SR. AZEZET KIDANE, A COMBONI MISSIONARY IN ISRAEL
|AMONG THE “HEROINES AND HEROES IN 2012”|
Fortunately, Eritreans in Israel are not considered “infiltrators”. One is singled out as a model of compassion and dedication. This is not the first time Sr. Azezet’s commitment to the Plight of the Eritrean Refugees in Israel, the Sinai Peninsula and in the ME in general is publicly recognized. Last year also she was awarded a prize in Rome. Sr. Azezet reminds me of a story I read in my 4th grade book: a religious sister in Algiers was taking care of a very difficult French soldier, wounded in combat. Everybody else had given up on the unfortunate because of his temperament and his demands. Sister though attended to him with devotion and love. At the end the soldier himself broke up and asked the religious: “Sister, why are you doing this?” And the good nun, pointing at the cross that was hanging from the chain around her neck replied: “I do it for him, who first did it for me!” Sister Azezet did it for Him in Massawa, Asmara (Eritrea), she encountered Him and served Him in Awasa and elsewhere in Ethiopia, she loved Him and knelt before Him in South Sudan, Uganda, or wherever else the Congregation sent her, and now she sees Him tortured, ransomed, raped, cursed, denigrated, threatened, neglected, robbed of his dignity, of his personality: “He does not have any beauty or dignity to make us take notice of him. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing that would draw us to him. We despised him and rejected him he endured suffering and pain. No one would even look at him, we ignored him as if he wee nothing.” (Is 53: 2b-3). This time she has taken the image of the African refugee, stranded in Israel. Sr. Azezet and a few other compassionate souls of every racial, religious and social extraction have recognized him and are serving his cause.