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The young are like swallows


At the end of February 1964 the International Youth Conference for Peace and disarmament was organized in Florence.

La Pira agreed to have it take place in Palazzo Vecchio, and at the inaugural session gave a speech on the historical prospect of the progressive unity of the world.


(…) The peoples and nations of the whole world by this time, and more so day by day, comprise an indissoluble unity (even if – like any true unity – it is multiple, and therefore full of variation: “an orderly multitude!”), which means that the scientific, technical, economic, social, political, cultural and religious problems of each people are problems to which the solution organically involves all the other peoples of the globe!

All the walls have crumbled, all the barriers have broken down, all the divisive mindsets have been removed: the frontiers of the nations have been transformed from walls that divide into bridges that unite! (…)

The new generations are indeed like migratory birds: they are like swallows. They sense the weather, they sense the season. When spring comes they move in an orderly fashion, driven by an invincible vital instinct – one that shows them the route and the harbours – towards the land where spring is in flower!

So it is with the new generations of our time: “haec est generatio quaerentium eum”. (…) [We need] world plans (biblical even these) therefore, everywhere to eradicate hunger, unemployment and poverty (there are still two billion undernourished people); to eradicate ignorance everywhere (half the world is still unable to read); everywhere to fight disease and prolong life; everywhere to root out slavery and tyranny (colonialism; Fascism and Nazism; racism; anti-Semitism; nationalism; governmentalism, dogmatism, State atheism, Stalinism)!