Letter of October 1st 2000
from Jacques Gaillot

The martyrs of extreme poverty

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History of Partenia, Biography of Bishop Jacques Gaillot









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The martyrs of extreme poverty

In the street I met a young Morocco, Abdeslam, who is living in the suburb of Paris. He wanted to offer me a coffee. We were happy to meet each other again. Every thing seems to go well for him: he finally had his waiving permit, he is now married to a French girl and they are expecting a baby.
He was just coming back from Morocco after visiting his family. He seemed rather concerned by the youth of his country: " More than ever, the young are attracted by Europe, he said to me. They are ready to try any thing to go there. These days they don't pay large amounts of money to be smuggled out of the country. They organize themselves, build a boat, find a compass and at night head for Spain. In one of these boats, fifteen of them did sailed to Spain and they were never heard of again, like many, they disappeared without trace". "What courage in facing these dangers and risking their life!" "Courage yes but also a defeat when a country cannot keep its children. It is not fair that the young have to leave their country because of poverty. Each night, during a crossing, some are missing, I call them the martyrs of extreme poverty".
"I often hear remarks about the illegal immigrants, I am told regularly: " Why are they coming in France when they know it will be so hard for them? Better for them to be miserable at home than in our country". With this logic they are right. Even myself, I say to the young Morocco that it will be very difficult to come to France. But there is something else: they have no hope in staying in Morocco. The future is blocked, no hope. They know that if they come to Europe, if they struggle and search hard they will find some thing, then the difference for them is hope"
Next October 13th and 14th, the Ministers of Interior of the fifteen countries of the European Union will officially meet in Biarritz to prepare a European Charter of the Human Rights. In fact it will be a further attempt to transform Europe into a fortress against immigration.