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A Syrian refugee family, just entered into Europe. © Paul Jeffrey/WCC

31 March 2016

Greece’s people are exhausted from years of economic crisis and the Orthodox church head there is pleading with the European Union to reconsider its decision to limit the refugees it is accepting.

Hieronymos, Archbishop of Athens, says he is pleading for help so Greeks are not left alone to confront the massive refugee crisis facing Europe.

Archbishop Hieronymos wrote his impassioned letter for help to the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, appealing to international churches and the global community.

“Substantial interventions are imperatively needed.

“We consider that the manifestation of European solidarity, first of all through the re-examination of the decision to close the borders, but also through substantial efforts to eliminate the root-causes of the refugee crisis should be undertaken.”

He said the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece has followed “the endless tribulations of the refugees flooding our small country,” in his 30 March letter that commits the church there to continue its support for refugees.

“In their long and difficult journey from war to peace, hundreds of thousands of suffering refugees cross, under dramatic circumstances, our country, distressed and drained as a result of the economic crisis.”

His plea coincided with one by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on 30 March who spoke at a special UN ministerial meeting on the global responsibility for sharing Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war.

“Five years into this conflict, Syrians are losing hope of supporting their families or educating their children…Communities hosting refugees in neighbouring countries are exhausted,” said Ban. “Health, education, and public utilities are overstretched and under-resourced.”

Archbishop Hieronymos made his appeal to the WCC, “so that people of the international community with institutional authority, good will, respected voice and social influence, join forces to solve the greatest problem and wave of refugees on European soil after World War II.”

He noted, “Our seas have become liquid graves. Our islands and our people stand with moving altruism on the side of the desperate.”

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, aims to resettle some 480,000 refugees, about 10 percent of those now in neighbouring countries, by the end of 2018, but it said it is battling to overcome widespread fear and political wrangling.

Prior to the ministerial-level talks, countries had pledged 179,000 places since 2013, refugee agency figures show.

“We have heard pledges that increase resettlement and humanitarian admission to over 185,000,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said at the end of the meeting – signalling an increase of just 6,000 places, Reuters news agency reported.

“Due to the authority vested in you, we therefore urge you to use every possible effort so that the civil war (‘fratricide’) in the broader area of Syria comes to an end,” said Archbishop Hieronymos.

That is needed so, “that people and families are no more uprooted from their ancestral homeland, and that those who are already living as refugees be assisted to overcome their pains.”

The archbishop said he shares the view of the Greek government “that our small country, exhausted from the years-long economic crisis, is not in a position to confront alone this major refugee issue.”

Read the full letter from Archbishop Hieronymos

Quaccheri cristiani ecumenici per fare il bene

Happy birthday, Charles Gilpin (March 31, 1815 – Sept. 8, 1874)! English ‪#‎Quaker‬. ‪#‎Pacifist‬. Orator. Publisher of many books and memoirs by prominent Quakers. Opponent of the death penalty. In 1842 he launched a liberal Quaker magazine called “The Friend.” Still in publication today, it’s one of the oldest continuously published periodicals in the world. Gilpin died in his home at 10 Bedford Square, London, England. Funeral was held at the Friends Burial Ground, Winchmore Hill.
~The Marginal Mennonite Society Heroes Series.

foto di Marginal Mennonite Society.

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Happy birthday, Cesar Chavez (March 31, 1927 – April 23, 1993)! Labor leader. Civil rights activist. Pacifist. Co-founder (with Dolores Huerta) of the National Farm Workers Association. Popularized the slogan “Si, se puede!” Buried in Keene, California. In the book “Latino Mennonites: Civil Rights, Faith & Evangelical Culture” (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2014), author Felipe Hinojosa discusses the disappointment felt by Latinos in the Mennonite church when leaders failed to take a firm stand in support of the farm worker movement.
~The Marginal Mennonite Society Heroes Series.

foto di Marginal Mennonite Society.

Happy birthday, Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner (March 31, 1858 – Aug. 25, 1935)! ‪#‎Feminist‬. ‪#‎Pacifist‬. ‪#‎Atheist‬. ‪#‎Freethinker‬. Writer. Lecturer. Peace activist. Opponent of the death penalty. Worked against blasphemy laws. In 1910 she founded the Rationalist Peace Society, the first secular peace organization.
~The Marginal Mennonite Society Heroes Series.

foto di Marginal Mennonite Society.

Quakers and socialism

Thursday 28 August 2014

Most opponents of the war were either socialists or Christians. Many were both. Some Quaker anti-war campaigners were explicitly socialist, such as the journalist Hubert Peet and the women’s rights campaigner Ada Salter. Others avoided any justifications for their position that were not defined in purely spiritual terms. Some, such as Howard Marten, linked peace with economic justice but tended not to speak of socialism.

The Socialist Quaker Society was formed in 1898. The Society magazine, Ploughshare, condemned the war as soon as it was declared. The editor, William Loftus Hare, attacked the idea that Christianity was about withdrawing from the world, or separating religion and politics. He insisted that Jesus’ teachings meant rejection of both war and capitalism. Here’s an extract. It finishes with a quote from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

The difference between the escape from a transient life, from a perishing world, and the sanctification of life, the salvation of the world, is immense!

If we are right, then the Sermon on the Mount and its correlative discourses are not to be regarded as an interim ethic, appropriate to an occasion that has passed by, or to a specially selected body of persons now living. They are fundamental principles of a spiritual, moral and social order that has never yet been firmly established in the world; they are infinitely more prophetic and eternal; they cannot be overwhelmed by the waves of Bernhardian or Nietzschean philosophy; they have remained on the written page during ages of militarism, and even now, between the dispatches from the Front, they haunt us still.

Jesus was right when he declared, “My words will never pass away”. Their immortality is finally assured. The transition from militarism and civilisation, from force to law, must be preceded by internal, psychological changes. Anyone who is ready to make such ventures of faith as are counselled above will earn for the present, perhaps, the scorn of men, but subsequently their gratitude. “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you.”

The above is an edited extract from Ploughshare, November 1914. Quoted by Tony Adams in his book, A Far-Seeing Vision: The Socialist Quaker Society (1898-1924) (published by thr Quaker Socialist Society, 1993).

Partito Comunista Italiano Federazione di Varese


 Coordinamento Nazionale NO TRIV


L’esecutivo del governo Renzi per mesi ha fatto di tutto (a livello lecito e sottobanco, mettendo in campo un mix di strumenti normativi e di ricatti basati su logiche di scambio) per evitare ad ogni costo che si potesse giungere a questo importante appuntamento referendario. La determinazione con cui l’attuale compagine governativa, in maniera a volte subdola e/o sfacciatamente vergognosa, ha finora perseguito la finalità di ostacolare l’idea stessa che milioni di italiani potessero dire la loro in materia di perforazioni per la prospezione, ricerca, coltivazione di idrocarburi, ha infatti aspetti davvero grotteschi, come il ricorso alla Legge di Stabilità per eludere principi e prassi decisorie che fino a poco tempo fa sembravano inderogabili pilastri del cosiddetto “Sblocca Italia”.

E’ il caso della scomparsa “per magia”, tramite semplice emendamento, dei principi…

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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