G8 Genoa

The summit of the eight most industrialised countries (G8) takes place in the Italian city of Genoa on July 20-22. The event is attracting a whole variety of movements critical of the dominant models of development for aggravating the inequalities between countries and among people and for destroying the environment. Although the face of the world is scarred by flagrant injustices, political leaders focus nearly entirely on ?the great? when evaluating economic and political reality. Members of religious congregations want to call the summit?s attention back to ?the little ones? and therefore they come to Genoa, too. Explicitly concerned about the crushing debt of the poorest countries, they are also raising major questions about social justice, respect for the environment, and the rights of exploited children. JDRAD (Jesuits for Debt Relief and Development) is an international network whose mission is to mobilise the Jesuit voice and contribution on issues of debt and development. Along with around ninety religious congregations and other organisations, JDRAD has signed the Interreligious Appeal for Economic Justice for Impoverished Countries. It appeals bravely for daring initiatives to create a new economy. The manifesto is not afraid to spell out what should be done: cancel the entire debt of the impoverished countries, end programmes of structural adjustment, and reach international commercial agreements which benefit impoverished countries. Joining members of other faiths and beliefs, the religious are taking part in an international march on Saturday 21 July and are spending two days in prayer and fasting at the Franciscan Church of Saint Anthony beginning the morning of Friday 20 July. Contemplative convents in Genoa, along with many parishes and groups in different parts of the world, are joining in the prayer, and everyone is invited to follow their example as well as send messages of solidarity. ?You will not resign yourselves to a world where other human beings die of hunger, remain illiterate and have no work,? the Pope challenged young people last year. ?You will strive with all your strength to make this earth ever more liveable for all people.? [HL10701]