I write after two intense meetings here in Brussels, on a special day for Italy and Europe. Amal al Qubaisi is the first female President of the United Arab Emirates’ Parliament. She is an architect, and she had never dealt with politics until 2005. Then, in 2006, a turning point in her life: she felt the moral and civic duty to run for office and contribute to her country’s institutional life. And she became the first woman to be elected in the Federal National Council. She shows a great example to all Arab women, but also to that part of “the West” who has a purely stereotypical vision of the Arab and Islamic world. Amal fights to protect the values of Islam as a religion of peace, against those who are using of her faith to wage war and promote their own economic interests and their power.
Together we talked about terrorism and the many regional crises, from Syria to Yemen. We talked about all the refugees who are fleeing war, and how to protect them, as we also cooperate with the international community to build a future of peace and let everyone go back to their homes.
The devastation provoked by war and terror was also at the core of my meeting with Ertharin Cousin, the executive director of the World Food Programme – another female leader, at the head of one of the most important UN agencies. Our European Union has just invested 4o million euros through the Fund for Syrian refugees in Turkey, to support a WFP project helping 735,000 people. And we are ready to cooperate in Nigeria, too: half a million men, women and children risk to die of starvation in areas that used to be controlled by Boko Haram and have now been liberated.
Our intervention is urgent: we must break the spiral of despair, which is being exploited by terrorist organisations. As we tackle the emergency, we must always keep in sight the more distant future. We have to rebuilt the social fabric of so many communities, supporting education and growth. We have to give future generations the keys to their countries’ future. It is vital for Nigeria, it is vital for Syria and Libya. And it was vital for Europe after War World two.
Today, April 25th, is a special day for Italy. Seventy-one years ago, the day of Liberation from fascism and nazism, Italy came out of a dramatic era of its history. After the devastation caused by the war, the Liberation started to lay down the path towards a new Italy, in a new and united Europe. The values of the Resistance are part of our history and of our present, especially in such a difficult moment: liberty, peace and human rights. This is what our fathers fought for. It is up to us to protect these values, each and every day.