The problem is that we have become so used to these atrocities, that they are now routine news for us – even to the point that they no longer scandalize us. Have our tears run dry?
Between Arms and Peace
In This Issue
Despite the best endeavors of so many in so many countries, modern slavery and human trafficking continue to expand. Victims are hidden away: in places of prostitution, in factories and farms, on fishing boats, and illegal establishments, in private homes behind locked doors and in many other places in cities, villages and slums, in the world’s richest nations and poorest nations.
Recent arms seizures and arrests of traffickers in Cameroon’s Far North Region have highlighted the escalating insecurity caused by Boko Haram in neighboring Nigeria and the impact of the unrest on the Central African Republic (CAR) and Sudan.
A total of 172 women, up 25% from 2013, have made Forbes 28th annual billionaires’ list. Women now make up 10% of the global super-rich, thanks to a huge influx of female wealth, led by Sheryl Sandberg. With a personal fortune worth more than $1B (£599M), she became one of the highest-profile new entrants to the Forbes list, joining Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packard as the only other female tech billionaire.
When the former President Lula decided to bring the World Cup of 2014 to Brazil, he thought he was giving a big gift to his people known worldwide for their passion for soccer. Only to know later how equally big the problems would be!
For the first time, the U.N. has declared three simultaneous crises – in South Sudan, Syria and the Philippines – as level 3, the highest band of emergency. So this is a period of intense activity for NGOs such as the International Rescue Committee. But it is also a good time to reflect on the goals and working methods of the humanitarian system.
Emergency: Syria! Emergency: South Sudan! Emergency: Democratic Republic of the Congo! These are the alarming messages being displayed on the homepage of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (www.unhcr.org).
Over the past 10 years, Control Arms Coalition has been pushing for a legally-binding Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which would bring the arms trade under control and would help prevent future arms transfers that fuel conflict, poverty and inequality. Despite the obstacles and difficulties, the Coalition’s campaign efforts finally paid off and have led to the signing of the Arms Trade Treaty by the world’s governments in 2013. In spite of this victory, however, much still needs to be done to ensure that both legal and illicit arms trade will no longer curtail human rights and claim further lives.
Despite the enactment of regulations to control gun ownership over the years, the “long arm of the Philippine law” seems to be helpless in its campaign to curb, if not eliminate, the proliferation of loose firearms in the country. Only with a thorough re-examination of its laws, an unyielding assertion of its authority, and a firmer implementation of existing gun-related laws can the Philippines attain a safer, if not gunless, society.
Despite the many difficulties faced, advocacies and campaigns by many concerned groups to push for disarmament and arms control have slowly but surely gained ground over the decades. Aside from non-governmental organizations, civil society has been thrust into the limelight as a key player in important deliberations in policy-making bodies and other important fora. Such an involvement by NGOs and civil society in this campaign has not only increased the voice and influence of advocates in policy deliberations but has also introduced new and clever ways to lobby for disarmament around the world.
A close look at media across the world reveals a seemingly endless number of problems put on the spotlight, making headlines. It sets one to wonder: Is the world getting worse? But, then, could it be that the world is a better place overall than we think?
The internal conflict in Myanmar, the clashes between government forces and ethnic groups which lasted for many years, often made it to the international headlines. It also created one of the most prolonged refugee situations in modern history in the Asian region. An estimated 140,000 Burmese refugees had to flee from conflict areas and from human rights abuses and currently live in nine official refugee camps along the Thailand-Myanmar border. This number doesn’t include the thousands who have been internally displaced because of the conflict.
“Don’t be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.” (Lk 5:10)
The challenge to heed Jesus’ call to mission is undoubtedly daunting, even terrifying. However, armed with the right perspective and the encouraging words of Jesus Himself, one need not be afraid to push forward and carry out His mission, even to the “outskirts of human existence.”
He barely survived the defeat of the Italian army in Russia where he had served as a military chaplain of the Alpine Corps. Fr. Carlo Gnocchi (1902-1956), a diocesan priest of Milan Archdiocese in Italy, dedicated his short and intense life to the assistance and rehabilitation of the children, the innocent victims of the war. For them, he created a network of institutions called Pro Juventute. During his funeral, which was attended by an enormous crowd of people in the historical Cathedral of Milan, in front of Fr. Carlo’s coffin, a mutilated boy shouted: “Before I was telling you: Ciao, Fr. Carlo; now I tell you: Ciao, Saint Carlo!” Fifty-three years later, on March 9, 2009, in the same place, Fr. Carlo Gnocchi was proclaimed Blessed by Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, following the decree signed by Pope Benedict XVI. His institution, now named Fr. Carlo Gnocchi Foundation, continues to assist thousands of children in need.
“He did not know that what was done… was real…” – Read Acts 12:1-17
Strategies for Evangelization
October 2023 Issue
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