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Thursday, February 16, 2006
South Africa today

We cannot live without hope. Hope has been, and is tremendously inspiring
in South Africa, hope that we may continue to work hard to achieve
“the greatest possible good for the greatest possible number of people”!
Build a rainbow Nation! So many died for it!
A beautiful dream! An impossible dream?

From Mary Rose Hendrikse Cape Town
(This work comprises 47 matchboxes each painted with a small portrait.)

Yes there is concern too.
A beloved friend from South Africa writes to me and says:

“Hope and concern
I am much more aware of that 'divinely human presence' and perhaps more sensitive
to how that divine presence is defaced in our very materialistic world of today.
Here in South Africa, you would be alarmed at how secular and materialistic
our African people have become.
Coupled with this attitude is a total disregard for the poor voiceless masses
who are desperate for a small part of the cake.
The discontent from the latter is loud but who is listening?”

Who is listening to the cry of the voiceless masses in South Africa today?
The struggle continues with the strength of the spirit, stronger than injustice,
stronger than death!
But my heart bleeds for the poor who wait in vain for a slice of bread, a cup of water...

Mbeki is currently serving his last term, scheduled to end in 2009
and he has said he won’t stand for a third term, that is a good sign.
But then what up to 2009 and what after that?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Stand up and be counted !

In a rather small village of the Jura, Switzerland, there is a factory named LABOILAAT
and the patrons are "Swissmetal". Because of economic reasons, the boss say, it has to be restructured and many workers will be sacked!
So in a courageous movement of solidarity, these hard and honest factory workers
went on strike and occupied the factory space, stay there, eat there, reflect there,
pray there, suffer, hope and weep there! They stand up and are counted!
We do not know the end of it, simply because the bosses want the workers
to get back to work and then, only then, they say, may negotiations begin!
And the workers stick to their strike with the support of the majority of the village
people and many others, far beyond.

This Sunday morning, the factory, became a place of prayer:

Some priests and pastors joined in,
the church, at last,
was where it is meant to be,
among the grassroot people

and Jesus is in their midst!

What difference, I wondered, between the prayer of a striker and that of the boss?
What different between the prayer of a slave and that of a slave owner?
What difference between the prayer of surplus people and that of a millionnaire?
What difference between the prayer in a security garded cathedral
and a prayer in a factory threatened by the police force?

Sometimes the prayer of exploited people may be a CRY, or a simple STRIKE!

May be the prayer will be heard ... because, the media just announced:

A delegation from the Board of Directors of Swissmetal will travel to Reconvilier on Monday, 6 February 2006
to meet with an employee delegation and hear their concerns. Representatives of Unia and Swissmem will
also take part in these talks”.

May be one day, workers and bosses will pray together? Who knows?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

No I wouldn’t make a caricature of the prophet Mohammed
simply because I have never seen him face to face! But above all because for so many Muslim friends
(and for members of other religions as well),
he is the messenger of Allah just as Yeshuah is the messenger of God!

If Mohammed were here and now present amongst us today, he could face the caricaturists.
There could be an explanation. An enlarged dialogue between, perhaps, so called two freedoms!
Or a question: why? To what purpose?

Today these tasteless images hurt so many people on the move in a world void of love!
People born to love like you, like me, like all of us! All human beings,
many seeking Mohammed’s message, Allah, in the depth of their heart!