08.01.2020 – US, United States – Codepink

URGENT! US Congress to Vote on Iran
Iran Peace Museum, peace delegation organized by CODE PINK, March 2019 (Image by CODE PINK)

This is the first time since the 2002 lead up to the Iraq war that things have been this terrifying and dangerous—maybe even worse given that President Trump is a sociopath with the emotional maturity of a toddler. Since assassinating General Qasem Soleimani, Trump has been threatening the use of disproportionate force and taunting Congress with such tweets as: “these Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress.”

Democrats in the House and Senate have introduced War Powers resolutions to put a stop to Trump’s violent madness—the votes will start this week. If passed, Rep. Slotkin and Senator Kaine’s resolutions will mandate that without congressional authorization, the Trump Administration must cease its military actions in Iran within 30 days. Send a message now to your representatives in Congress telling them to stop a war with Iran. We need a veto-proof majority to get this done.

Of course, a lot can happen in 30 days and Trump has already proven his disregard for the checks and balances the American system was set up to have, so our work can’t end at the steps of Congress. We need the public to take to the streets. WE NEED PEOPLE POWER! Join the January 25 International NO WAR WITH IRAN Day of Action. Sign up here to organize or attend an event in your city. We will supply you will materials, help you get the word out, support you to outreach to local media, and more. Last Saturday, over 80 cities across the U.S. took to the streets in protests. For January 25, we need even more. 

On Sunday, Trump tweeted out threats to bomb Iranian cultural sites—a clear war crime. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper responded by saying that no, the U.S. would not do this and would abide by the international rules of armed conflict. But then Trump doubled down, tweeting: “We’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way.” 

Iranians in Iran, the U.S., and across the world responded to Trump’s vile hatred in the most beautiful way possible. They took to Twitter to post pictures of their favorite cultural sites, from the ancient ruins of Persepolis to the striking beauty of the Jāmeh Mosque of Isfahān.

We must help Iranians save their beautiful culture—and their lives. Now is the moment for us to come together in a newly revived peace movement. While B-52 bombers are being deployed—they are—we must make sure that Congress passes war powers resolutions and that our numbers in the streets are overwhelming. Sign up now to be part of the January 25 International No War With Iran day of action

Towards peace with Iran,

07.01.2020 – US, United States – Democracy Now!

AOC Condemns Killing of Soleimani: This Was an Act of Aggression Committed by the United States
(Image by Democracy Now)

Over the weekend, Democracy Now! spoke with New York Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and asked her response to the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Suleimani. “We need to be tactical about how we can actively resist further escalation on already an unprecedented level of escalation and aggression by the president, and therefore by the United States,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “He did this on behalf of our entire country. And that’s what makes the potential illegality of his action so flagrant, because he did not consult Congress and this was not done with the support of the United States.”

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman. Over the weekend, I caught up with New York Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She had come to the showing of a film that’s just been shortlisted for the Oscar, Knock Down the House, which chronicled her race, her unlikely victory in Queens and the Bronx to become a congressmember from New York. I asked her for her response to the assassination of the Iranian commander, Qassem Soleimani.

REPALEXANDRIA OCASIOCORTEZ: Well, we’ve been really looking at how we’re going to respond, because it’s not enough to just say no war in Iran. We need to be tactical about how we can actively resist further escalation on already an unprecedented level of escalation and aggression by the president, and therefore by the United States. He did this on behalf of our entire country. And that’s what makes the potential illegality of his action so flagrant, because he did not consult Congress and this was not done with the support of the United States. But in his seat as the president, this has now been an act of aggression committed by the United States.

And so, one is that we have to hold him accountable, which, you know, to me, I believe we need to enact the War Powers Resolution, demand that he come before Congress, and without getting permission, we must draw back support. But also I believe that Representative Ro Khanna, he introduced an amendment to the defense authorization last year that could have prevented all of this. He introduced an amendment that prevented any funding for offensive action in Iran. And it was overwhelmingly passed, bipartisan. It passed the House with Republican and Democratic support, and then it was stripped by Democratic and Republican leadership. And so, had his amendment passed, it would have — it could have prevented all of this. But nevertheless, it can prevent further horrific actions from occurring and undemocratic actions from occurring. And I think we need to reintroduce his amendment as a stand-alone bill and see if we can pass it again.

But again, none of this happens, we don’t fix any of this, domestically or in terms of — or internationally, without the votes and without the political will. And that’s why I think that inspiring people to enter this process, you know, we’ve got to get — we’ve got to get the votes, inside and outside, you know, out in the streets and in Congress. And the way that we do that is by inspiring people and demystifying this process for everyday people to be able to engage. And I think whether it’s this vehicle or Instagram or, you know, engaging on social media ourselves, that’s one of the ways that we can truly powerfully transform our democracy.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s New York Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaking on Saturday after a screening of the Oscar-shortlisted documentary Knock Down the House.

06.01.2020 – Inter Press Service

Child Marriages Unlikely to End by UN’s 2030 Deadline
(Image by United Nations)

By Nayema Nusrat

 “Right now, I don’t want to get married. I have a long life and a dream in front of me”, a 14-year-old young girl from Bangladesh told her parents as she was just not ready to get married.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 5.3) has targeted to end child marriage by 2030. According to a report published last June by the UN children’s agency UNICEF, 12 million girls are married before they turn 18 every year, 650 million girls and women alive today were married before they were 18.

Nankali Maksud, Senior Advisor and Coordinator, Prevention of Harmful Cultural Practices at UNICEF, told IPS that evidence shows child marriage is not limited to particular groups or cultural norms, rather a broad combination of structural and socio-cultural drivers.

“These include poverty, lack of educational and economic opportunities, social expectations, discrimination against girls and women and restrictive gender roles, beliefs about protection of girls and low awareness of and access to alternatives”.

He also added, “In many settings, girls are perceived as a burden on household expenses, with child marriage often viewed as the best option out of a menu of poor choices.”

“In some contexts, child marriage is viewed as a path that unburdens the family and preserves its honor while protecting girls. Evidence suggests that when such structural and socio-cultural underlying causes—the drivers of child marriage—are eliminated, the practice will decline and, ultimately end”.

A spokesperson for UN Women (UNW), the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, told IPS, child marriages may be further exacerbated by increased insecurity in settings where there is a humanitarian crisis.

“For example, the prevalence of child marriage in the Middle East and North Africa region is near the global average, with around one in five young women married before they turn 18 years of age. This marks progress in the last 25 years, though the rate of decline appears to have stalled within the past decade”.

And in certain conflict areas, progress has reversed, “such as in Syria and Yemen, (where it has) been reversed substantially as conflict often produces negative coping mechanisms particularly in dire economic situations that can increase the rate of child marriage”.

Credit: United Nations

UNICEF saw worldwide progress in child marriage reduction rates in recent years, while South Asia has witnessed the largest decline, from nearly 50 per cent to 30 per cent, in large part due to progress in India.

UNICEF’s Maksud said: “The proportion of women who were married as children decreased by 15 per cent, from one in four to one in five, in the last decade”.

Globally, “The total number of girls married in childhood is now estimated at 12 million a year. This points to an accumulated global reduction of 25 million fewer marriages than would have been anticipated under global levels 10 years ago” UNICEF and UN Women pointed out.

While talking about the progress in child bride rate in Africa, Maksud noted “Data also points to the possibility of progress on the African continent. For example, in Ethiopia – once among the top five countries for child marriage in sub-Saharan Africa – the prevalence has dropped by a third in the last 10 years”.

Countries with such harmful practices like child marriage need to prioritize their responsibilities in order to be aligned with SDG target (SDG 5.3) to end child marriage by 2030.

According to Maksud, “the accountability for achieving the SDGs lies with countries and their responsibility to prioritize ending harmful practices such as child marriage. With the right investments and accelerated progress, the SDG target is achievable”.

On the contrary, Heather Barr of Human Rights Watch (HRW) told IPS that it’s probably unlikely that the UN goal of ending all child marriages by 2030 can be achieved.

She said, “I think this target has already contributed significantly to reducing child marriage and will continue to do so. But it’s goal of ending all child marriages by 2030 probably will not be fully achieved. There is just too far to go and too many countries that continue to—legally or illegally—tolerate child marriage”.

The spokesperson from UN Women told IPS about their view on the feasibility of reaching SDG goal- despite a significant progress seen in the past decade, no region seems to be on track to eliminate the practice by 2030.

“A substantial acceleration is needed because the current rate of decline in child marriage is insufficient to meet the ambitious SDG target”.

“The annual rate of decline in child marriage has been 1.9 per cent over the past 10 years but would have to be 23 per cent to achieve the SDG target on ending child marriage by 2030. If the rate of progress since 1990 does not improve, it will take nearly a century to eliminate child marriage worldwide, and more than 150 million more girls will marry by 2030”.

“Even at the faster rate of decline in the past decade, it would take 50 years to end child marriage. Therefore, progress must be accelerated significantly”.

Maksud also pointed out, “However, to end the practice by 2030 – the target set out in the Sustainable Development Goals – progress must be accelerated 12 times faster than in the past decade. Without acceleration of progress, more than 150 million additional girls will marry before their 18th birthday by 2030 due to population growth”.

UN Women lays emphasis on the importance of improving gender equality which is one of the biggest drives according to various research. “Among the main challenges that remain is the lack of a gender-transformative approach in tackling this harmful practice. Evidence shows that delaying the age of marriage alone is insufficient.”

“Gender equality needs to be promoted holistically, including by placing stronger emphasis on promoting girls and women’s agency, addressing the inherit power dynamics in marriages and society, and shifting attitudes, norms and behaviors around gender roles”.

Barr concurs about the importance of promoting gender equality. “Our research on child marriage, in countries around the world, has left us convinced that the main cause of child marriage is simply gender inequality”.

UN Women spokesperson pointed out additional important factors “there are increasing changing marriage patterns that show that peer marriages, cohabitation and adolescent pregnancy leading to marriages exist alongside the traditional understanding of child marriage or forced marriage.”

“A proper gender approach requires that we recognize that early marriages and voluntary marriages also constitute harmful practices given the disproportionate impact it has on girls and the barriers it creates to their educational and economic opportunities”.

According to UNW, itis crucial to integrate women’s economic empowerment approaches to educational interventions responding to child marriage. Although poverty is not the only driver, poverty remains a key driver of child, early and forced marriage, which disproportionately impacts girls and young women and continues to be a deeply gendered practice.

“In order to empower girls and young women to use their voice, make their own choices and exercise their agency, it is crucial to ensure that a whole system and life-cycle approach is implemented to support the broadening of economic opportunities for young women by promoting skills and social protection for girls and young women who are at risk of child, early and forced marriages”.

UNICEF found strong correlation between the length of time a girl stays in school and the biggest reductions in child marriage. “And for adolescent girls, emerging evidence indicates that having a secondary education is much more beneficial for ending child marriage than having just a primary education”.

It is estimated that there would be 14 per cent fewer marriages if all girls had just a primary education, compared with 64 per cent fewer if girls also had secondary education.

“While just being in school can protect against child marriage, evidence shows that the quality of education has important implications. Adolescent girls who do poorly in school, do not learn well and fall behind are sometimes pulled out of school by their parents to marry”.

Ending child marriage will only be a reality if we address it through a comprehensive gender-transformative approach that tackles the root causes of gender inequality.

UNICEF’s Maksud sees potential in achieving SDG goal by 2030 if certain key steps are taken to accelerate the progress, which include “increasing girls’ access to education and particularly secondary education, proactive government investments in adolescent girls’ protection programmes as well as strong public messaging around the illegality of child marriage and the harm it causes”.

05.01.2020 – Pressenza New York

This post is also available in: Greek

National Day of Action US Troops Out of Iraq
January 4th, 2020 – Times Square NYC – National Day of Action US Troops Out of Iraq (Image by David Andersson)

Rally in Times Square on Saturday, January 4th, in support to the massive protests in Iraq following the latest U.S. aerial assault that killed scores of Iraqis, the Trump administration launched airstrikes on the Iraqi militia group that killed 25 members. The strikes violated U.S. law since they were carried out without any congressional approval. To make matters worse, the Trump administration announced it is sending 750 more troops to the Middle East and possibly another 4,000. This is in addition to the 5,200 U.S. troops already stationed in Iraq.

In the past 28 years, more than a million Iraqis have died as a consequence of U.S. occupation, bombings, and sanctions and tens of thousands of U.S. troops have either been killed or suffered life-changing wounds. The U.S. government has spent more than $3 trillion in the on-going occupation and bombing of this oil-rich country. Instead of taking the United States out of this endless war, Trump is building up U.S. forces in the region and threatening war with Iran.

03.01.2020 – Pressenza London

Australia’s bushfires are a wake-up call: we must build a more humane economy before it’s too late
The Green Wattle Creek fire approaches South West Sydney during the 2019-20 Australian bushfires. (Image by Helitak430 – Own work. CC BY-SA4.0)

Economists used to admire scientists. Now they ignore them at our peril.

Katherine Trebeck for openDemocracy

Back in the 1800s, scholars in the field of economics cast an envious glance at their colleagues in science.

They envied physics, with its laws of gravity. They looked with green-eyes at those studying chemistry, with its elements and atoms. And they longingly admired their biologist chums with their categorisations and evolutionary adaptation.

Now more than a century on, as we begin the third decade of the third millennium, economics no longer seems to take heed of science, let alone defer to scientific realities.

It is (invariably mainstream) economists with their contentions and blind spots that drive so much policy making, not scientists with their evidence-based models and forecasts.

The tables have well and truly turned. And nowhere is this so sorely – and painfully – acute as in Australia in the summer of 2019 and 2020.

Bushfires rage across the country, fuelled by record heat, and are now surging through acres of parched land dryer than ever after the worst drought in a generation.

In response, the Australian Prime Minister has held fast to a vision that a growing economy is the only option. He told a national TV station that “What we won’t do is engage in reckless and job-destroying and economy-crunching [green] targets which are being sought”.

What Morrison is effectively asserting is that the economy matters more than the science – in fact, that a certain model of the economy matters more, one in which the sole purpose of the environment is as an input to production and where it is assumed that growth will translate to benefits for all. This positions the economy at the top of the food chain, dropping crumbs to communities and extracting from the planet rather than something that is dependent on society which operates as a sub-set of the natural world.

Believing that the economy’s pre-eminence warrants downplaying all other concerns is a mindset that dismisses reams of scientific evidence and warnings. It turns a blinkered eye to why communities are being told to take shelter on beaches, why the Australian Navy is being brought in to rescue them and why a toddler was given a medal to posthumously honour his firefighter father who was killed with two other volunteer ‘firies’ (as us Aussies affectionately term them) when a tree fell on their vehicle.

What is happening in Australia is unprecedented.

It is what scientists have warned would happen.

It is going to be the new normal.

Perhaps most importantly, it is the loudest wake up call mother nature could send humanity to tell us that the wounds we have inflicted on her are taking an untenable toll.

Many times in the past I have heard those advocating for a new economic model say that when a ‘crisis’ comes, the movement for a more humane economy needs to be ready with ideas and visions, as that is when these ideas will finally get traction. That tactic always jarred – it seemed a rather privileged perspective that ignored or discounted that for many years many people around the world have already been suffering from the impacts of an economic model that treated people and planet as inputs to production. But, admittedly, such ostensible lack of solidarity or empathy may have come with some real politik. It recognises – perhaps implicitly – power imbalances.

And many of those impacted by the Australian fires are powerful. Many are wealthy. Many are people who have benefited from the growth-ist economic model because they are perched at the top of the pile. The coast houses of bankers, doctors, and property developers have been destroyed. New Year’s Eve parties have been moved from balconies with their harbour views indoors to escape the smoke. Corporate sponsored cricket matches have been called off because visibility got too bad. Yes, these are the folk with the resources to cope and recover, but maybe they’ll help nudge the balance of the conversation.

While Australia continues to burn, we can hope that what most Australians have been recognising will finally be heeded: that this monstrous cry for help from the planet is what flips back the agenda, so that economics returns to its deference to, and awe of, science. That scientific and natural laws will trump dubious dreams of trickle down. That now that wealthy and powerful people are also being hit by nature’s fury, they will join the ranks of frontline communities around the world and lend their voices and resources to mobilising for the transition that countries like Australia need to make towards an economy that respects the planet and priorities social justice and a healthy environment.

Building this new economic model doesn’t need to be disruptive – it can and must be just. There are ways and resources to protect livelihoods and, even better, to ensure that those most shafted by the current economic model are first served. But no longer can it be dismissed as ‘reckless’ to protect one sector – coal – at the cost of so many houses, lungs, biodiversity and precious wildlife.

Here’s hoping that 2020 is the year that new alliances come together to recognise that this crisis is one that hurts us all, and that a more humane economy that is gentler on the planet is one that will be good for everyone.

03.01.2020 – Pressenza New York

‘An Explicit Act of War’: Senior Iranian Military Official Qasem Soleimani Reportedly Killed in Baghdad Drone Strike
Major General Qasem Soleimani, pictured here on April 11, 2016, was reportedly killed Friday in Iraq. (Image by Khamenei.ir/cc)

“It’s like Iran killing the head of the CIA or the Mossad on foreign soil.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer Common Dreams

A drone strike believed to be from the U.S. military at or near the Baghdad airport reportedly killed Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Major General Qasem Soleimani, an act that observers warned could mark a significant step toward a hot war in the region.

Soleimani’s death was not confirmed at press time by either the U.S. or Iranian officials.

“The Trump administration just plunged the region into a likely massive sectarian and bloody crisis—and along with it, this country,” tweeted Al Jazeera journalist Sana Saeed. “Cautious to overstate the potential but it’s hard to ignore that targeting Soleimani is an explicit act of war.”

Sana Saeed

@SanaSaeed

The Trump administration just plunged the region into a likely massive sectarian and bloody crisis – and along with it, this country. Cautious to overstate the potential but it’s hard to ignore that targeting Soleimani is an explicit act of war. https://twitter.com/reuters/status/1212908927190544384 

Reuters

@Reuters

Replying to @Reuters

The U.S. carried out strikes against two targets linked to Iran in Baghdad, U.S. officials tell @Reuters. An Iraqi militia spokesman said a senior Iranian commander and an Iraqi militia commander were killed https://reut.rs/35fB4Kt 

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The strike came less than 24 hours after acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters that the U.S. military was willing and ready to undertake pre-emptive strikes against Iranian-backed militants in Iraq, a reaction to protests outside of the American embassy in Baghdad paralyzed the 104-acre complex.

“If we get word of attacks, we will take preemptive action as well to protect American forces, protect American lives,” said Esper. The game has changed.”

As the New York Times reported:

The strike killed five people, including the pro-Iranian chief of an umbrella group for Iraqi militias, Iraqi television reported and militia officials confirmed. The militia chief, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was a strongly pro-Iranian figure.

Journalist Rania Khalek took to social media to explain the situation and the context of Soleimani’s place in the Iranian military.

“Most Americans won’t understand the gravity of this,” said Khalek. “Qasem Soleimani is head of the Iranian IRGC’s elite Quds Force, which conducts operations outside of Iran in both Iraq and Syria.”

The National‘s deputy foreign editor Jack Moore described the importance of the strike as tantamount to Iran killing Gina Haspel.

“It’s like Iran killing the head of the CIA or the Mossad on foreign soil,” said Moore. “This isn’t just about Iraq.”

02.01.2020 – UN News Centre

New Year’s Day a reminder of need for action to prevent newborn deaths: UNICEF
A man cries with laughter as he holds his newborn baby, born a few moments before at Lerdsin Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand. (Image by UNICEF/Zehbrauskas)

The world will welcome more than 392,000 babies on New Year’s Day, according to estimates from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). 

The agency believes 2020’s first baby will be born in Fiji and that globally, over half of all births on 1 January will take place in eight countries: India, China, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, the United States of America, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia.

“The beginning of a new year and a new decade is an opportunity to reflect on our hopes and aspirations not only for our future, but the future of those who will come after us,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director.

“As the calendar flips each January, we are reminded of all the possibility and potential of each child embarking on her or his life’s journey—if they are just given that chance.”

However, UNICEF reported that in 2018, 2.5 million newborns died before reaching one month old, around a third of them on the first day of life.

Most of these deaths were from preventable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery and infections like sepsis.

Additionally, more than 2.5 million babies are born dead each year.

UNICEF pointed out that there has been tremendous progress in child survival over the past 30 years.  In that time, the number of children who die before their fifth birthday has been reduced by more than half.

Unfortunately, progress for newborns has been slower.  Babies dying in their first month of life accounted for 47 per cent of all deaths among under-fives in 2018, up from 40 per cent in 1990.

“Too many mothers and newborns are not being cared for by a trained and equipped midwife or nurse, and the results are devastating,” said Ms. Fore.

“We can ensure that millions of babies survive their first day and live into this decade and beyond if every one of them is born into a safe pair of hands.”

UNICEF believes that providing universal health care can help save more newborns.

Through its Every Child Alive campaign, the agency is calling for immediate investment in midwives and other health workers who are equipped with the write medicines and equipment to ensure all mothers and babies are cared for safely.

30.12.2019 – Pressenza New York

A New Current Of Thought Is Emerging In The US And Around The World

By Mark Lesseraux

As 2020 newly arrives it is rapidly becoming clear to more and more people that the current global neoliberal capitalist economic paradigm (1980 – 2019, roughly) is cracking, it is coming apart at the seams. The general initial response to this crisis in countries across the globe has been to recoil from this change by opting to either elect or forcibly install retrogressive, nationalist, xenophobic leaders and forms of government. Examples of nationalist leaders who have recently taken power: Boris Johnson (UK) , Jair Bolsonaro (Brazil), Matteo Slavini (Italy) Jeanine Anez Chavez (Bolivia), Donald Trump (US), Viktor Orban (Hungary), Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkey), etc.

This sudden rise of reactionary right-wing populism over the past five or so years is, centrally, a response to the now undeniable failure of late 20th century “liberal” capitalist politics (otherwise known as “neoliberalism”) and politicians who have repeatedly betrayed their constituencies by opting for deregulation and regressive systems of taxation which have solely benefitted the very wealthy and large corporations. This has most often been followed by austerity based measures as opposed to the actual reforms these politicians promised to instigate before they were elected. This selling out of the working middle class by the very political parties who used to champion and support them has produced a void and a lack of hope and belief in the future. This crisis of references, this seeming dearth of viable options, has propelled many confused and desperate people to opt for irrational, retrogressive solutions. Thus the growing tendency in many regions toward blaming refugees and “outsiders” for the myriad of socio-economic problems which have escalated over the past decade.

Amidst all this confusion though, a new current of thought has begun to emerge and proliferate. It is a current of thought which places Human Life as the central value and concern (as opposed to market laws/profit, the state, particular deities, etc.).

In fact, it was at a Bernie Sanders rally on Saturday, October 19th, 2019 in Queens, New York that Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez declared to the world, “It wasn’t until I heard of a man by the name of Bernie Sanders that I began to question and assert and recognize my inherent value as a Human Being who deserves healthcare, housing, education and a living wage.”

Although this declaration of the centrality of the value of Human life was made by a person, albeit a commendable person, within the current political system, the proliferation of this current of thought is something which took root and began snowballing outside the halls of political power. It is a current of thought which has been sprouting for several decades now amongst everyday people in neighborhoods and cities across the globe. Examples of this include the demonstration effects put into action in the 1990s by the Humanist Movement (World Without Wars, The International Humanist Party, The World March for Peace and Nonviolence of 2009, etc.) along with many other efforts and uprisings by various formal and informal organizations and groups, most notably the Occupy uprising of 2011.

This globally growing desire to place the concrete needs of the Human Being as primary rather than as a secondary concern is a clear sign that a new era is beginning to dawn on our planet. If this current of thought continues to spread at its current rate, it is certain that many of us will see some of the sprouting and flowering of the many seeds which have been planted in decades past and that are being planted today, as well.


So how offensive is this? “Today I join millions around the world in celebrating the arrival of divinity on earth, who came into this world not in riches but in poverty, not as a citizen but as a refugee. No matter where or how we celebrate, merry Christmas.” That’s mayor Pete Buttigieg’s Xmas tweet, complete…

via Mayor Pete & his notorious (Christmas) Tweet — A Friendly Letter

A report in The Guardian on December 28 compellingly describes the small, marginalized religious resistance to the self-described ”Christian” authoritarianism of the current Hungarian regime. In this sketch there is much to learn and reflect on for those Americans who feel called to a similar path. The anti-democratic drive of the Viktor Orban government to undermine…

via The Hungarian Religious Resistance: a Mirror & a Beacon to Our Own — A Friendly Letter

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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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