God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Criminalization of HIV – AIDS

Bad criminal laws...Poisoning  –  terrorist attack  – bio-attack  –  murder  — attempted murder  –  assault

 

the labels of law are unbelievable – sometimes even if there is no knowledge of the infection or no transmission occurred

 

Did you know that giving birth, breastfeeding, spitting as a HIV positive person can bring you into jail in some countries?

 

In Sweden, even consent is declared invalid by law if transmission occurs

 

It is not those who know their status who drive the pandemic but those who don’t know. But would you go for a test when you know that a positive result might bring you in jail through your sexual activities, even if it is protected sex and no transmission occurs?

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sometimes it hurts… Another day @ the conference

Today, the second day of the conference, is my focal point more on HIV and faith-based organizations. So the day starts early with an interview for the Catholic “domradio” in Cologne. Next to networking with people of this field I also read some comments about the conference and one got my attention immediately. It is written by Dr P. B. and published not only on his blog but also on the internet news of kath.net, a more right-wing Catholic news website in the German language.
The headline “what really helps against new infections” got as said my attention and already the first sentence of the article gave the answer: “With the simple approach to live chaste till marriage and then be faithful to the partner within marriage 99% of all risk factors are eliminated”.
Wow, I thought really impressive. And I guess with a similar strategy can we can empty our prisons as everybody has to remain honest and non-violent instead of stealing or murdering someone and the problem is 99% solved. The logic of the article culminates in the argument, that people become infected because they don’t listen to the pope – and mentions Africa and specially Catholic areas on the continent where such prevention work has great success.

Such argumentation makes me speechless, but I was comforted through a podium in the afternoon where a pastor from Malawi told us about his experience in seeing HIV and AIDS as a challenge to come out of our comfort zones church normally provides and to give answers needed ending stigma and discrimination. He also was very critical of certain forms of development aid European or US style: “Africans can think of their own” , so the pastor and the audience underlined it with laughter and applause. An US American pastors wife told us from her experience working in Rwanda and a Thai monk about the great work, he is doing on the level of interfaith. He and his fellow clergyman, monks and imams are also looking for those caring for people living with HIV and AIDS. A humbling experience just to listen how those people gave witness about their calling to get involved in the battle against the pandemic.

This is what we need in our churches, mosques, synagogues and temples: people who believe honestly that HIV and AIDS is a challenge, not only for a personal life, but for the way we believe, we pray, we worship, we see our brothers and sisters. Yes, we need those people in our churches, mosques, synagogues and temples who are not afraid to open up, network beyond the borders of faith and denomination or religion. We need people who are simply not afraid to listen to their calling which overcomes human boundaries and is driven by the unconditional love towards their fellow neighbors.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, 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, , , , ,

15.02.2010 And another murder…

I know it does not fit into all the hype about the soccer world cup, but with Joseph Dominic Giddy the third student has been murdered in Cape Town within 6 months.  Stabbed during a robbery while on his way home with friends, he is once again someone who was at the wrong place the wrong time. It is sometimes difficult to paint a fair picture of the situation in South Africa while one is thorn between the plight to encourage people to come to South Africa for the world cup and the knowledge, that things are also not in order here at the bottom of the continent.
But what is a fair picture? Telling only the official statistics which would be a disaster… Or just saying that most of the times only locals are killed? Are they less worth than tourists? I find it increasing difficult because now before the big event, there seems to be two camps: one painting a rosy picture and one painting a dark black one. Both are obviously wrong, but on the other hand: How can one do a balanced picture when press is only reporting in broadbrushed terms because that’s what the speed of news requires: quick and just touching it, no in dept information any more. It is a pity. The way modern press and news agency have developed makes it almost impossible to have the time for a journalist, to feel the pulse of the country for a while before giving a diagnose, the first heart peep, so to speak, is already the whole story.

I am living now for almost 13 years in the country and I think it is one of the greatest countries one can live in, no question about it, but at the same time I acknowledge that life is cheap here and that there is a long way to go for society to get a grip on this fact and change it.  And coming today from an extensive outing again into the lives of those less fortune I am convinced that it needs so much more efforts from politics and civil society to bring back this respect for life.

I still hope that the soccer world cup 2010, which was the nail for this country not to take a deeper dip in many regards, will also serve as a push to drive in that direction. And for that we need great games, a feeling, that we are good here in South Africa, that we are on the right track as the people of a wounded nation. A great future is ahead of us, when we don’t derail but move forward with reconciliation and respect and dignity.

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

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