God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

Asking hard questions

Looking at the social-economic & political consequences worldwide of the Russian attack on Ukraine, there comes a point, where the removal of Putin by all means possible and any means necessary must be ethically discussed.

The UN writes about the global impact of the war in Ukraine:

“The war in Ukraine, in all its dimensions, is producing alarming cascading effects to a world economy already battered by COVID-19 and climate change, with particularly dramatic impacts on developing countries. Recent projections by UNCTAD estimate that the world economy will be a full percentage point
of GDP growth lower than expected 1due to the war, which is severely disrupting already tight food, energy, and financial markets. Ukraine and the Russian Federation are among the world’s breadbaskets.
They provide around 30 per cent of the world’s wheat and barley, one-fifth of its maize, and over half of its sunflower oil2. At the same time, the Russian Federation is the world’s top natural gas exporter, and second-largest oil exporter. Together, neighbouring Belarus and the Russian Federation also export around a fifth of the world’s fertilizers.”

The world is factually a global village and the digitalisation has contributed strongly to interconnect the economies. This means that the unfolding war will bring not only hardship, but also hunger and additional poverty, and with it premature dying of people worldwide.

The full report of the UN titled “Global impact of war in Ukraine on food, energy and finance systems” is available here

Besides looking at the ethical possibility to remove a leader violating with his actions the dignity of millions of people, the current situation has also made it very clear again, that the UN mechanisms, created after the second world war, are not carrying any more the weight needed to send a clear-cut message to those violating international laws and committing war crimes without even making the attempt to hide it.

Looking at other challenges like energy needs and climate change it becomes, especially after Covid-19 and now the attack of Russia on Ukraine crystal clear, that human mankind has to change tune if it wants to survive as the human race. We are not essential to the universe nor to our planet; if we want to live and thrive and create a future for the next generations in peace and dignity, we better get our acts together.

Looking into our world with the mounting numbers of fake news and outright lies, of unashamed violence and exploitation, those ethical questions of how to respond need a new reflection and answer for our time. Philosophers and religious institutions are challenged to come up with guidelines when it comes to political and social actions determining the future of humanity and the human race on this planet.

And to clarify: No, the war in Europe is not really special, as war governs constantly parts of the world. But I believe that suddenly also Europe woke up to this truth and after Covid-19 there is a kind of sensitivity towards challenges. People have woken up to think the unthinkable – a good moment in time to push for deeper reflections.

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

02.08.2009 First Sunday….

First Sunday after the holidays… so nice to see the known faces, to hear all the “welcome back” comments and to experience that people are happy to have you back. Even if it is only a short lived “being back”. Everybody wants to know how things are develop, what my future plans are. And still I cannot give any answer as I do not know. I have hoped that the future is clearer by now, but no word from anywhere. Also more and more press enquires about my future, also here I only can ask to wait a bit more before I can give a proper answer.

The sun is shining in Cape Town, a brilliant day and I can feel all my senses back to  normal and somehow an energy to go for whatever is waiting for me in the next days and weeks. I feel energized in a way I did not expect -even all the nitty gritty of moving do not disturb me in the moment. I just have to make a plan now how to get everything done in a meaningful way. I feel blessed after this service and the encounter with my dear community. It is true: we can be angels for one another – or devils, as I have experienced enough in the last months thinking of certain persons…

But I also feel some longing again for Asia – and I once again contemplate whether I have been an Asian in my previous life? 🙂 But for that, I have to be a Buddhist, as a Christian we only have one life to live before eternity kicks in. Sometimes not sure what is more convenient… When I am looking on my lists of things still to do and to experience, I am sure one life is not enough, even two might be a bit short…  🙂

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29.07.2009 Waiting

watpo 2Waiting to go home… waiting is an interesting state of being.. not knowing what to expect but having a lot of fantasies what we wish could and should happen in the next hours or days. We wait a lot.. for our loved ones, for our birthday, for Christmas, for the Easter bunny to bring the eggs. 🙂 and they say when you get older you are more patient while waiting. Is it true? Not sure I have found that kind of wisdom.
Waiting has also to do with becoming silent, feeling time passing slower – being aware of the minutes flowing through our life.

For me this time it is a quite existential waiting – waiting to know what exactly will happen to me and what assignment I will get in the near future. 8 weeks to go in my actual job – and still no news about how life will continue thereafter. For somebody used to plan a year ahead it is an interesting experience, but living the last weeks amongst Thai people I have seen that it is possible to live out of the moment without exactly knowing what the next day will bring.. Surely not always my life philosophy but in these times I feel it can help me to keep my life in balance….

Filed under: Reflection, , , , ,

19.07.2009 Bridging the gap

Often I am asked how I can work in two separate worlds, the world of the German speaking Catholics, the European world and at the same time in the world of those, living in the townships around Cape Town, fighting every day for having a piece of bread or some millipap on the table. How does one bridge the gap, bringing the world of abundance and the world of deprivation together… There is an easy answer: in being a bridge; in being the bridge, where those coming from Europe and all the First World countries are able to come and have a look into the other world. Don’t be fooled, also that needs courage to let go the security and the distance, a television still provides and to stand suddenly in the middle of Mfuleni. To smell it, to touch it, to grap it.. means to touch the life of people who will never ever have the chance to have a lifestyle like mine. And standing there and confronting oneself with the visitor @ a township clinicfact, that “my lifestyle” contributes towards the injustice and poverty – that also can trigger a lot of thoughts.

But a bridge is not a one way road – also those living in absolute poverty with no perspective have to understand, where the visitors are coming from. They have to have an idea what it means to grow up in Europe and taking most things for granted. They should understand what most people have little choice to make the world a better place, being integrated in a system leaving little space for avoiding “being part of the system”.

So in bringing these worlds together, one surely creates more understanding, all parties concerned can learn out of such encounters – and this  includes an important clarification:

Bringing rich European into township communities is not about getting them to donate a couple of Euros, but to go home, having an inside about realities and being good ambassadors for our country and those living in it.
Being part of the township community on the other hand does not make one to a beggar,  nobody is entitled to receive a donation – but there is a chance for communication, for an exchange of ideas and principles of life. Being able to share my life means indeed making the world a better place.

Filed under: General, Reflection,

17.07.2009 … not needed anymore…

What does one do if one suddenly is told that your services are not needed anymore? Working hard, believing in what you are doing, this was always a more theoretical question in my life – until it hit hard in Jan 2009 and manifested itself in the last months. I always assumed that I am a strong person – taking on, whatever comes its way and moving on to conquer the next mountain in life. Being the chaplain to the German speaking Catholic Community was indeed part of my life, I loved the work and all what came with it. Knowing, that we as priests have to change position I twice agreed in the last years to be transferred. All was agreed, only to be called of again without real reasoning…

I guess everybody deals differently with such a situation – one person fights on, runs virtually against a wall; another licks his wounds and falls into depression – whatever it is, what you do: there is no other way than to work through all your feelings, aggressions, disappointments, hurts and hopefully to come out as a stronger person you are in the moment.
In my situation it was to realize that there is indeed a difference between the world of church technocrats, knowing the world from their files in the office and some travel in between and us priests living at the frontline of pastoral work on a daily base.  Of course you know it, but you don’t touch it, because you are too busy with your daily challenges.
There is the other realization that our church is run by humans, you have the nice ones, the genuine ones, but also the weak, the careless, the ones only looking for a career  or whatever unrecognizable intention they have…  Once again, you know it, but you ignore it as long as you can and most times, you meet people who are compassionate about their work and take seriously that they are serving God and mankind.

But the biggest challenge in such a situation is to take a deep and careful look at yourself. What is important for you? Where do you get your stamina from? What makes you tick? What do you really believe in? All those questions bring you to the deepest valleys of your own life – not an easy one.. It must be clear for you in such a situation that the basic laws of life applies: you cannot change anybody else than yourself. And if you have experienced the unconditional love of God in your life – is there really somebody else able to border you so much that he or she can derail your way in life? They might be able to close one door – but closing one door in life means only that others will be opened and that looking back, the insult meant to you has been transformed into  a border crossing into a new path, leading to more life, more love, more peace and more happiness and fulfillment in life.

Filed under: Reflection, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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