|For the attention of Emmaus International members
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread, we would like to write to all of you: companions, leaders, employees and friends of the Emmaus movement.
First and foremost, we wish you all good health and we hope that you are taking care of yourselves and each other at home, in your groups and in your neighbourhoods. This epidemic is serious, it is causing a great deal of harm and we urge you to strictly follow all the health advice issued in your countries.
We also wanted to inform you that despite confinement measures, border closures and cancellations of our meetings and all travel, we have found, thanks to the support of the Emmaus International secretariat, the means for elected members of the executive committee to remain in contact. Together, and with board members, we have taken stock of the situation and are reflecting on how to best support groups, and the movement, during this uncertain period of profound disruption that we are facing.
We are, and will remain, by the side of the most excluded, and although our activities are gradually ceasing in many countries, we continue to share our lives in communities all over the world. At times this becomes almost impossible as employees in some of our organisations are obliged to stay at home, and we do not yet know what means we are going to find to guarantee them a living wage. However, in France and in other countries we have seen that initiatives are being set up, and actions are being maintained, to guarantee our solidarity with the most excluded.
In light of this situation, we will obviously have to rethink our work schedule and the meetings planned in our nations, our four Emmaus regions, and at an international level, in particular our World Assembly. It is too soon to give you specific details, and the realities on the ground will make it clearer over time, but we have to consider postponing this important event in our movement until 2021.
By postponing the World Assembly, we hope that it will give us all time to get back on our feet after this challenging period, although we cannot yet predict how long it will last.
Moreover, during this period we wish to focus on the implementation of many solidarity initiatives. Some are already considering these at national level, but the international dimension of this pandemic, and what it reveals about the unacceptable limits of the dominant model of globalisation, also compels us to think about our solidarity at a global level, since we are present in more than 40 countries.
This international presence also makes us strong! Indeed, the very nature of our movement, its diversity and its international dimension, enable us to become a collective force.
When the World Assembly does take place, it will be an opportunity for us to reflect together on our alternatives in the face of this system that we are fighting, which destroys both life and the planet.
This health crisis is yet another warning of the excesses of so-called neoliberal policies, which in recent decades have continued to deepen social inequalities within our countries and between different regions of the world. They have also destroyed our ecosystems, resulting at times in irreversible losses to our biodiversity and leading to alarming changes in our climate. Throughout the world, these policies have led to the progressive dismantling of public services, the privatisation of access to our most basic needs, such as water, nutritious food, education and health. These political choices will have a strong impact on the ability of each country to care for sick patients and the most vulnerable, including migrants, the homeless and people living in extreme poverty, everywhere around the world.
There must be an "after" to this pandemic, and we must mobilise to ensure that this "after" is never again like the "before".
All of us at Emmaus International, and at all levels of the movement, want to build a world of peace and justice.
We wish you all great courage and collective strength to face this unprecedented moment in our history. We will keep you informed of the measures that we, together with the board, will be able to put in place in the coming weeks to stand together in solidarity, along with our plans for the coming months.
Together, more than ever, we shall overcome !