Friday, April 25, 2008

Prayer Day for Zimbabwe, 27 April



Christians are rising up against Robert Mugabe. First there was some quiet murmurings, now its exploding with Allan Boesak, Desmond Tutu, The Zimbabwean Council of Churches, etc calling for action. The release of the election results is not the issue anymore, nor requesting the cantankerous Robert Mugabe to go. The issue evidently is the fact that we are staring down the possibility of a horrendous humanitarian crisis. Lives of people are at stake. The callous disregard for human lives by the Chinese government in sourcing this illegitimate tyrant with ammunition is shocking, to say the least. It is in this context that we need to heed to the call for a moral outrage, for action towards change in Zimbabwe.

Indeed, the call for political change need to he heard and this is what the Zimbabwean electorate voted for. But Zimbabwe also need ordinary people, lots of them, from Southern Africa, from Africa, from the rest of the world to stand in solidarity with them. Its in this context that we support all the Anglican Church's calls for a world prayer day on Sunday 27 April 2008. (cf Tearfunds call) Churches and ministries, all people of faith need to make it a priority. Put on a Zimbabwean flag, maybe get a Zimbabwean speaker or choir and lets pray for a breakthrough.

There will be further action and its (again) time for people of faith and conscience to rise up with those who are oppressed.

7 comments:

seth naicker said...

I appreciate prayer with all my heart, but prayer must not leave us as people of faith, sitting back and waiting for God's intervention, as if God does not work in and through us.

I believe that our prayer must center, conscientize and mobilize us and our efforts to become actively involved in this crisis that our brothers and sisters face in Zimbabwe.

Robert Mugabe must come to his senses as it relates to the human rights abuses that people are facing under the corruption that is being propelled by Mr. Mugabe's resistance to resigning his power that is bringing detriment to his own people.

We as people of faith should put our prayer, our action and resources behind the voices like that of Dr. Boesak and Bishop Tutu, who have the public profile and ability to bring a significant challenge and provide a way to healing in the current Zimbabwean situation.

It is my prayer that President Thabo Mbeki will also support the leadership that has been displayed by Dr. Boesak in the last few weeks, and put governmental support behind Dr. Boesak's efforts.

May our prayer be guided by the voice of prophet Micah that reminds us to act justly,love mercy and walk humbly with God.

Blessings and 'alutta continua', "la lucha continua," the struggle continues.
Shalom, Shanti, La Paz sea contigo, As-Salamu'Alaykum - Peace be upon you!

Yours sincerely
Seth Naicker
Program and projects director
Office of Reconciliation Studies
Bethel University
3900 Bethel Drive,# 2083
St. Paul, Minnesota
55112-6999, USA
Tel: 651 638 6417
seth-naicker@bethel.edu
indiAfrique - Training and Development
smnaick@hotmail.com

Reggie said...

It would be interesting to hear more about what you do in the Office of reconciliation studies. The post-Mugabe Zimbabwe would indeed need a kind of Truth and Reconciliation process. Where to start and what are the role of the churches to be ? Paul Gundani, prof in Church History suggest also that leaders like Boesak and Tutu, with organizations like AACC (All Africa Council/Conference of churches) and the Association of Evangelicals in Africa, must come to Harare and stand in solidarity with the ZCC (Zimbabwe Council of Churches)

Reggie said...

Seth, very interesting comments... highly relevant

seth naicker said...

Greetings Reggie

I am able and willing to be apart of processes, events and justice efforts that will allow us to render a united powerful prophetic voice that will cause Robert Mugabe and his aids to consider and reflect on their devices and divisive ways, which are harming their own people.

My work is project based, and I am currently directing a project called Heita South Africa, which has delegates from the states visit South Africa on a learning and development assignment that allows people to engage the work of diversity, justice and reconciliation in South Africa.

Possibly through projects like Heita South Africa we can bring common ground for the sharing and authentic engaging of one another's humanity.

I am hopeful and prayerful that some common ground can be projected and pursued to aid the people of Zimbabwe.

Blessings and 'alutta continua', "la lucha continua," the struggle continues.
Shalom, Shanti, La Paz sea contigo, As-Salamu'Alaykum - Peace be upon you!

Yours sincerely
Seth Naicker
Program and projects director
Office of Reconciliation Studies
Bethel University
3900 Bethel Drive,# 2083
St. Paul, Minnesota
55112-6999, USA
Tel: 651 638 6417
seth-naicker@bethel.edu
indiAfrique - Training and Development
smnaick@hotmail.com

Seth Naicker said...

As a South African ,it is a down right shame that brothers and sisters from other countries in Africa are being treated with such disregard.This injustice that has transpired is repulsive, shocking and disgusting.

However, we must put the pressure on the government to address this matter of xenophobia. Our president needs to speak out against it, without delay of or need for investigation. The news report is definitive enough and cannot be denied, so president Mbeki must stand up and condemn these acts of violence without delay.

The complexity of South African’s who are acting out in frustration of their own circumstances, as people who are agitated by the non-delivery of democratic promises, can and must be understood, but not to the extent that we take out our frustration on our fellow African brothers and sisters, who are need of our support, understanding and love.

It is my hope that businesses, corporate, non-profits, churches, mosques, temples and any form of organized religion in the townships, suburbs and all over South Africa, make a stand for justice and play a major role in bringing these acts of violence to an end. It is my hope that government will quicken there steps and intervene, but we cannot wait for investigation and final reports. It is not enough to say this xenophobia must stop, we must see action by way of a national state of emergency to stop this nonsense immediately!

Let us do what ever it is we can to stop these human rights abuses in South Africa, where our own history does not allow us to forget the days when our comrades were being housed in exile, by countries like Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Kenya. The collective memory of our people must be reminded of those days within Apartheid and this violence must stop!

We need not grow weary in this time, neither must we grow less afro-centric or become pessimistic about our continent, our people, our motherland, our beloved South Africa. Instead we should call for peace, and stand for justice. Our collective memory as an African people must rise again with a consciousness that reminds us of our centeredness in “I am because we are.”

I am disturbed but I am African
I am discouraged but I am African
I am perplexed but I am African

The 'I am Africaness' of our people, our continent and our South African nation must be called to remember that
“I am because we are”, for we are African. Let this message ring out from the top of Table mountain to the lowly bushveld of Johannesburg. May our understanding of being African bring an end to these merciless acts of violence!

Blessings and 'alutta continua', "la lucha continua," the struggle continues.
Shalom, Shanti, La Paz sea contigo, As-Salamu'Alaykum - Peace be upon you!

Yours sincerely
Seth Naicker

Program and projects director
Office of Reconciliation Studies
Bethel University
3900 Bethel Drive,# 2083
St. Paul, Minnesota
55112-6999, USA
Tel: 651 638 6417
seth-naicker@bethel.edu
indiAfrique - Training and Development
smnaick@hotmail.com

Reggie said...

Seth,
You bring an important perspective namely the question of our African-ness. Close to the heart to the problem of xenophobia in this context, seems to be the question of identity. This might be also in other case, for eg. the situation in Germany with the Turkish people, where the question arises, who is a German or in England, would a third generation person from the Caribean qualify to be a typical Englishmen, or not. The questions becomes acute in the context of poverty and political marginalization, and becomes the mobilizer of mobjustice. The short term challenge seem to be the restoration of order, the rejection of violence and terror, the safety of the victims and their basic needs. On a longer term, we need to raise the issues of national identity of justice, to sustain the peace and reconciliation efforts. I'm preparing a longer post on this

seth naicker said...

Politics can be mind boggling- so let’s find the space to dialogue By Seth Naicker

I have tracked, listened and paid keen interest in this current presidential race in the USA. Being from another country the whole process is quite fascinating and quite emotive, as gifted rhetoric and track records are flaunted and advertised for the public eye and reflection.

However, as much as the presidential race and electoral process in North America is capturing and intense, a person who is listening closely to the issues and policies presented will find him or herself quite confused by the emotive and convincing arguments that are presented by candidates and speakers from both the Republican Party and Democratic Party.

In South Africa there are several political parties, there are on the Dee- day ballot, whilst for most US citizens there is only 3 choices. I have views and beliefs and I am sure that every other person has a thought or viewpoint about the way life should operate. But, amidst all the viewpoints and perspectives there must be a call for a celebrating of the other, who ever the other may be.

This past July, my wife and I facilitated our 3rd delegation of project Heita South Africa, to South Africa on an experiential learning assignment. The assignment involved learning related to inclusivity, diversity, justice and reconciliation. Delegates from Bethel University and networking partners within the Twin Cities over the last 3 years have been journeying on an experiential learning adventure, designed to get people out of their comfort zones.

Author Marsh (1994) in addressing the life work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer explains:
“Bonhoeffer argues that the integrity of the other, the other’s irreducibility to the I- “to my thoughts and possessions” – can only be realized in a social, ethical dynamic. When I am encountered by the dialogical other in ethical action, I am arrested in my own attempts to master the world; for in responding to the call of the Thou, I am taken out myself and repositioned in relation with the other. I no longer control the other, nor does the other control me, but we both discover our individual and social identities in the place of our difference.” (1994, p. 69).

Marshes description of people engaging the difference in each other is very much, if not exactly what has transpired with our delegates journeying to South Africa. The difference is engaged in fellow delegates as well as people across the oceans in South Africa. As learners project Heita South Africa delegates have been thrust into a place that called each person out of their comfort zones, out of grounded foundationalist thinking, into the wondrous arena of engaging the other, where as Marsh explains, one is encountered by the dialogical other in ethical action.

This notion of entering into dialogue with people that think and operate differently must not be taken for granted, for is it seldom put to practice and rarely becomes a reality, in our 21st century world. In this current presidential race and election fever, may people amidst all the politics seek to enter the dialogical space, where we see and understand that our humanity is bound up in one another.

Blessings and 'alutta continua', "la lucha continua," the struggle continues.
Shalom, Shanti, La Paz sea contigo, As-Salamu'Alaykum - Peace be upon you!

Yours sincerely
Seth Naicker
Program and projects director
Office of Reconciliation Studies
Bethel University
3900 Bethel Drive,# 2083
St. Paul, Minnesota
55112-6999, USA
Tel: 651 638 6417
seth-naicker@bethel.edu
indiAfrique - Training and Development
smnaick@hotmail.com

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