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Pope: “We should not export our democracy to other countries, but rather help them develop a process of democratic maturation according to their characteristics.” In a new book called “You Are Not Alone. Challenges, Answers, Hopes,” a conversation-interview with Francesca Ambrogetti and Sergio Rubin, the Pontiff reflects on some of the most pressing issues of the 21st century, from wars to refugee tragedies.

Papa Francesco: “Ma che cosa ha lasciato la guerra? L’anarchia organizzata e altra guerra…”

The whole world is plunging into political and institutional chaos, which is engulfing, like an abyss, the developing countries of the so-called Global South. This is one of the most dangerous results of the West’s failed attempt to export its “own typology” of democracy to “countries with a culture that is not tribal, but similar in nature.”

Very strong words, with which Pope Francis answered the question asked of him in the book “You are not alone. Challenges, answers, hopes,” a conversation-interview with Francesca Ambrogetti and Sergio Rubin (Salani Publishing House), which will be published on Tuesday, October 24. The Italian La Stampa newspaper foreshadowed some very poignant passages from the book that presents a broad picture of the past of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the present of Pope Francis, and the future of the pontificate and humanity.

Answering the question about “the responsibility of the most developed countries for the chaos, in which many countries of the Global South live,” from which millions of people are fleeing, Pope Francis emphasizes that these are “the consequences of colonialism and, in particular, the appropriation of their natural resources. But also, the failure of the West in its attempt to import its own type of democracy into some countries with cultures that are not tribal but similar in nature. Let’s think about Libya, which seems to be able to be led only by very strong individuals like Gaddafi. One Libyan told me that once they only had one Gaddafi, and now they have fifty-three. The Gulf War was a disgrace, if not one of the worst atrocities. Saddam Hussein, of course, was not a little angel, on the contrary, but Iraq was a fairly stable country. Disclaimer: I am not defending Gaddafi or Hussein.”

On Sunday, October 22, at the end of the Angel of the Lord prayer, Pope Francis declared that “war, every war in the world is a defeat.” Thinking about the Gulf War, the pontiff elaborated in the book on the consequences of wars for humanity: “But what did the war leave behind?” the Pope asked himself. “Organized anarchy and other war. Therefore, I believe that we should not export our democracy to other countries, but rather help them develop a process of democratic maturation according to their characteristics. Don’t go to war to import a democracy that their people are unable to assimilate. There are countries with monarchical systems that will probably never embrace democracy, but we can certainly do our part to ensure greater participation. In any case, I consider myself ignorant when it comes to international politics, but I believe that the poor choice of the West lies at the root of the emergence of ISIS,” the Pope concludes.

Behind the scenes

The interview book of Pope Francis will appear in bookstores as an Italian edition of Argentina’s El Pastor (The Shepherd), released between February and March, almost at the end of the 10th anniversary of his pontificate. As the Italian news agency ANSA wrote, “It will be the perfect follow-up to The Jesuit, written in 2010 when Jorge Mario Bergoglio was Archbishop of Buenos Aires and which became a global bestseller in 2013, when he was elected Pope.” In the new volume, Francesca Ambrogetti, former head of ANSA in Argentina, and Sergio Rubin of the Clarin newspaper offer a thorough analysis and a fascinating story of Francis’ papacy, which became the result of periodic interviews conducted over these 10 years.

Many of the topics, exhausting almost all the themes and problems of the pontificate, are covered in the 286 pages of You Are Not Alone, seen through Bergoglio’s personal view, while the prologue is signed by the Pontiff himself; moreover, this is happening at a dramatic moment for the world, characterized by renewed conflict in the Middle East, one of the fronts of the “phased world war.”

“In the final stages of writing this new book, the script was very different from the script of the first meetings,” the co-author told ANSA. “There were many conflicts, but we could not imagine the dizzying changes in society and, in particular, in international tension, which has reached its limit today. And that the Pope’s warnings about a world war in small quantities, which were becoming more and more numerous, would be so prophetic. And much-needed calls for mutual understanding between peoples and religions.”

“How do you perceive what is happening in the Middle East today?” the journalist, who has maintained close relations with Bergoglio for many years, emphasized in an interview with ANSA. “It is especially painful, because from an early age he learned lessons in school about understanding a multicultural and multireligious society and accepting others who are different.”

“On the other hand, the war was present in the Bergoglio family, which survived the First World War,” Francesca Ambrogetti also recalls. “The grandfather decided to emigrate to Argentina with his wife and the only son, to join his brothers, but also out of fear of another conflict. In the chapter on the family, the Pope says that he never forgot the emotion, with which they greeted the news of the end of the Second World War.”

“I also remember him telling us more than once that he not only suffered from the wounds of others in his soul, but also felt the wounds of the body in his own,” concludes Ambrogetti. “With deep suffering and anxiety, but also with faith, hope, and all our desire to contribute to the achievement of peace.”

Giornalisti e Redattori di Pluralia

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