God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Motherfu@#er – or summarizing an interesting year

Nobody can say 2017 was a boring or uneventful year – it does not matter where you live or work – we were all part of a developing global village story shaking the world to the core. Politically a constant fake news producer, self-styled ego-man, denialist on many fronts and womanizer was elected President of the United States and many people had to learn that between the big cities of the West and East coast are definitely not as progressive as the city dwellers – believing rather what they want to believe instead tackling the challenges and realities on the ground.
In Europe Germany stills waits for a new government to be formed while in Austria a populist youngster seems to be the savior of this country while in Poland and Hungary the right wingers demolish democratic advances and human rights achievements almost systematically. The British playing Brexit chess without knowing really where it will end and the EU searches its way through all the political pitfalls its encountered during the year.

On the African continent the looting of South Africa continued and the brazenness in the face of several court decisions and revelations about those captured by the Guptas only increased as if they would know that their time is running out. Zimbabwe got rid of uncle Bob after a shameless Grace pushed for power while in other African countries there are the usual suspects extending their welcome by changing laws and constitutions. The question of refugees from Africa to Europe continuous to be a matter of grave concern and indicates that problems are not solved but always pushed to the next big political meeting.

In the Roman-Catholic church the opposition against Pope Francis clearly tried to score points in ridiculous ways and the hardly hidden hurt vanity of one cardinal stood out as an example of unhappiness with the current way our church is steered – while Catholics as such are discovering the depth of faith in a new and exciting way – even if mercy is a concept known since the beginning of Christianity.

And all this is mirrored in the social media – where etiquette seems to vanish while emotions are running high. Lots of contributions are lacking respect or brain like this example which I choose to publish because it shows the consequence of having leaders steering those emotions, playing with the uneducated and their sentiments, leading by bad examples or supporting the wave of false or misleading information which results in a mixture of unreasonable demands, non-logical approaches, denial of realities and the fostering of ideologies we thought to have beaten long ago.

So there is undeniable a sort of chaos ruling the world in the moment – with leaders uneasy and seemingly battling to make sense and to come to conclusions beneficial for all.  Democracy seems to take some hits while social media and the change in technology and communication has completely changed the environment people are operating. And if you look to China, where they develop a tracking system for all citizens and plans to work with scores to give or take privileges like loans or traveling, it becomes blatant clear where the challenges for political systems will be found in the years to come.

All this said there is also the acknowledgment that all challenges are also opportunities. Opportunities to resist and grow, opportunities to re-evaluate and correct, to discuss and discern and to move on forging a way for more humanity, more human rights and liberties as well as dignity for everybody. So nothing is doomed or lost at all.

In this context the work of NGO’s and civil right groups becomes so more important to assist in achieving the for-said goals. They are rightly seen as a threat to governments leaning towards dictatorial behavior as seen in Egypt or Russia, let alone China. To support those NGO’s and to value their contribution to a better world remains important when we now go into the next year 2018. Good vetted non-governmental organizations with a proven track record are in the coming years the lifeline to fill and bridge the gaps of governmental work, civil society has to play a much bigger role and charity organizations will be much-needed to continue their work for those many falling through the cracks of organized societies.

So at the end it is a mixed review but not hopeless, it is full of challenges we will have to turn into opportunities – it is a starting pitch for 2018 which will make the work of all interested in humanity exciting, demanding and rewarding at the same time. May it be for as many as possible a blessed year and may the emotions express themselves in a way respecting each other.

 

 

 

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

Shitstorms….or some thoughts on social media in our days

It is amazing to follow social media and to see the storms of civil commotion and agitation from all walks of life on various issues getting people into a fever of excitement. Be it a question of racism like Mr Hards or Mrs Penny’s tweets in South Africa about entitlement and filth at the beach, be it a question of sexism like the word ” pantyprenuers” at an ANC anniversary meeting – or be it the discussions about the events in Cologne in Germany where more than 100 women laid charge against men looking like those “from North Africa” because of theft, rape and other criminal or unlawful behavior. My observations are not dealing with the matters as such but with the reactions on social media – it’s rather a search for the reasons of feeling often uncomfortable with what is posted or put out on social media. And these thoughts are indeed just thoughts, not conclusions or determinations.

It seems that everybody has an opinion and hammers the internet with this opinion, people getting into fights with each others, being disciplined, suspended, kicked out, threatened with physical attacks and other promises of revenge. Racism and sexism seems to be like a cudgel to accuse the other side not being in tune with the own opinion. Social media suddenly turns into a madhouse of accusations, threats, counter accusations and most people have obviously not only an opinion but also a remedy to avoid repeat of the perceived or real misconduct or criminal act; they know exactly how to battle racism, sexism, crime, discrimination and all the rest of it.

Seeing this in the framework of a world in various difficulties and seemingly overwhelming situations like the refugee crisis in Europe, the wars in the Near East, the battle of minds and ideologies in various African countries I can’t help the question to ask how this all ties together – what is it that make people so furious, so angry, so sure that they are right and most others wrong, so willing to defend positions, analysis, thoughts, impressions as the only valid and right ones.

My guess is it is often their own insecurity and anger and let me explain this:
It seems to me that the world is changing dramatically with all the access to information 24/7, all the constant input from politics, religion and society from the other end of the world as it would happen around the corner. Cellphones and tablets are peeping all the time announcing new messages and news. It seems to me like an information overflow – we cannot handle as human beings the constant influx and to counter it, we retreat to safe ground, either defending our own little world at any cost or running with the majority of opinions to not to lose out or been seen on the wrong side of society – in both cases up to the extreme. And if one gets “flack” – opinions suddenly are perceived as treats, as attacks and dealt with accordingly. The war of words begins…
Reading the sometimes tough and verbally violent opinions and demands on social media, the judgements without often knowing the facts and – or – just going with the flow I read in it the anger of a world getting more and more complex, offering too many options and possibilities, a freedom of choices while on the other hand governed by more and more automated systems in administration and society leaving less and less room for humanity and provisions for the individual case. Never ending information floods from everywhere in a seemingly smaller and more regulated world makes social media the perfect outlet for all the anger and frustration. The constant flow of information seems to force us to immediate reaction and comments – reading headlines on Facebook allow already for the like button and 140 letters of Twitter are enough to describe a complex situation.

Social media can be a wonderful tool to connect and to find related minds, it is indeed a great tool for social movements but as with all things it can also be used to marginalize and outcast, to create sentiments hurting people and societies but it never replaces real dialogue and the need for personal encounters. We have to acknowledge the limitations of communicating on social media – and we have to develop a tolerance and understanding that a person is more than the brief twitter or the status report – and that posting a link might be meant to stimulate discussion rather than portraying it as the own opinion. And we all know that sometimes our mouth is faster than our brain – and we have to realize that social media might be less forgiving than a spoken word retracted immediately.

So what I wish for is:
* read first and then share or post; don’t trust the headline
* think first and let anger vanish before posting
* give other posts the benefit of the doubt if possible
* raise your voice against xenophobia, sexism, racism, but in a dignified way and report it to the relevant authorities
* no tit for tats – it pollutes the social media

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

Tell me, what makes HOPE Cape Town special?

Planing strategy and looking at the state of affair as it is in the moment: HOPE Cape Town has always to check its relevance and its direction for the future. It is an ongoing process. And as the word “HOPE” is used more often in the broader Cape Town area since the visit of Angela Merkel there is a need to have a proper marketing strategy and a distinctive logo and branding. The logo is in existence and even protected, what keeps an organization in Kwazulu Natal not away from advertising themselves with our logo. It seems some are going to an extreme length to try to cash in.

Nevertheless it would be interesting to hear from our supporters and sponsors what they think is unique or laudable on the work HOPE Cape Town is doing? What do our Facebook and Twitter friends think or value most? Please feel free to give it a thought – check our website if need be and let me know: stefan (at) hopecapetown.com. Or leave a message on our Facebook page, twitter us or comment on this blog.

I would be thrilled to hear from you and to have reflection on the picture as we are received from the outside. It would make another strong contribution to the development of HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust. Hear from you.Many thanks 🙂

SH

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, , , , , , , , , ,

HOPE Cape Town is developing…

Tomorrow is the Annual General Meeting of the HOPE Cape Town Association, the working arm of HOPE Cape Town which consists of two arms: aforesaid HOPE Cape Town Association which is combining all the project work on the ground and HOPE Cape Town Trust, which is leading in fundraising and marketing of the work done. Together with the German AIDS Foundation, the HOPE Cape Town Trust has a common “child”, called HOPE Kapstadt Stiftung, a dependent trust governed by German law.  To complete the picture the HOPE Cape Town family has also very close relatives:  the Kuratorium Deutschland, which relates to the HOPE Cape Town Trust and is looking together with Viola Klein to support the HOPE Gala Dresden (26.10.2013). The Freundeskreis HOPE Cape Town Trust Olching e.V. is another German and Bavarian support group of the HOPE Cape Town Trust. Not to forget HOPE & Future e.V. in Münster (Germany), which is an essential part of our supporting family. And we HOPE to give birth in the near future also to an US American entity relating to HOPE Cape Town.  And locally our brainchild is also the Ball of HOPE together with the Southern-African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, next year taking place on the 11th of May 2014.

There is the idea of spreading the word about the “friends of HOPE Cape Town” and if you think, you can get some people together forming a small group supporting the goals of HOPE Cape Town, then feel free to contact me for further information. HOPE Cape Town depends like any other public benefit organization on the support of many – so HOPE Cape Town understands itself as much more than a local organization – we are a network of people trying to better the lives of South African’s living with HIV and TB and everything related to it.
Sometimes I am asked why TB and why we not concentrate on HIV? The answer is very simple: TB is the twin-sister of HIV in South Africa and to combat only HIV would not making sense. They are interlinked, and so are the other social problems attached to it. Studies have shown that poverty, unemployment and unfavorable conditions lead to early death even if treatment is available. So there is so much more to HIV and AIDS. And there is so much more to do – whatever we can do as HOPE Cape Town depends on resources, manpower and funds. We have grown to 31 employees and our portfolios range from the vegetable garden in Blikkisdorp to academic research @ the University of Stellenbosch. It will depend on the ongoing and additional support of people like you, the reader of this blog, whether we can enhance our work and do more to give people hope and future.  We are willing to go the extra – mile; come and join us in one of the many ways possible:

* Donation: All our donation options are summarized on our website under donation

* Tell friends about HOPE Cape Town and ask them to have a look at our website

* Maybe you consider to donate to capital (Zustiftung in German language) and make you money work for a good cause for eternity…
* Find a circle of friends to become ambassadors of HOPE – we can assist you in this…

* Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, Cause, share the links and stories and follow us

For all donations and donations to capital applies in Germany and South Africa: We are able to issue a tax-deductible receipt for the respective county.

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, HOPE Gala Dresden, Medical and Research, Networking, Politics and Society, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, SA-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sorting out the social media…

Social media work is important in our days and I am in the process of get them all together in a way they make sense for me and HOPE Cape Town. So here they are for those who are interested:

HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust webpage:
http://www.hopecapetown.com

HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/HopeCapeTownAssociationTrust

HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust Causes:
http://www.causes.com/hopecapetown

HOPE Cape Town Association Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/hopecapetown

Website Stefan:
http://www.stefanhippler.com (in 2 weeks ready to go)

Blog Stefan:
https://stefanhippler.wordpress.com

Twitter Stefan:
http://www.twitter.com/stefan_capetown

Facebook Stefan:
http://www.facebook.com/stefan.hippler

Enjoy and keep connected and comment whenever you feel like it. We are one.. as SABC 2 always says.. And it is all about communication

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

13th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 27th, 2018
4 months to go.

Ball of HOPE 2018

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 12th, 2018

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© Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and HIV, AIDS and HOPE.
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