No numb spectators of migrant shipwreck tragedies


Pope Francis was visibly moved when on the way home from Marseille he was presented with a photograph of a young migrant child.

Francis was in Marseille to address a Mediterranean forum on migration.

The image was captured by Reuters photographer Yara Nardi who accompanied the Pope on his journey from Rome to Marseille.

“As soon as I revealed the photograph from its envelope, the Pope was visibly touched,” recounted Nardi.

The atmosphere inside the aircraft grew sombre as Pope Francis remarked “They confine them in Libyan detention facilities, only to later cast them adrift at sea.”

The poignant photograph, taken by Nardi the previous week on the small Italian island of Lampedusa, zooms in on the eyes of 18-month-old Prince.

The toddler, along with his mother Claudine Nsoe, hails from Cameroon.

They are part of a wave of thousands who have recently made the perilous sea journey from North Africa to Italy.

“He shook my hand and kept the photo,” she said.

“They confine them

in Libyan detention facilities,

only to later

cast them adrift at sea.”

The encounter on the plane followed a stirring address in Marseille, France, where Pope Francis took a strong stance against rising nationalism and expressed deep concern over the global migrant crisis.

Speaking before a monument dedicated to lives lost at sea, the Pope was in the city to attend the Mediterranean Encounter (“Rencontres Méditerranéennes”), a forum that brought together approximately 120 young individuals of diverse faiths, and bishops from 30 different nations.

The Pope called on both individuals and nations to break free from the shackles of fear and apathy which he said subtly condemn countless lives to a grim fate.

“We can no longer be spectators to the tragedies of shipwrecks, fuelled by ruthless human trafficking and a callous disregard for human life,” declared Francis.

Standing before the sea, a symbol of life but also a reminder of perilous journeys that have ended in tragedy, Pope Francis continued – “We convene here to remember those who didn’t survive, those who were lost at sea.

“We must resist becoming numb to the news of shipwrecks, to seeing deaths at sea as mere statistics.

“These are not just numbers, these are individuals with names, faces, stories—lives that have been irrevocably broken and dreams that have been crushed.”

His words served as a poignant reminder of the human cost of the ongoing migrant crisis and a call to action for a world he believes stands at a critical juncture between compassion and indifference.



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