Pope Francis was speaking to a group of tourists on Monday in St. Peter’s Square when he turned the spotlight on the issue of silence towards African conflicts.
He decried what he called the “shameful silence” about long-running conflicts in Africa and elsewhere.
In essence agreeing with reoccurring arguments that international media tends to ignore coverage of African conflicts poorly and also addressing individual attitudes to these conflicts.
While speaking to the tourists, he cited massacres in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo as an example of bloodshed that too often has “no weight on worldwide opinion.”
He continued in that vein, saying that such massacres have “for some time been perpetrated in shameful silence, without even attracting our attention.”
In his address he reminded the tourists and consequently any other person who would hear the address that some of the victims of these conflicts are innocent people run over by persistent conflicts. In his words, they are “innocent victims of persistent conflicts.”
The massacre which he referred to was one which happened this past week; officials had reported on Sunday that suspected rebels killed at least 36 people in northeastern Congo, spurring street protests against the ongoing violence. A local rights group says that the rebel group has killed at least 500 civilians in the region since October 2014, .
Pope Francis also urged people to think about the plight of women who are “slaves of the arrogance of the powerful” as well as children forced to do “inhumane” work. He told the tourists that some women “are obliged to surrender in body and spirit to the covetousness of men.”