When People of the Promise were persecuted and chased away from Yemen, the country they turned to was Eritrea. There they were welocomed, allowed to settle, build their own Synagogue, which not even the Marxist Leninist Dergue dared to close down or confiscate. In Eritrea the Jew community thrived.  With a fraction of a $165 million investment in clean and committed diplomacy, the very sources of all these migrants, asylum seekers and refugees could be dried up.


by Fr. Vittorio Boria
The Son of God was welcomed into the world, away from his mother’s home. She had to follow orders by an occupying power that forced her to abandon her home and give birth to her “firstborn child” in a manger, because there was not room for her in the guest house. Although Angels sang for Him in the skies, only poor shepherds welcomed him. Priests and learned personalities on Jerusalem, consulted, had the answer ready: “he was to be born in Bethlehem”. Stragers came from afar to pay him homage, but the cream of Jerusalem did not even try, perhaps afraid the ire of King Herod.
When Herod found that the wisemen had fooled him, he sent soldiers to kill Baby Jesus, and in order not to miss him, the babies below 2 years of age in Bethlehem and its surroundings were all sentenced to death. Again, no one in Jerusalem stood up for the Child of Mary nor for the innocents Bethlehemite babies.
Isn’t it striking! It did not just start a few years ago, already then (about 2000 years ago) refugees have been around. For what documented history proves, the phenomenon did not start with Africans, and in particluar not with the peoples from the Horn of Africa. Quite the opposite, peoples from this area were the first explorers in the planet earth. Thanks to those courageous first humans history has known about, there must be something of African in the cromozomes and the DNA of every human being in the world today .
But the phenomenon of economic migrations, asylum or refuge seeking dates even longer. Peoples who had migrated from the “land between the two rivers” and settled in the Middle East, when famine struck and reached critical stages, they migrated to Africa, where they were welcomed and granted the most fertile land of Egypt. There they grew prosperous and numerous.  After a few centuries, it is true, history was forgotten, relations turned sour, friendship betrayed, and  treaties were broken . But could it be that the “guests” were the cause of their own problems? They never assimilated to the land that had welcomed them, they did not mix with their hosts. It was always a relation between “us” and “them”, and so centuries after their permanence in Egypt they could still be identified as foreigners and, unfortunately, persecuted, maltreated, enslaved, and threatened with extinction. Still, even this sad turn of events had its silver lining: because of the slavery, they could reawaken their pride and fight their way back to the “Promised Land”. Is it not strange that despite this sad experience in Egypt, that had left a scar in their identity, Hebrews communities always thrived in Egypt, and elsewhere in Africa (Jewish roots are claimed even today by communities in more than one country in Africa). Jewish colonies in Egypt grew more prosperous than in their own land, and living besides the Alexandria’s  centres of learning, they produced their own mystics, scholars, researchers, historians and philosophers. And it is again in Egypt that Joseph takes Mary with her Child for refuge and protection. Legend has it that from Egypt, the Holy Family ventured further South, down to Ethiopia.
But it does not end there. During the Nazi’s persecution, many Jews took refuge in Sounth Africa and elsewhere in Africa. When People of the Promise where persecuted and chased away from Yemen, the country they turned to was Eritrea. There they were welocomed, allowed to settle down, build their own Synagogue, which not even the Marxist Leninist Dergue dared to close down or confiscate. In Eritrea the Jew community thrived. In return for all this, nowadays, Eritreans turning to Israel to escape from the slavery, extorsion and abuse beyond all telling by Beduins in Sinai are blindly labelled “infiltrators”, i.e. terrorists, even before setting food in the land, and therefore, “ipso facto” sentenced to five years of confinement without appearing in court and any legal assistance.     $ 165 million are to be invested to condemn and strip these “AFRICAN INFILTRATORS” of any dignity.
It is my firm conviction that with a fraction of a $165 million investment in clean and committed diplomacy, the causes of attrition between Ethiopia and Eritrea could find a solution; the Somalia warring parties could be brought around a table to iron out their  differences; ditto about the conflicts in the Sudan, and so the very sources of all these asylum seekers could be dried up.
Israel, more than any other country of the world, not because of its size of ascendency, but because of its history, could take it upon itself the task of defending the right of the oppressed and aliens anywhere in the world. Israelis, more than anyone else, bears the scars of slavery, forced deportations, dispersion throughout the world,  relegation in ghettos and the disdain of the “civilized” societies in Europe, the horrifying experience of the holocaust, and the rejection of many bordering nations. Israel, as the depositary of God’s Promises, has in its milennia old legislation: “You shall not oppress the alien, since you were once aliens in the land of Egypt” (Ex 23:9; cf. Ex 22:20; Lv 19:33f; Dt 10:18f; 24:17; Zec 7:10). Unfortunately, with the last desperate resolution to the problem of African refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, Israel has dragged the world to a new low. And if silence is the response of the community of nations to Israel’s justification for its huge investment against the “African infiltrators”, namely, the very same argument of the Pharaos against the Hebrews: “Our own existence will be jeopardized!” (cf. Ex 1.10), then the future of the world is even bleaker: slavery is justified, ethnical cleansing is admitted, extorsion, as long as someone is paying, is beneficial to the nation’s economy, traficking in humans and/or of their vital organs is advantegeously promoted. Why not?
But Jesus was forced to be on the run even later on in his adult life: persecuted by the Jews in Judea, by Herod in his kingdom, by Samaritans who did not allow him to pass by their land to go to Jerusalem to worship, by the people of Genezareth after he had drawn out the evil spirit from someone of their area . . .  And finally, an “infiltrator” betrayed him and turned him over to those who were tasked to defend the cause of the poor, the widow, the orphan and the just one. The Sanhedrin again turned him over to the foreign power who was usurping their land, in order to condemn him to the cross, “outside the city”. Is that necessarily the lot of all the Servants of Yahweh?

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