Jesus of Nazareth

The Flight to Egypt represents the displaced, the emigrants, the homeless, all those persons who, for political, social or economic reasons find themselves forced to abandon their land and the land of their fathers to save their lives.

Now after they have left, an angel of Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him."(8).

Without waiting for dawn, he prepared to flee to Egypt. The journey must have been gruelling and very hard, but nonetheless he was faithful to the words of the angel and the will of God, he made the preparations, and he trusted in the goodness of the Lord.

Egypt, as we know, was the classic country of political refuge in that time, being a Roman province. There were many Jews there, flourishing colonies and districts inhabited by them. There is no data specifying where they settled upon reaching Egypt.

Herod, fearful of a Messianic plot, gave the brutal order to kill all male children younger than two years of age in the town of Bethlehem, an order that was fulfilled and which went down in history as "the massacre of the Holy Innocents".

"Thus says the Lord: "A voice is hear in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more. (9)

Once more, as he rested, the angel appeared to him in dreams and announced that he could return already, as Herod had died. "Get up, take the child and his mother and go back to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child ´s life are dead." Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. (10)

The flight to Egypt is the icon of emigration of a family, the emigration that causes hunger, wars, social marginalization and persecution. Jesus began his peregrinations as a child and became an emigrant , a refugee, someone who had to abandon his land to save his life.

Muhammad (PBUH)

In the Islamic history and tradition, Ethiopia is known as the "Haven of the First Migration of Hijra." Ethiopia was the country chosen by the Prophet (Pbuh) when his followers needed protection and freedom from oppression.

After the conversion of Hamza, the Companions of the Prophet (Pbuh) began to offer prayers publicly. In turn the Quraysh intensified their opposition by torturing the Muslims. The companions and relatives of the Prophet (Pbuh) were prepared to sacrifice and suffer all sorts of hardship and alienation rather that give up their own convictions and freedom.

"Those who believe, who migrated and strove hard in God´s way with their possessions and their persons, are in God´s eyes much higher in rank; it is they who will triumph; and their Lord gives them the good news of His mercy and pleasure , Gardens where they will have lasting bliss" . (11) The Prophet (Pbuh) slowly began to attract some followers, most of them young and modest social standing, including his cousin Ali (Pbuh), the son of his uncle and protector Abu Talib.

When Muhammad (Pbuh) began to impugn the traditional polytheism of his native town, the rich and powerful merchants of Mecca realized that the religious revolution taking place might be disastrous for their own interest.

Members of the two warring tribes the Banu Awz and the Banu Khazraj, asked the Prophet (Pbuh) to act as peacemaker in a conflict between them. His mediation was impeccable and revealed great political wisdom. In the Prophet (Pbuh), prophetic mission and political ability complemented each other, making him a statesman apart from Messenger of God.

The First Migration of the companions and relatives of the Prophet (Pbuh) to Ethiopia celebrates the birth of freedom of expression and beliefs, whereas, the Second Migration of the Prophet (Pbuh) to Madinah celebrates the end of oppression.

History has shown that both migrations have laid down the foundations of the Islam as an universal religion. They accepted the universality of the message of the Prophet (Pbuh) and the Qu´ran describes their belief in these words:

This people are not given to arrogance and when they listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger, you will see their eyes overflowing with tears because they recognize the Truth. They say, "Our Lord, we believe, so count us amongst the witnesses." (12)

The Holy Scriptures tell us that the lives of God's Chosen are sustained by two fundamental pillars: one, their nomadic existence, and the other, their faith in God.

"Provide yourself for the journey because the call for departure has been announced…(…).You should therefore cut away all the attachments of this world and assist yourself with the provision of Allah´s fear." (13)

Through their absolute faith in God, they progressively live their faith and their reality in perfect coherence with the promises received from God. And this opens them to a new and transcendent hope that keeps them tensing towards a future that they are called to built, knowing that the promise will come true in the same process and that it will be God who makes it so, even in the most adverse human conditions. And it will come true unexpectedly, because their faith in the promise advances inseparably from their faith in God.

II. Emigration and mass movements in the world today

World stateless people

Recent research suggest that may be eleven million people globally without a country to "call their own". Article I of the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons spells out the legal definition, indicating that, "someone who is not a national of any state under relevant laws is therefore stateless."

Parents cannot officially register the birth of a newborn baby. He or she may not be able to attend school or university and when these people die, they will be buried in an anonymous burial without official recognition, like if they never existed. People who do not have a country to call their own.

The issue of statelessness is politically sensitive in many affected countries and often viewed as an internal problem. Doubt to this many governments have not made accurate figure what makes it very difficult to really know the magnitude of the actual problem.

They became stateless through a very complicated series of political, legal, or administrative directives, which includes among others: Arbitrary deprivation of nationality by a government; Administrative oversight, misunderstandings or conflicts of law; Administrative procedural problems. Several international and regional treaties offer a degree of guidance and emphasize that everyone should have a nationality. However, international support of these treaties has been lethargic and needs to be strengthened. Fewer governments know the precise magnitude of the problem in their countries.