God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

The Gap

Sitting at the Waterfront in Cape Town I watch the crowd of people making their way through the shops and passages of this No 1 tourist attraction. It is buzzing as always after the day of pay for most of the people. Having read a report of the NGO Oxfam just a bit earlier, I wonder how to reconcile what I see with what was written in the research ” Is South Africa Operating in a Safe and Just Space? ”  In the conclusion they mention that South Africa has one of the highest official unemployment rates in the world (25%) and is one of the most unequal countries, with a Gini coefficient of 0.69. The wealthiest 4% of households receive 32% of total income while 66% of households receive only 21% of all income. Over half of South Africans live below the national poverty line and more than 10% live in extreme poverty, on less than R15.85 per day.
Once again it is obvious which gaps exists between those who have and those who don’t have. All BEE and BB BEE and revised BBBEE has not achieved that the entrepreneurial spirit ignited on a scale changing the destiny of the country. Poor leadership and cadre deployment has done injustice to those aspiring to leave the spiral of poverty, hunger and desperation. It is the millions still living under conditions not suitable for humans which did not get the fair share in the new South Africa. But not all is lost – there is an immense will and dedication in many places to better the lives of those in need and hope never has disappeared. But South African society will remain unequal till the spirit of 1994 re-emerges and people understand that only together we can make it and turn the tide towards a prosper nation. It is also this inequality which makes sometimes working in the fields of HIV and AIDS so difficult: empowerment of patients to understand their treatment, to have the means to dish out good food on their tables, a social network which carries those in need the extra-mile. It is not only about donations – bridging the gap between those who have and those who don’t have means to get to a real understanding of each other and a solidarity which comes from the dept of the heart and not as a feeling of obligation to share some bucks with the poor. Religion could play here a much better and supportive role – if all the energy which goes into the controlling of sexuality and related fields as well as marking the territory against competition or those believing differently into supporting social coherence and healing the wounds of our society, much could be achieved in little time. At least the aforesaid gap could be narrowed and the blessings of the new South Africa could be spread to many more as it is done in the moment.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Politics and Society, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, South Africa, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Radioactivity

Besides all the news about the bus bombing in Jerusalem today and the war games in Libya – Japan still maintains a role in the news on TV. And listening to the news about more and more radioactivity in food, in water, in the air and the evacuation of all workers of Fukushima Nuclear Plant I ask myself whether we really grasp the reality we are facing. Looking at the pictures of destroyed cities – empty shops, no electricity, no petrol: a whole system, praised as one of the most efficient and technology wise advanced nations has come to a still stand and the radioactivity in the nature and the sea will not go away soon. Most probably at least one generation will be constantly reminded of the disaster.

It is the second time, Japan is hit from the nuclear power – the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still vivid memories for the Japanese people.

I read from Bishop Williamson, that he connects the disaster with the sins of the people and that God uses such punishment to bring people to re-think their doing. What a nonsense – what an abuse of a catastrophe for a meaningless theology – abandoned in that form a long time ago. God protect us from those Pius-brothers, they are really a pain in the neck of our church trying to recover from all the bad news of the last years.

It seems that most people have lost the ability to comprehend what is going on – the consequences of natural forces and that within minutes, our ordinary life is gone – as the people of a nation, a community or also in a private capacity. It reminds me that also other disasters like HIV/AIDS seems to be so incomprehensible that one stops thinking really of it, because it is “the others”, not me, not us. It is far away – it cannot happen to me, to us, to our family. Or the question of the millions dying of hunger every year, while we throw away food and subsidies destroying food in the rich countries or for farm products never been sold.

For me, the Japanese tragedy reminds me, how short-sighted we are and how we push away all thoughts, which would mean troubling thoughts on a long term run. Which would push me to give answers on questions I don’t want to be bothered with… Which maybe ask me to acknowledge that this world is still “in creation” as the bible put it – not ready, not in harmony – and even not giving an answer to the question “why””.

Be the work in the fields of HIV/AIDS or be it the tragedy in Japan – I hope I led all these questions to bother me as long as I live and challenge me to search for new answers every day.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , , ,

08.05.2010 Is it murder?

I just read: Since 500 years the people of the South, 4.9 billion people are dominated by the Caucasians of Europe and later North America, which are 24.6% of the world population. Those quarter defines our world trade system. The consequences: Every 5 seconds a child under the age of 10 is dying of hunger. Every day we can add 47 000 people dying of hunger in the world. More than 1 billion are suffering of malnutrition. And the numbers are rising.

According to the UNO, we can produce worldwide food for 12 billion people, far more than we have in the moment.. Lets face it: If we don’t do,what we can do, if we accept a world trade system and a finance system producing such numbers of dying and death people: this is murder, as we are all able to know the consequences of our system.The dignity of every human person is untouchable…  who is really believing in this statement?

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

14th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenNovember 16th, 2019
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