Appeal from Africa for the 56th World Communications Day:
"Let us rediscover the ability to listen to the other"
Rome (Agenzia Fides) - Only listening to the other allows us to lay the foundations in order to build a fruitful dialogue, a prerequisite for building a more just society. This is the synthesis of the messages launched by some African Bishops on the occasion of the 56th World Communications Day which was celebrated yesterday, Sunday, May 29.
"We have killed our ability to be patient and that has resulted in our inability to listen. We have made ourselves incapable of responding to one of the greatest needs of humans: the boundless desire to be heard", said His Exc. Mgr. Peter Kayode Odetoyinbo, Bishop of Abeokuta (Nigeria) in his homily held in the cathedral of St. Peter and Paul. "All of us want to be heard; we all want to pour the burden we carry in our hearts; we want to seek true direction; we want to ask so many existential questions; we just want someone to listen to us", said Msgr. Odetoyinbo.
A lack of listening and communication which is all the more serious in a country like Nigeria which is experiencing serious tensions and conflicts. "The events of our country in recent times, evident in the incessant and heartless killing of innocent souls, kidnapping, maiming, religious and political tussle, and many more, call us to reevaluate our sense of listening. We have indeed been deaf to one another. We have sacrificed love and concern for one another on the altar of selfishness. We have closed our ears from hearing the truth of our existence, covered our eyes from seeing the plight of those we are called to help, and sealed our mouth from speaking against the evils of our land. All of these are due to the sad truth that we have stopped listening with the ears of our heart", remarked the Bishop of Abeokuta.
"The desire to be heard is one of the most basic human demands in today’s world", said His Exc. Mgr. Valentine Kalumba, Bishop of Livingstone and Director of Social Communications of the Bishops' Conference of Zambia (ZCCB).
"Communication does not take place if listening has not taken place, and there is no good journalism without the ability to listen well. Society is losing the ability to listen well both in everyday interactions and when debating issues of society", he said.
Bishop Kalumba said at the same time, listening is undergoing a significant new development in the sphere of communication and information, as evidenced by the numerous podcasts and audio messages available, all of which serve to confirm that listening is still an important part of human communication.