God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Beyond understanding

Beyond understanding and inhumane – certainly not wise nor in the tradition of the great religions of this world: the way certain countries deal with the refugee crisis. Instead of realizing the magnitude and desperation of the situation, but also the historical challenge, politicians in the USA and Europe trying to hold on a world which has long gone and hold no water anymore for the dire human tragedy in the times of a digital revolution bringing the pictures of good or cruel deeds onto the surface of social media – and consequently into the homes of everybody. And the reaction can be so different:

There are those who grasp somehow the magnitude of the challenge, who see the tectonic shift in how the world moves combined with the plight of human creatures yearning for a decent life without war and unrest or economical hardship giving their kids no chance in life. And there are those who – by all means – try to keep a world view up which is long gone – but in desperation they support a white, male, European and North American dominance ruling the world with an economic system which pays lip service to real development while cementing superiority of a white macho- first-world mentality with a degree of variations.

Added to this is a “trump-ish”style of “me and my country first”attitude making landfall also in Europe – really believing that the structures of country boundaries and societies are set in stone and have to be protected by all means necessary. Amazingly even studied people like academics and journalists seem to fall for a static world view. Ad a fascist tendency in some countries or the call for a strong man – believing that a political messiah like Orban in Ungarn, Trump in the USA or Kurz in Austria can rescue the little world view a loud minority holds against a silent majority and the mess beyond understanding is ready to rule lives. Not to mention the resurrection of the brown mud represented by the AfD in Germany or there-likes in Europe.

No, as long as only the next election is eyed for and populism replaces real politics – as long as a world order favors those who have and disadvantages those having nothing anyhow – as long as we don’t tackle the problems jointly and understand that we are meanwhile a global village having to learn to understand each other and live with each other – the circle of violence and war, of unrest and power play, the circle of winners and losers and the rule of a Western white macho male society will continue to dominate daily lives. And this costs lives every day.

It is time to understand that the way the systems work will not hold water under the bridge any longer – and that the attempt to keep an old world order in place at any cost will not only cost lives, but it will simply not work at the end. The longer we wait to understand this, the longer the suffering of those who remain at the bottom of the old order.

Steps into a new world order are needed:
A new world order which recognizes the failures and mistakes of the past, which recognizes history,  which understand the inter-connectivity of all people of the one and only human race and which puts the environment as a top priority on the political to-do-list. A new world order balancing the need for stability with the acknowledgment that nothing is forever and development means always also movement to new shores.
For that we need politicians and leaders with a vision – not “Kurz-sichtigkeit” or a view limited to the next election date or – like in the case of Donald Trump, decisions only made looking to please those who have elected him – without any appreciation whether this hurts the rest of the world or not.

Filed under: Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Austria de-criminalizes safer sex for a person living with HIV

The organization GGG in Austria announces that the Ministry of Justice in a letter to the Austrian AIDS Society indicated that a person living with HIV and having safer sex can not be criminalized in Austria anymore. The ministry even goes further accepting that a person on effective treatment can not be considered infectious even when having unprotected sexual intercourse. Here the original text of the website in German language:

http://www.ggg.at/index.php?id=62&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=3436&cHash=a091a592bb5bbfd02109906933efd69a

Bis jetzt haben sich HIV-Positive in Österreich auf jeden Fall strafbar gemacht, wenn sie Sex hatten – auch mit Kondom und nicht nachweisbarer Viruslast. Das hat sich jetzt geändert.

Grundlage für die Kriminalisierung HIV-Positiver sind die Paragraphen 178 und 179 des Strafgesetzbuches über die “Gefährdung von Menschen durch übertragbare Krankheiten”: “Wer eine Handlung begeht, die geeignet ist, die Gefahr der Verbreitung einer übertragbaren Krankheit unter Menschen herbeizuführen, ist mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu drei Jahren oder mit Geldstrafe bis zu 360 Tagessätzen zu bestrafen, wenn die Krankheit ihrer Art nach zu den wenn auch nur beschränkt anzeige- oder meldepflichtigen Krankheiten gehört”, heißt es im ersten Paragraph, im zweiten wird das Strafmaß bei Fahrlässigkeit auf ein Jahr Gefängnis reduziert.

Dabei handelt es sich um ein “potentielles Gefährdungsdelikt”: Das heißt, für eine Anklage reicht es, wenn theoretisch die Gefahr einer Ansteckung bestanden hätte. Eine tatsächliche Ansteckung oder sogar ein konkretes Risiko sind für die Anklage unerheblich.

Und dieser Paragraph wurde auch auf HIV-Positive angewandt. Allein von 2005 bis 2008 wurden in Österreich 18 Menschen mit HIV/Aids nach diesen Paragraphen angeklagt.

Doch damit soll jetzt Schluss sein: Das Justizministerium erkennt an, dass bei Safer Sex mit Positiven keine Gefährdung nach den Paragraphen 178 und 179 vorliegt. Und das betrifft nicht nur Sex mit Kondom. In einem Schreiben an die Österreichische Aids-Gesellschaft erläutert das Justizministerium, dass juristisch “selbst mit dem ungeschützten Geschlechtsverkehr einer HIV-infizierten Person dann keine Ansteckungsgefahr verbunden (ist), wenn sich die infizierte Person konsequent einer wirksamen antiretroviralen Therapie unterzieht”.

Die Österreichische Aids-Gesellschaft ist über die fortschrittlichen Ansichten des Justizministeriums erfreut und bezeichnet sie als “weiteren Schritt zur Entkriminalisierung und Entstigmatisierung von HIV-Positiven.”

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, Politics and Society, , , , ,

14.3.2010 Thailand or never peace?

Once again politics in Thailand brings the country on the brink to chaos, this time the so-called “red shirts” on the streets of Bangkok trying to bring down the government. Sometimes I wonder about a lot of things: About how people perceive their political view as the only valid once. About how people think their doing is so important for the development of this world. About how people perceive the  state of affairs as static. People murder for their political views, people die for their country, politicians negotiate in a way one could think the nation has exist since the beginning of the world.

I advise to go somewhere in the desert or in the bush where there is no artificial light and have a look at night at the stars, at the milky way and all its unlimited extensions… And then feel how small and tiny we are… A bit more being humble would help in most situations.

I also think that by the way when I observe religious leaders and gurus – how they insist to know the truth and only the truth. People of the cloth have killed for their conviction in the past, wars have been ignited by religious views, so-called witches burned, Jews hunted, crusaders send en mass to Jerusalem.

I advise to go somewhere in the desert or in the bush where there is no artificial light and have a look at night at the stars… and you suddenly realise how little you know about this world and its existence and where we are coming from and going to. We believe, but there are so many things we still have to learn about the meaning of life – even the holiest man is still far away from knowing it all. If he is wise, he knows that he doesn’t know – and he is humble. We need a lot of wise men in our days..

All this reflection does not prevent from preparing for the week. After 2 weeks with limited internet I spent this Sunday in answering emails and preparing for the coming week. A Bavarian delegation is arriving and visiting HOPE Cape Town, the Austrian TV wants to have an interview, there are several meetings with representatives of the health sector of the province and much more. Hope there is time to live in between.

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

13th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 27th, 2018
3 months to go.

Ball of HOPE 2018

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 12th, 2018

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© Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and HIV, AIDS and HOPE.
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