The hope of young people amid the waves of violence

Joseph, a young Syrian from the Focolare is one of the many young people who nourish the hope of peace in a very tormented land. He sent a message from a recent youth congress in Syria.

The nightmare of mass killings recurs with all its terror. The Middle East continues to be shaken by wars, terrorist attacks, violence of all kinds with one result, death.

On 6th October in Syria, drones loaded with explosives fell on a military academy in Homs during a festive ceremony. The death toll was about a hundred, of which about thirty were women and children. The next day there was another similar attack during the funeral celebrations, fortunately this time it was neutralized in time.
There was an immediate response from Syria, with a rain of bombs in Idlib, an area outside the control of the government. This escalation of violence caused the United Nations special envoy to Syria, Geir O. Pedersen, to respond by calling for an immediate ceasefire, protection for civilians and the instigation of peace negotiations.

In this scenario of war, as violence continues to intensify and there seems to be no hope for a future of peace, some young Syrians belonging to the Focolare Movement met for their annual congress.
Joseph Moawwad, 24, was there. He wrote to us to share his personal experience.

“I’ve been living through a very difficult period lately, a sense of half-heartedness and no enthusiasm; even for this congress, perhaps because of the strong tensions that all of us young Syrians are experiencing. For over 13 years, war and all its consequences persist with the most recent attack a few days ago in Homs. We heard about it right at the beginning of the congress. Despite this, my great surprise was to meet 90 young Focolare people from all Syrian regions. It was as if a storm had removed the ashes that covered the embers of my heart and so the “fire” burst out in me. Experiences of communion, sharing, fraternity between us and that effort to live mutual love in order to have the presence of Jesus among us (cit. “Where two or more are united in my name, I am in their midst”, Mt 18:15 -20) erased everything I felt before and made that flame had been enkindled in me again, become stronger.
At the end of the day, when we were praying together, I felt that I wanted to make a decision: to protect that “flame” that had reignited, to make it grow, to give it to the weakest and most discouraged people. I discovered that unity with the other young people of the Focolare and the mutual love that binds us, are the solution to all this hatred and the evil around us. And then the presence of Jesus in us and among us: it is he who gives us strength and will give us hope for a better future”.

Lorenzo Russo