God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

13.02.2010 Haiti…

4 weeks are gone in Haiti – and seeing some video clips and photos I am not sure we really understand what is going on there and how desperate people must feel having lost everything. All modern technology could not help to prevent this disaster and the first attempts of help, coordinated by the US has been – I almost would have said naturally – with lots of enthusiasm but also the typical sense of “we know it all”.  Haiti was a broken state and nature has proven to be able to add to the misery. I am not sure how so-called industrialised countries can coop with such a natural force, but hurricane “Katharina” has shown that they do not better, even worse as the expectations of the people are much higher.

Sometimes I ask myself how much compassion a person can show in our times or when the constant flood of misery through TV news, online news etc simply provokes a stop of such feelings because people are exhausted or getting used to it. I guess the same is to ask when one lives in a developing country and sees poverty and tragedy every day. It is in a certain sense true that one gets used to a situation – and when I go with visitors into a township, then I see rather the improvements since my last visit (if there are any) than the poverty. And it needs the art of a sort of balance of different feelings, being touched, but also accepting certain conditions for the time being as not changeable by oneself.

After almost 13 years South Africa, I am still sitting in the evenings after a day “out there” and reflect how I would feel living in a shack or without work or without mony depending on other people’s handout. I tell myself that this thoughts are useless because obviously alone the way I think is surely different as I would have thought if I would have been in that situation since birth. Sounds philosophically? Yes, I believe so, but in simple words: My realties would be a totally different ones grown up under different circumstances.

Nevertheless, alone that I am reflecting shows me, that I have not lost the sense of compassion and a sense that there is in front of my doorstep lots of injustice. I know that having founded HOPE Cape Town together with others helps people, but often I wish I could do so much more in less time. And then creeps in the feeling of being powerless.  Well, then there is only one thing to do: to believe my own sermons telling that nobody is powerless and that we are all called to change and better the world.  🙂

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

20.01.2010 Haiti

What can one say about Haiti – days after the earthquake one can still find miracles – people being found while trapped for days – but one also finds the impotence of the modern world to deal with disasters like it. After hurricane Katharina now Haiti is showing us how little we so developed nations with all our equipment can do when nature strikes. For me, besides all the human tragedy it is always amazing to see that we reach to the stars, explore the universe – but are not able to handle mother nature and it’s sometimes brutal aftermath. We are not the crown of creation – but part of it – and being part of creation means being part of living and dying in the circle of life – sometimes so completely against the way we portrait nature: gentle, perfect – or as it is stated in the Bible:  – and it was good.

We have to reconcile our longing for harmony between human mankind and nature with the realities: eaten and being eaten, natural disasters killing innocent people every year. The lion is still not laying with the lamb – but in Africa every year people are killed by wild animals; tornados, thunderstorms, storm flooding, earthquakes, avalanches – they all produce victims and most of it is completely unpredictable and most times, the poorest are impacted the most.

For me it also shows how precious life is – how sumptuous every minute we live and how fast it can be end. Such tragedy is not only a challenge for our compassion and solidarity, but also a reminder about the value of every minute we are able to live and put a meaning to our living.

Haiti – time to open our hearts and show solidarity, but also to open our minds and reflect on the meaning of it all.
And yes, it is difficult to reconcile or explain what has happened, but the most stupid explanation I have read so far was the one of a well-known American preacher Pat Robertson, who according to CNN attributed the earthquake to the fact, that Haiti “swore a pact to the devil” by the creation of Haiti.

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

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