God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Inhumanity of systems

“The system does not allow for it” – how often have you heard this answer when trying to change or streamline something at a customer care center or at a counter of a major airline or company. It seems to me, that the more we try to perfect the systems to run and organize our lives in society the more we are giving away this little quench of humanity making companies, city administrations, airline companies and in general any entity dealing with clients or customers on a bigger scale.
Systems should be there to serve people, especially computer programs are invented to make life easier but in reality, they are starting to complicate things. Living in South Africa, I am sure most of my fellow comrades will have had run ins with Telkom, the SABC or even the traffic department because payments are not registered properly and the helpless and mostly clueless customer care agent can only try to calm down the customer while the system is the person in question hunting down without mercy or relief up to the debt collectors letters without having the possibility to stop the nonsense.

I guess we also have to take care that our systems in church or an NGO does not become the perfect battle ground for inhumane systems and that we strive the balance between work easier done and having the chance to show that we as human beings still deal with human beings.  I remember a diplomat getting into a court battle at home, because the church system of taxation didn’t recognize him being abroad for some years but initiated at the end  a legal battle because the system did not allow for being abroad a longer time. Obviously this harmed his relationship with the respective church quite a bit.

I guess to counter the computerization of our lives we have to escape the idea to connect everything we are doing, from work via fitness via eating habits via social media with a digital system. I know people who run around the kitchen table just to have the magic number of steps given by their fitness wristband computer.

To remain human we must de-computerize our life where our personal habits become prescribed by a brainless micro-chip. There is indeed more than ever the need for an extended ethics of computer use and digitization of our lives. This besides the fact that such systems are indeed dangerous for our personal freedom and all the civil rights people so hard-fought for… 1984 from G. Orwell is starting to become more reality than we as normal citizens are aware of.

And so, while still fighting already paid traffic fines I will continue to think how I can balance better my personal freedom versus a digital world promising convenience of life without telling the whole story.

Filed under: Networking, Politics and Society, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

02.01.2010 Afterthoughts..

The first decade of the new century or better millenium is gone – and when people had dreams about things going better in this world after the cold war ended – we all have been dead wrong. Civil wars continue – the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians reached a new sort of brutality and we saw war crimes on both sides of the fence. 9/11 marked an area of confusion about we really can declare a “war of terror” – President Bush and his alike introduced torture again as a means of interrogation in a democracy – an unlawful war in Iraq produced chaos and a killing spree and the war in Afghanistan is also not what we have been promised.

Bankers have nothing learned out of the credit crunch and the financial turmoil and politics tried to gain upper hand – without a lot of success – we are drifting into the next turmoil for sure. Sarkozy in Paris, Berlusconi in Italy – the sort of politicians we get are at least questionable in my view. Copenhagen was a disaster – and the EU is growing in a way which might not be practical on a long-term run. Meanwhile we have to fight for our civil rights in Europe which seems to be taken away step by step. We urgently need a discussion on what is the purpose of a state.

Our church also did not show itself from the best side – children abuse was and is a big topic and Pope Benedict XVI also did not miss out some deeds of irritation be it his lecture in Regensburg, his like for the old traditions in liturgy and other matters as well his approach towards the Pius-Brotherhood.

My personal way was in the last year also in turmoil. Ignorance, jealousy, breach of promise and the likes should not be part of the principles for action within the church.  But staffing policy is not easy and not every department head and desk officer has the skills for human resource management or interpersonal skills. The virtue of dealing with criticism is also not that often found in the culture of the church. But I can say that I am not bitter and I am happy that I have overcome this testing of my vocation – it was at breaking point.

All this does not sound very exciting – but as so often: there are thousands of events, encounters, moments of joy, happiness, fulfillment – and all those moments give a good balance and a solid base to go into the new decade, even in my personal life with the resolution to remain a human and to “fight” for a human world – into a God made himself a human being, as we Christians believe.

My belief that at the end, it will all come together despite all human attempts to derail the lives of human fellows – and I am sure there will be a justice in a way at the end of our life, which is perfect but so different from what we call justice with our little human mind. I am looking forward to whatever is left from my personal life and to try to live it to the fullest.

Everybody who was with me, supported me, showed me his/her love, affection, trusted that I can assist him/her, prayed for me, just was part of my life: Thanks you and thank God for you!!

Happy New Year 🙂

Filed under: General, Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

19.12.2009 Civil rights lost and the meaning of a state community

Discussion yesterday evening while meeting up with friends. The failure of Copenhagen is imminent, and I do argue that the biggest problem is, that the rich industrial states are not genuine in their desire to cut CO2 and provide other measures in a way which would make the world community really an equal bunch of states. There is always the impression, even for somebody watching from outside, that the aim of the game is to keep all economical advantages and injustice the world is experiencing since decades.

And there is more: Politicians in most countries have given away their power to establish rules and regulations to economic powers, which are meanwhile the major global players. Free capitalism seemed to be the key for prosperity and success (for those who anyhow have already more than enough) – and suddenly the recession has shown, that it is not working out this way. The institution of a country are meant to create and enforce a framework which also keeps a certain ethics up and protects those, who are falling through the roaster of society. It seems that it will be a long way until politicians take on their original duties.

On the other hand, Europe is losing out when it comes to civil rights – we are developing more and more into a surveillance society where the right of an individual is completely ignored. It is time that all people of good will are standing up to defend the hard-won civil liberties – also in Germany. The institutions of a state are to serve the well-being of a group of people pursuing the same goals. One has the impression, that meanwhile those institutions are there to be served by the people – and that politicians are above the rest of society. Democracy in its original form is surely on the losing side contemplating the state of affair in European politics. It is time that civil society, but also churches are taking note of the eroding of civil rights and of a capitalism, which does not care about people or moral values.  That this has also consequences for a topic like HIV and AIDS goes without say.

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

14th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenNovember 16th, 2019
31 days to go.

Ball of HOPE 2020

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 23rd, 2020
7 months to go.
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