Syria and the Netherlands: Commemorate the life of Fr. Frans van der Lugt, SJ, on the 5th anniversary of his murder
5/4/19 - On 7 April we commemorate the 5th anniversary of the murder of Fr. Frans van der Lugt SJ, a Dutch Jesuit in Homs, Syria. To commemorate this, the Jesuits of the Low Countries have made an animated film to honour his life. This video is dedicated to the life and death of Fr. Frans, and in particular to his message of reconciliation.
In the film, Van der Lugt sj has his say for a final time. He makes an urgent appeal to every human being to never give the last word to hatred, but to fight for love. "To my last gasp, I hoped that the hate, conflict and pain would stop”.
In the months before his death, Frans van der Lugt sj called on the international community to end the war and send food. His powerful video messages were shown worldwide in many news programmes. His brutal death came as a shock.
In the animation, the fictional voice of Jesuit Van der Lugt looks back on the abrupt end of his life. On the one hand he has hope, on the other there is his own death. "As if everything has stopped. And yet it keeps going. Yes, it keeps on going.” That is his firm conviction. For: "it is love that keeps on going. Nobody should be discouraged.”
Father Frans lived in a besieged part of the Syrian city of Homs. While the bombs fell, people around him died of hunger. What began as a siege of at most a few days, ended in months of being trapped. A few days after the murder of Van der Lugt sj, the inhabitants of Homs were able to leave the besieged district under the auspices of the United Nations.