolo (the sword)

… Luis (has vision) e Alvaro (guides)

… Velasio (watches over) e Benedicto (blesses)

These are not all of the names …

…The Cavalier opens the doors for us (Rev. 19, 11-21): ‘’Then I saw the heavens opened, and there was a white horse; its rider was called ‘Faithful and True.’ He judges and wages war in righteousness.’’

Without a doubt God is with us.

“I have need of you” (Josephine has told us in a low voice)

Many thanks to Josephine and to all!

See original presentation in French PDF

See Italian translation PDF