Don Mussie Zerai


“The angel of the refugees”. Father Mussie Zerai earned his nickname in the international press during his years of activity in defence of the rights and the very lives of asylum seekers and migrants fleeing from the Horn of Africa and the countries of sub-Saharan Africa towards Europe or Israel, which is seen as an outpost of the West: thousands of young people, men and women, entire families with children and adolescents who find themselves alone. Desperate people seeking to flee hunger and famine, war and persecution.
He himself was once a refugee. Born in Asmara, Eritrea, he was fortunate enough to land in Italy as a political refugee in 1992, when he was barely seventeen. This was an experience which he has never forgotten, and which has marked his life ever since the spring morning after the night he arrived in Rome, when he awoke, free at last, and felt the moral duty to put his experience and his energy at the service of other young people like him. Becoming a human rights activist was the natural progression from this decision, which was later confirmed and strengthened during his education: Philosophy at Piacenza from 2000 to 2003, Theology in the subsequent five years, and then Social Ethics at Pontifical Urbaniana University, until 2010, when he was ordained as a priest.