A Threat, Self Destruction and Peace
IN FOCUS, 6 Aug 2018
30 Jul 2018 – There is a general perception that humanity is not well situated, because an absurd accumulation of wealth in few hands exists in the midst of a sea of misery and hunger. Brazil’s situation is no better. We live perplexed by all the evils committed, destroying workers rights and internationalizing the national wealth that sustains our sovereignty as a people. Those who carried out the coup against President Dilma Rousseff have a radically neoliberal plan which they are ready to fully implement, with no concern for the resulting atrocious crisis and the destruction of any ray of hope.
The treatment of refugees in Europe, rejecting their presence in Italy and Great Britain, and worse yet, in Hungary and in the very Catholic Poland, has reach a high level of inhumanity. The policy of U.S. President Donald Trump, of tearing children from the arms of their immigrant parents and throwing them into cages, speaks of a crass barbarity and total lack of humanitarian feelings.
It has been said that “no human being is an island… because of that do not ever ask for whom the bell tolls. The bell tolls for you, for me, for all humanity”.
If the darkness that engulfs our spirits is great, greater still is our yearning for light. Do not let the lunacy mentioned above have the last word.
The most important word and the last that resounds among us and that unifies us with all of humanity is the word of solidarity and compassion with the victims, the word of peace and good sense in the relationships among the people.
Tragedies show us the dimension of the inhumanity of which we are capable. But those tragedies also bring to light the truly human that inhabits us, far beyond the differences of race, ideology and religious beliefs. The human in us causes us to cry together, to wipe each other tears together, to pray together, to seek justice together, to build peace and renounce revenge together.
The wisdom of the people and the voice of our conscience tell us that a State that opted to become a terrorist state, such as the United States under George W. Bush, will not defeat terrorism. Nor will the hatred for Latin American immigrants strongly expressed by Donald Trump, bring peace. Tireless dialogue, open negotiations and a fair agreement erase the basis for refusing protection and strengthen peace.
The tragedies that touch us in the depth of our soul invite us to rethink the fundamentals of human coexistence in this new planetary phase and to care for our Common Home, the Earth, as Pope Francis urges in his encyclical letter on integral ecology.
The situation is urgent. This time there will be no Noah’s Arc to save some of us and let the rest perish. We must save us all, the community of human and non human life.
To that end we must abolish the word enemy. Fear creates the enemy. We exorcise fear when we bring close the distant one, and make of the near one a brother and a sister. We move away from fear and the enemy when we begin to dialogue, when we start to know each other, when we accept and respect each other; when we love each other; in a word, when we care for each other. To care for peaceful coexistence, solidarity and justice; to care for our environment so that it may be whole, facilitating the acknowledgement of each being’s intrinsic value; and to care for our beloved and generous Mother Earth.
If we care for each other as brothers and sisters the causes of fear disappear. No one needs to threaten another. We can walk our streets at night without fear of being assaulted and robbed.
That caring will only be effective if it comes with justice, such that the basic necessities of the most vulnerable are attended to, if the State becomes meaningful, by providing health care, schools, security and spaces for fellowship, culture and leisure.
Only that way we will enjoy the peace that can be reached when there is a minimum of general good will and a feeling of solidarity and well being in human relationships. This is the basic desire of the great majorities of human beings.
Translation from Spanish by Melina Alfaro
Leonardo Boff is a Brazilian theologian, ecologist, writer and university professor exponent of the Liberation Theology. He is a former friar, member of the Franciscan Order, respected for his advocacy of social causes and environmental issues. Boff is a founding member of the Earthcharter Commission.
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