Piazza Santo Stefano, 4 pm on January 1st, on the occasion of the 57th World Day of Peace, called by the community of Sant’Egidio, at least 200 people arrive, a good part of them immigrants. They remember the violence in the world, and the many wars spread across the planet, they display many signs with the names of the places where peace is a dream. Speakers include a young man from Sudan who recalls that 8 million Sudanese are displaced, largely within the country itself, but also outside of it, an Afghan man who lists the abuses of a Taliban government which crushes the population, starting with the women, and then the Waldensian Pastor Daniela Di Carlo who reads the words of Michela Murgia who, she recalls, studied theology for a long time.

After an initial part consisting of interventions, we move towards Corso Europa, and from the back emerges a Palestinian flag held by a young Italian woman. She is asked to remove the flag, but she says: “I’m sorry, but I just can’t help it…” It will be held at the back of the procession, discreet, but present… We then stop in front of the Orthodox church, where, they say, Russians and Ukrainians pray together. A Ukrainian woman speaks, describing her pain when faced with news of destruction in her country.

The procession starts again and goes towards Piazza Duomo, parading among surprised tourists and onlookers of the festive day. Not everyone understands, they march in silence, risking getting mingled in the mass of those walking among the stalls. Someone tries to shout “No more wars, no more wars…” But the participants don’t seem used to raising their voices.

We enter the Cathedral. We still remember the countries where there are wars, there is a good chance they won’t all be named… There are too many.

A mass. The Cathedral is three-quarters full, but it doesn’t seem that the energy, the tension, is enough to affect the places where decisions are made.

We will need to gather up more forces, let’s do it soon. 2024 is off to a decidedly uphill start. And we move forward, in no particular order…