God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

14.02.2010 Valentine Day, drugs and social structures..

Three services at Milnerton church, 3 kids baptized, one lekker luncheon and a decent dinner – this weekend had enough of its own but at the end I feel, that I still had enough time to do some office work in between.
Valentine’s Day and I reminded the churchgoers this evening that Valentine was originally a Catholic feast before the Americans took over and commercialized it in a way one cannot see the origin anymore.
On the same weekend it happened that I was reading about the drug war in Mexico – about the mounting dead toll and – according to the article the growing understanding, that the problem cannot be solved militarily.  The article hinted that more and more South American states were thinking about legalizing the drugs and so to strip the black market and all the crime going with it. I am not sure how they want to do it, but I also think meanwhile, seeing all the criminal behaviour attached to recreational drug use, that to ease the restrictions could be a way forward. The Netherlands have shown that legalizing marijuana in a certain way does not mean to get more people on drugs but to ease the work of the police and to relax the situation. Without advocating the complete decriminalization of all drugs I am certainly convinced, that a radical re-think of the problem only can help us to get a grip on the drama, unfolding in many countries of the world.  I am also thinking of medical marijuana for terminal ill or chronically ill persons – why not? It makes sense to me and when I see how easy our society is with alcohol and tobacco, yes – still tobacco if you look at it from a global point – then I guess a re-think would do good in many ways.

Well, I am sure that now some readers are jumping, asking how a priest can advocate such a solution for drugs. I do advocate nothing, but I certainly do think that we have to think out of the box to tackle the problem – especially also in South Africa.

Another article which got me thinking was a German article talking about Mr. Westerwelle attacking the social security system of our system in connection with “Hartz IV”,  which regulates the grant, people without work get in Germany. I am convinced that Hartz IV is against certain human rights and certainly the way it is impemented is against the dignity of people and we have to re-think it again, but in a complete different way than he thinks we should do it. Hartz IV and the poverty, which also affects people living with HIV and AIDS is certainly for Germans a point to reflect on. The staggering attacks of the politician on the social fabric of the German society sounds definitely not right in my point of view but shows how far politicians have distanced themselves from the realities of life.  I agree with him, that is unfair that somebody working can earn less than the grant, but it is not the grant which is wrong but the earning of that person. All this cheap labour, introduced in the last years in Germany in the spell of the delusion that de-regulations of the markets are doing all miracles for the economic grows of  a country, is simply wrong.

Well, you see, lots of food for thoughts – and that just on the Valentines weekend…

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HIV, Development and HOPE – thoughts of a Catholic priest

Being a Roman - Catholic priest and working in the fields of HIV and social development in Africa has its challenges. You will find stories and reflections about my work, about the church, South Africa and Africa, about politics and whatever triggers my interest. You are most welcome to leave a comment or to get in touch with me. Blogging means to initiate thoughts and discussions and for the writer to formulate what is loosely running around in the heart and mind in need of being sorted and spoken out.

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