God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

The danger of being authoritarian

Whoever watched yesterdays press conference in South Africa, where ministers outlined the response and rules of engagement during the 21 day lock-down might have now second thoughts about the events unfolding. After two presidential speeches from Cyril Ramaphosa, who succeeded in bringing across a coherent and logical response to the Covid-19 challenge, most ministers did not really show the same amount of compassion and sense for realities.

Remarkably some minister clearly showed signs of enjoyment being in charge and feeling in charge. Incoherent information unfortunately did not improve the situation either.
Keeping people apart can be done in different ways – and South Africa choose the method of lock – down. This in itself is not wrong – a tool of virus confinement used also by other nations. The example of Jordan comes to mind when looking how far and how restrictive measurements can be before people will start to rally against them. There is a fine balance between getting it right and going too far.

In a country like South Africa a buy-in of the population is a necessity to get the answer to the Coronavirus right. Understaffed police and military will not be able to control the masses if there is no goodwill amongst those being governed. Townships are not easy to control and the 21 days without income for so many is hardship not easy to endure if you have a family.

It has to be seen how things develop after midnight – the last 24 hours have been clearly an example how far away some political officials are from real life experience. It was also clear to see how split the ANC is between those understanding democracy and the care for those governed and those rather interested in the ideology of a party and power play. South Africa’s lock-down can be the salvation in the pandemic, but only if there is a clear balance between what is really needed to stop the spread of the virus and what is over-reacting for reasons far beyond necessity.

Democracies – especially in the times of such challenges – are in danger of losing out the freedoms they are supposed to guard and guaranteed. The feeling of citizens of being at the mercy of a pandemic can become a breeding ground for those politicians who have not captured and internalised the values of democracy. It is a temptation – and one has to watch out especially in a country without a long track record of this form of government.

 

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

22.01.2010 Friday eve…

Discussion with a lecturer from Munich about a photo exhibition during the World Cup 2010 featuring the lives of people here in South Africa. We discuss the possibility to feature in this exhibition also a HOPE community health worker or the HOPE doctor. An interesting way of having a look on the life of a person from HOPE Cape Town: through a camera which keeps moments in a life’s time to show the reality of daily routine, hardship and joy. I think it is a good idea and for HOPE Cape Town also interesting to get a photographic feed back  on the work we are doing through our front people: the HOPE community health workers.

Luncheon with a friend – always good just to let go and talk and consider and plan for going together to Germany and Italy in May – unfortunately business related. But still: it is interesting to see after so many years, that friendship can create synergies assisting the work within the Archdiocese of Cape Town. A very good feeling about it – and an outstanding service at the so-called family restaurant.

Office work, phone calls, preparations – a decent dinner with nice people – this day brought a good mix of everything and looking back at the week, which started in Bangkok and will end in Newlands – a diversity of experience within a week which makes one grateful. I hope for more such good weeks to come in the next time…

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

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