The President is having a very successful campaign against suspected drug dealers and drug users. The killing of a 17-year-old Grade 11 student, Kian Loyd delos Santos, by police in an anti-drug operation was just one too many. The police claim that all the dead, including the boy, resisted arrest and fought back. However, witnesses and CCTV footage of the incident show that the boy was dragged and shot dead.
There is no conclusive evidence that any of the 94 people killed in anti-drugs operations in Bulacan and Metro Manila two weeks ago were drug dealers and had resisted arrest or had fought back. Many in the Philippines are shocked at the news that as many as 31 minors have been shot dead during the past twelve months. The tough-talking and feared President strengthened his determination to pursue the war-on-drugs and said that it would continue relentlessly. He warned drug pushers that they will face “either jail or hell.”
“Illegal drugs are the root cause of much evil and so much suffering that weaken the social fabric and deters foreign investment from pouring in,” he said.
Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David spoke out against it and condemned the killing of Kian. “This is one very specific case where an innocent individual, who happens to be just a boy, a Grade 11 student, you snuff out the future of a child,” David said in a phone interview with Rappler on Friday, August 18. “That really crushes my heart as bishop. I cannot possibly keep quiet about this,” said David, the incoming vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). He is one of the most outspoken bishops against extrajudicial killings (EJKs).
The targeting of children is not unusual. The authorities look down upon them. The move by the authorities to change the juvenile justice and welfare law and reduce the minimum age of criminal liability to nine years old is still pending in the congress. In a speech to the Boy Scouts, the President said children in conflict with the law have criminal minds.
Without evidence against the suspects, their names are listed by local officials and are thereby judged guilty and arrested, jailed or even executed. The President praised the big “success” of the operation. The rule of law and due process is ignored and for many Filipinos of conscience, it is extrajudicial killing.The police vigorously deny it. Some commentators say that as many as ten thousand suspects have died in the war on drugs, killed by police and vigilantes. The vigilantes, some say, are police in disguise and they are paid a bonus for every killing. This cannot be confirmed. The owners of the funeral parlors where the bodies are brought pay the police to bring them more bodies, some reports say. The families of the victims have to borrow heavily to pay for the expensive funeral. A report by Reuters last June 29 revealed that some police bring the dead bodies to hospitals as part of a cover up.
The amazing thing is that for a so-called Catholic country that is the Philippines, surveys say the tough talking President has approval ratings as high as 80 percent. Some say many Filipinos give approval in a survey out of fear. The President who apparently enjoys wide popularity said he would kill human rights advocates too to show them what human rights violations were. Later his communications officials said he didn’t mean it.
In the Archdiocese of Dagupan, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, former head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, ordered that the church bells in his diocese be rung for 15 minutes every day for three months to protest the killings. This is needed, he said, to arouse the people who have become “cowards in expressing anger against evil.”
“The sounding of the bells is a call to stop approval of the killings,” Villegas said in a statement read last week in churches in his archdiocese in Pangasinan province.“The country is in chaos. The officer who kills is rewarded and the slain get the blame. The corpses could no longer defend themselves from accusations that they ‘fought back,’” he said. “Why are we no longer horrified by the sound of the gun and blood flowing on the sidewalks? Why is nobody raging against drugs that were brought in from China?” Villegas asked, referring to a huge drugs shipment that managed to pass through Manila’s ports under the watch of customs officials appointed by Duterte.
And so it is that the voices of the outspoken, vocal bishops are being heard. In Caloocan City, Bishop David organized a walk for peace. In the Archdiocese of Manila, Archbishop Cardinal Tagle issued a pastoral letter that did not condemn the killings but said: “We knock on the consciences of those who kill even the helpless, especially those who cover their faces with bonnets, to stop wasting human lives.”
This is a time for people of conscience to know and speak the truth, to be prophetic, to proclaim the value of every life, to stand for the truth, justice, human dignity, due process and the rule of law so that all people will be protected and safe from home invasion and the arbitrary killing of innocent people.
Un ordigno è esploso vicino al cancello posteriore del campus della Cotabato Foundation College of Science e della Tecnologia (CFCST) con indirizzo agricolo in Barangay Doroloman a Arakan, North Cotabato mercoledì 16 agosto.
Argie Celeste, il capo della polizia cittadina di Arakan, ha detto che nessuno è stato ferito nell’esplosione che è avvenuta mentre la scuola statale si stava preparando per i suoi 50 anni di celebrazioni forse per disturbarne le celebrazioni. Possibile che il fatto sia legato a simili esplosioni avvenute in passato nonché alle recenti minacce di ignoti al personale scolastico.
DA UN’ESPERIENZA, UNA PROPOSTA DI PASTORALE INTERCULTURALE
Prefazione a cura di Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle
Postprefazione a cura di Erio Castellucci
Il fenomeno migratorio è diventato elemento caratteristico del nostro tempo. Per molti immigrati la vita di fede rappresenta un cardine rispetto all’identità e alle scelte di vita quotidiana, ma la tradizionale pastorale parrocchiale di “cura d’anime” pare ormai inadeguata ad affrontare le sfide e a sfruttare le opportunità che derivano dal contatto con altre culture. Il contributo offerto dalla teologia ecumenica, posto in stretto dialogo con la pastorale parrocchiale, offre potenzialità di rinnovamento ecclesiale in ottica missionaria e ospitale: la parrocchia della quale si considera l’esperienza ne rappresenta un tentativo.
Don Graziano Gavioli, 42 anni, parroco di S.Agostino, Modena, dove è presente una numerosa comunità filippina della quale ne ha appreso anche la lingua tagalog, è in procinto di partire per le Filippine dove rimarrà un paio di anni a Manila nel quartiere di Tondo.
by Steve Baumbusch
The end of June 2000 marks one year that I have been here in the mission of Columbio, on the island of Mindanao, Philippines. It’s hard to believe how quickly the time has passed. Here’s a list of some things I’ve learned in my first year in the mission. Each one will require a little explanation, which will follow.
1. Mission life is everything I had hoped it would be…and more.
2. If a Filipino tells you how far away a destination is, in time or distance, automatically add 50%.
3. If you invite the people to participate, they will respond…on both sides of the Pacific.
4. If my entire house were made of Tupperware, the ants would still find a way to get into my cornflakes (besides, it would be very hard to “burp” the lid).
5. Teenagers are the same all over the world.
6. Funerals are tough.
7. If you can’t see the bottom, don’t drive across the river.
8. Patience, patience, patience.
9. I’m really not THAT fond of rice and fish.
10. Love is not a feeling, it’s a commitment.
1. Just before leaving for the Phillipines, I was talking to a friend of mine about how lucky I considered myself. At an age when many of my contemporaries were beginning to question their career choice, I was just starting to do what I’d dreamed about all my life. “You’re right,” he said, “You are lucky. But what if you finally get there and then find out that this isn’t it for you?” That was a scary thought, but only for a moment, since I was fully caught up in the enthusiasm of finally going to the missions. Now, the answer to the question is clear: this IS it for me. I thank God every day that he has called to this place and to this service.
2. I’ve found that there is really no sense of time or distance here; or to put it better, I should say that the sense of time and distance is much different from what I’m used to. There’s an expression, “doon lang” (literally, “just over there”), which could mean anything from “within shouting distance” to “you’d better pack a lunch.” I’ve also found that there are no two clocks in the Philippines that have the same time. Mindanao runs about 10 minutes ahead of Luzon, for example. So, the 50% rule works pretty well for me. If a parish team member tells me that it is about a one hour walk to a village, I figure on at least an hour and a half.
3. It never ceases to amaze and edify me to see the goodness and enthusiasm of people. God is truly at work, all over the world. Here in Columbio, I think of the response of the people to daily Mass and to the invitation to join the choir; I think of the dedication and hard work of my parish team members, of the high school kids who are training to teach catechism to their peers, of the volunteers on the new church planning committee, of the women who come every Saturday afternoon to clean the church and grounds, of the volunteer catechists in the different barrios, and so many others. Then on the other side of the ocean: I was floored by the response of my home parishioners in regard to the new church construction we are planning in Columbio, and even more so by the desire of so many (not only at my home parish) to be involved, connected with the mission. I really feel the results of the many prayers said on my behalf.
4. Just joking. Actually, tupperware does a pretty good job of keeping the ants out of the food. But other than that, they’re certainly ubiquitous. It’s too bad that there is no commercial use for ants. The Philippine national debt could be paid off tomorrow. Or, more likely, some multi-national company would have come in long ago and taken them all out of the country. I can never remember the Tagalog word for “ant” so I just call them my “kaaway” (enemies).
5. I spent a good portion of my priesthood in the States working with high school and college-age students. Now, with the choir, the kids who come to daily Mass and the English class that I offer in the evening, I have the chance to spend a lot of time with teenagers here. Sometimes it amazes me as I listen to their banter, watch their expressions and see their interactions with one another. Here we are in the middle of the boondocks, and if you gave them longer noses you’d think you were in the U.S. suburbs! They have the same self-consciousness and desire to “fit in” with the group, the same bubbly excitement one minute and feigned boredom the next, the same generous spirits, the same kinds of put-downs and pranks to make sure that they themselves are not the target of laughter, the same open and optimistic natures, the same devastating end-of-the-world despair when they think they have been slighted by one of their friends, the same attempts to show how mature and grown-up they are, and the same episodes of childish irresponsibility when you’d like to wring their necks. God, I love ’em!
6. Funerals are tough. That’s something that’s the same all over the world too, I suppose, but here I’ve seen that emotions are not held in check the way they are in the States. People hold up pretty well during the funeral Mass itself, but at the end, when the family gathers around the casket for a final farewell, the tears begin…and the shouting…and the jumping…and the wailing…and the being held back by relatives and friends. It’s even more severe at the cemetery or family plot, just before the casket is lowered into grave. I remember my first experience of this, shortly after I arrived. The adult daughter of the deceased was inconsolable. When the time came to bury the body, she became hysterical, trying to reach the pallbearers. I couldn’t understand her words, because she was speaking Ilonggo, but from the expression on her face, her message was clear: “Don’t you even think about putting my mother into the ground!” As a priest, it’s not something that I can just shrug off as a cultural oddity. These are my people, and they are hurting in a deep way, and there’s not a whole lot I can do or say to relieve their burden. Yeah, funerals are tough.
7. Some lessons you learn the hard way.
8. I’m the kind of person who, when I get an idea or project in mind, I want it finished yesterday. Actually, I’m getting a little bit better: I’m satisfied if I can see some kind of progress being made. But now I have to resolve myself to the fact that things take time, a lot of time. The specific example I’m thinking of is the new church. Two weeks ago, I was excited with the prospect of at least getting the land ready. One of the first things needed is to clear a space of banana trees and an old outhouse. Some men came and cut down the banana trees to stumps, and the next day I went out myself and cleared away all the debris and demolished the outhouse, leaving just the concrete foundation. “Ok,” I thought, “now we just have to get a bulldozer in here to clear away the stumps and concrete and compact the ground, then this phase will be finished, and we can order the sand and gravel.” Then I met with the planning committee: “Well Father, the bulldozer of the municipality is under repair, and we don’t know when it will be fixed. And the municipal draftsman needs more time to draw up the new plans anyway. So, why don’t we think about trying to proceed at the end of next month?” So, we wait another month before even getting started with the ground preparation. In the meantime, the banana trees are starting to grow back, right out of the stumps!
Yet, I’m learning that even it is not at the pace I’d like, there really is movement and growth. An analogy could be drawn from the planting of grass in front of the church. When I first arrived, I wanted to spruce up that area, so I cleared away all the weeds and leveled the ground, and some of the people brought in grass to plant. Now, they don’t have rolls of sod like we would be used to, but rather little squares, which are laid out a few inches apart. For the longest time, it looked exactly the same: little squares of grass separated by dirt. But then I began to notice that the squares seemed to be closer together, and before I knew it, that whole area was filled in with very nice looking grass. And now, on its own, it is spreading to other barren patches.
It’s the same way, I think, with life in general here and faith-life in particular. It may seem like there’s no progress for quite some time, but without my even noticing it, something is going on, something is moving, something is growing. So, patience is not only a virtue to be sought for its own sake (and to keep from feeling frustrated all the time); it is also an stance of faith in the unseen action of God, as well as faith in the goodness and ability of the people. So I pray for the gift of patience, and of course… I want it NOW!
9. When I first arrived, everyone was concerned about what I would eat. “Don’t worry,” I told them. “I like rice, and I like fish. I’ll get along fine.” Now, a year later and quite a few pounds lighter, I can acknowledge the truth: I don’t really like rice and fish THAT much. I knew it was getting bad when I was leafing through an old magazine and I saw an advertisement which contained a gorgeous woman in a bikini, standing next to a barbeque grill, and I found myself thinking, “Wow, what a beautiful… steak!” [Actually, I stole that joke from comedian Paul Reiser who, as a new father, was lamenting the lack of sleep; the object of his “lust” was a bed.] Anyway, I’ve discovered some ways to supplement my diet. In Davao, I found canned “Chili Fixins”, and when I can find ground beef, I make a mean pot of chili, which I garnish with onions and mustard, and pour over hot dogs (also canned). Now, that’s living!
10. Not so often, but every once in a while, I get a little moody and irritated. I think about that song, “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling.” (I don’t know if that’s the actual name of the song, but it’s the chorus that’s repeated) One of the symptoms described in the lyrics is “You’re starting to criticize little things I do.” During those irritable moments, I recognize that that’s exactly my tendency: inwardly, I begin to criticize the little things the people do. “Why do they do it like that?” “Can’t they ever be on time?” “Do they HAVE to be so indirect?” “Why not just give me a straight answer?” And so, I begin to wonder if maybe I’m losing “that lovin’ feeling” toward the people. That’s when I remind myself that love isn’t a feeling, it’s a decision, a commitment. It’s not always easy or automatic. The test of the commitment is to keep on loving, even when I don’t “feel” like it. And of course the model for that kind of love is Jesus himself. His commitment took him to the cross, where he DECIDED to be faithful to his mission, faithful to his God, even though he FELT abandoned by God.
So, those are some of the things I’ve learned during this year in Columbio.
Naturally, I’ve got a lot more learning to do, as God continues to lead me in this mystifying, arduous, wonderful, life-giving journey called mission.
Intervista a padre Paolo Nicelli, missionario del Pime e conoscitore dell’islam
Dopo il Blog del 15 giugno scorso “Papa Francesco e il dialogo con l’islam”, come avevo promesso pubblico questa intervista con padre Paolo Nicelli, missionario nelle Filippine e specialista dell’islam (vedi sotto). Credo che anche questo testo del mio confratello, che ha un’esperienza di vita in paesi islamici, possa contribuire a cambiare il giudizio che molti credenti in Cristo danno dell’islam. Giusto condannare il terrorismo di matrice islamica, come fanno anche la grande maggioranza dei musulmani, che sono le prime vittime del Califfato islamico! Ma è sbagliato condannare in blocco una religione e una civiltà che derivano anch’esse da Abramo, nostro Padre della Fede, e hanno una profonda devozione al profeta Gesù ed a Maria. Il popolo cristiano dell’Occidente deve seguire Papa Francesco e avere una visione alta e positiva dell’islam, per poter accogliere e dialogare con i musulmani. Piero Gheddo.
Nicelli – Il rinnovamento dell’islam avverrà solo a partire dall’interno del mondo islamico. Noi occidentali abbiamo il compito di sostenere queste correnti innovatrici dell’islam, che non si separano dall’islam stesso. Il problema dell’Occidente è che ha fatto molte promesse all’islam moderato, ma poi non le ha sostenute e queste promesse si sono rivelate funzionali ad altri fini, non all’evoluzione dell’islam.
Gheddo – Promesse di che tipo?
Nicelli – Promesse culturali, investimenti economici e politici, di non isolamento della cultura moderata. Cioè dare visibilità a questa cultura moderata, far capire che l’islam non è solo terrorismo: questo sui giornali, nelle università, dei dibattiti internazionali, nelle agenzie di stampa, ecc. L’Occidente ha un grande potere mediatico, politico ed economico! I musulmani si sentono fuori da questo, messi in un angolo perché terroristi e totalitari.
L’islam è molto di più che il terrorismo. Pensa il peso della cultura, della filosofia islamica nel mondo indiano. L’islam è stato il cuscinetto fra cultura occidentale e cultura orientale, in campo filosofico e religioso e anche antropologico; e non va dimenticato che l’India, con l’Induismo e il Buddhismo, è la matrice della cultura asiatica filosofica e religiosa, molto più che la Cina e il Giappone. L’Occidente non è riuscito a gettare un ponte di confronto e di reciproco influsso fra Oriente e Occidente; l‘ha fatto con la colonizzazione e le missioni cristiane ma l’islam l’ha fatto nei secoli specialmente col pensiero dei persiani, a partire dallo zoroastrismo fino agli Imperatori Moghul e alla massa del 15% di musulmani che vivono in India.
C’è stato un profondo scambio culturale e religioso fra India e mondo islamico e la Persia è stato il protagonista di questo scambio, cose a cui nessuno pensa. L’Occidente ha lasciato pochissime tracce nel mondo indiano, prima della colonizzazione alla fine dell’ottocento: Alessandro Magno è arrivato fino alle piane del Gange come conquistatore, ma poi non ha lasciato nulla.
Questa la grande missione dell’islam nel campo culturale e religioso, è stato mediatore fra cultura orientale e cultura occidentale, tramite la Persia. Ecco perché la Persia, l’Iran attuale, è così importante nel dialogo con l’Occidente, perché unisce due mondi. Poi bisogna tener presente che all’interno dell’islam c’è una forte polemica tra mondo arabo e mondo persiano. I primi dicono: noi vi abbiamo dato la rivelazione nel Dio unico, voi vivevate nel politeismo e avete ricevuto la fede nel Dio unico; i persiani dicono: è vero, ma chi ha fatto dell’islam una civiltà e una cultura? La filosofia e la teologia e la cultura persiana.
Gheddo – Araba no?
Nicelli – Gli arabi erano dei beduini, gente nomade dei deserto. Sono diventati civili e colti grazie ai pensatori e ai sufi persiani che hanno viaggiato nelle loro terre. I più grandi teologi erano persiani: Avicenna, Al-Ghazali (il San Tommaso dell’islam), Ibn ‘Arabi (grande mistico, uno dei sufi più ricordati era persiano). Averroé invece è spagnolo di Cordoba. Insomma la cultura dell’islam viene in gran parte dalla Persia. Bagdad. Damasco e Il Cairo sono arabe, ma la cultura che girava in quel tempo in quelle grandi città e università era persiana. Gli arabi hanno ricevuto tutta la filosofia zoroastriana e anche le novità tecniche e filosofiche: i persiani traducevano i testi greci e indiani e li portavano nelle città e università del mondo arabo.
Nel 1200 Averroé in Spagna, che ha incontrato gli ebrei e i cristiani nelle grandi università di Salamanca e altre, insegnava la filosofia aristotelica secondo la sua interpretazione e la portava nelle città e università arabe.
Gheddo – Che cosa fare di fronte all’islam oggi?
Nicelli – La prima cosa da fare è di evitare ogni confronto fra la cultura occidentale e quella islamica oggi. Se noi guardiamo alla cultura occidentale dal punto di vista filosofico, giuridico, scientifico moderno, è chiaro che siamo secoli avanti a quella islamica, questo è fuori discussione. Ma se tu guardi la cultura islamica nel Medio Evo, confrontata con quella occidentale di quel tempo, vedi che in parecchie cose erano avanti a noi. Se si fa un confronto di questo tipo è errato e offensivo.
Per me importante oggi è sottolineare che se dal punto di vista culturale e scientifico c’è stato questo scambio positivo fra popoli cristiani e popoli musulmani, è chiaro che può esserci anche oggi, a patto che si scopra il senso profondo della propria fede, che è amore a Dio e amore all’uomo. Questo implica un rinnovamento della tradizione, dell’esegesi per i musulmani, come anche per noi occidentali: non dimentichiamo che noi abbiamo avuto i nazisti, cristiani battezzati, che scrivevano sulle fibbie dei loro cinturoni “Gott mit uns” (Dio è con noi) e poi ammazzavano ebrei, zingari, slavi e via dicendo.
Il dialogo con l’islam è un problema di interpretazione della tradizione. Bisogna isolare il fondamentalismo presente nell’islam, come in tutte le religioni. Tale fondamentalismo violento è frutto di quelle ideologie totalitarie che riducono l’esperienza religiosa e quindi l’esperienza culturale legata a questa a pura violenza, svuotando la religione del suo contenuto formale, Dio e l’amore che Dio ha per la sua creatura. Il fondamentalismo fanatico e violento usa Dio e la tradizione religiosa come giustificazione del massacro di persone innocenti, uomini, donne, bambini e anziani e lo fa in nome della morte e non della vita.
Dr. Padre Paolo Nicelli, PIME
Sforzi per liberare circa 2000 civili intrappolati in Marawi dopo l’assalto dei militanti islamici, due settimane fa, si sono interrotti oggi domenica dopo la ripresa degli scontri armati. Era stato raggiunto un cessate il fuoco di 4 ore. Tra ieri e oggi circa 370 persone sono riuscite ad uscire dalla zona controllata dai militanti. Per ora il numero dei morti è di 178 tra i quali 120 militanti, 38 soldati governativi e 20 civili,