Posts filed under ‘Peace and Justice’
January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968
We have flown the air like birds,
השכלנו לטוס באוויר כמו ציפורים
حلّقنا في الهواء كالعصافير
We have swum the sea like fishes
השכלנו לשחות בים כמו דגים
سبحنا في البحر كالأسماك
But have yet to learn the simple act
אך עדיין לא למדנו את המעשה הפשוט….
لكننا لم نتقن بعد، تلك المهارة البسيطة ….
Of walking the earth like brothers
של ללכת על האדמה כמו אחים
أن نمشي على الأرض كالأخوة
Words by: Martin Luther King Jr.
מילים: מרטין לוטר קינג הבן
من أقوال:مارتن لوثر كينج
By Roon Lewald
It’s the first of the four Advent Sundays, when folks here in Germany light the first of four candles on their Advent fir-branch wreaths and get into the pre-Christmas spirit. Even agnostics can’t help reflecting on the meaning of it all on a quiet Sunday evening when Christmas-minded people take a short break from their gift-shopping labours before plunging back into the seasonal shopping rush again on Monday (illuminations are already up and Christmas markets are booming in the city centers, and Germans are again spending this year as if the recession never happened.) With new terror scares vying with the global economic crisis for attention, the news is so depressing nowadays it’s hard to believe that there’s any room left in the world for the human love, friendship and compassion we hear so much about at Christmastime. I can only draw comfort from the knowledge that many people like myself are at least linked to other individuals by such bonds.
In this mood, I was reminded of a short story by a South African author named Charles Bosman. (more…)
By Roon Lewald
Late one February night, a young German traffic cop spotted a black Phaeton luxury limousine turning right against the red light at an intersection near a night-life district in Hanover. Flagging the sleek vehicle to a stop, he confronted the woman driver, sniffed her breath and handed her his breathalyzer. The recorded blood alcohol level was around 1 %, well over the legal limit. A blood test at the local precinct registered a considerably higher value of 1.54 %, beyond the 1.5 % level at which motorists are legally considered incapable of driving.
On the following Monday, the mass-circulation Bild Zeitung tabloid broke the news that state attorneys were investigating a criminal charge of drunken driving against Margot Käßmann, the Lutheran Evangelical Church (EKD) state bishop of Lower Saxony and the first woman ever to become president of the governing council of Germany’s main Protestant church. (more…)
A sermon preached on Mark 10:42-52 in The Chapel of the Good Shepherd at The General Theological Seminary on Friday October 2nd 2009
“Take heart! Get up! Jesus is calling you!”
Bible characters get the strangest nicknames. As a graduate from Methodist, Anglican and Mormon Sunday Schools, I feel particularly qualified to make such a sweeping generalization! In an effort to impress on my young mind the core life-lessons of the Bible, a long series of earnest and well-meaning teachers have left indelible fingerprints on the associations I immediately make in my mind when I hear the name of a particular Bible character. “What one thing,” my teachers surely must have asked themselves while preparing the Sunday School lesson, “What ONE thing can I impress on these young minds about the character in today’s lesson? (more…)
President Obama, Inaugural Address: January 20th 2009
“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist . . .
“To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.”
Full text of Pres. Obama’s Address here.
The parishioners were lined up for Holy Communion on Sunday when the riot police stormed the stately St. Francis Anglican Church in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, reports the New York Times. Helmeted, black-booted officers banged on the pews with their batons as terrified members of the congregation stampeded for the doors, witnesses said.A policeman swung his stick in vicious arcs, striking matrons, a girl and a grandmother who had bent over to pick up a Bible dropped in the melee. A lone housewife began singing from a hymn in Shona, “We will keep worshiping no matter the trials!” Hundreds of women, many dressed in the Anglican Mothers’ Union uniform of black skirt, white shirt and blue headdress, lifted their voices to join hers. (more…)
By Roon Lewald
1947 was a good time to be a white five-year-old in Durban. The beaches offered halcyon days beside the Indian Ocean. The Durban July turned the town into an exciting tourist mecca. The Bioscope was still the gateway to Hollywood’s dream factory of the world. In that stronghold of English speakers, blimpish super-patriots of Empire basked in the last rays of the setting Empire, and the 1947 Royal Visit whipped monarchist enthusiasms to fever pitch. “Our magnificent Zulu” were complacently thought to be quite content with white overlordship, and one of the few blots on white horizons was the rapid encroachment of increasingly prosperous Indian merchants on previously all-white shopping and residential areas. (more…)
by Roon Lewald
So pensively he sits, still brooding over us,
that gangling hicktown lawyer of so many
faults and doubts, bearing in his shaggy head
such greatness that, amid the clamour
of divergent reasons for the war,
he seized unerringly and steadfastly pursued
his divided nation’s one abiding Cause: Union. (more…)
Author unknown. c. 1986. Translation from the original Afrikaans manuscript by Roon Lewald.
“Right up to the hour of our death, we have the illusion that we know ourselves, that we know what we want . . .”
The sun is rising blood-red over the sea and the dagga (marijuana) sellers have not yet taken up their positions as we drive out of the city. As we turn off onto the Kwamashu road, about the only other traffic consists of rickety Putco busses and minibus taxis, over-filled with black faces. The whites, high up against the Berea, are still dazed with Saturday-morning weariness after waking up to Nescafé and “Goeie môre, Suid-Afrika!” – good morning, South Africa! Altus lights cigarettes for us as we try to work out how to tackle the Afrikaans tutorial for the black matriculants today. We have to do Ernst van Heerden’s “Die hardloper” (the runner) and the passive and active voices (I silently consider the irony that, in this country, the Afrikaans terms for these two grammatical expressions — “lydend” and “bedrywend” — literally mean “suffering” and “perpetrating”). (more…)
February 29, 2008
“The chances of a free election are minimal.”
One of the flood of Zimbabweans to have fled the chaos of his homeland, author Peter Godwin tries to find some hope in the wreckage. Original article here.
So, I’m on the train from Perth to Fremantle, trying to stay awake after a 30-hour flight from New York, where I now live, via Stockholm and Kuala Lumpur, when I hear the two young black guys in the seat behind me speaking in Shona, one of Zimbabwe’s home tongues. I greet them in my rusty Shona, and soon we are chatting about home and how bad things have become there. And then the train pulls in at a suburban station and a middle-aged black lady in a nurse’s uniform gets on and sits down next to me. As soon as she picks up that we are Zimbabweans, she joins in – she’s from Harare, it turns out. (more…)