Our future lies in our children as well!
Fortunately, in history, we still have remarkable people, – people who left their foot prints, their legacy, at the times they lived.
People who reflected courage at times of the worst violation of human rights.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian before and during the 2nd World War, saw the dynamics leading to the upcoming of Hitler. He sensed at an early stage the dangers and went to the US, – realising however that he could not commit to a post war engagement without being involved in the German resistance against Hitler.
He returned to Germany and during the 2nd world war he became increasingly aware that taking Hitler out of the total picture could perhaps save millions of lives.
He engaged himself in a plot to take Hitler’s life but by “miracle” (as Hitler called it), 2 serious assassination attempts failed very closely. It did reinforce Hitler however in his belief that he was supported by supernatural powers.
Bonhoeffer was arrested by the Gestapo and put in a concentration camp. Just before the end of the 2nd world war he was killed following explicit instructions from the German government. He left some literature providing an insight in the moral dilemma’s he faced with taking an (evil) life, – to preserve many other lives.
He was an example of true courage. He said once: “>The test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children<.” – I would like to add to this that the moral value of a society is neither its reputation in the world nor its gross national product. The level of greatest morality in society is far more connected with the way its looks after its children, the elderly and the frail, – facilitating optimal education to offer people a future with value and dignity, in peace.
This world is still a world where children do suffer. In various countries uprooted by civil war, poverty and lack of basic education. Besides this there are many countries where many thousands of children (millions perhaps) are sold or disappeared in the sex trade or child pornography. Daily abused in the most horrible dimensions. Often the perpetrators walk free as e.g the case recently with a Belgian Arch Bishop. He abused children in his care and in the 21st century in Belgium, he was only advised to leave the country – without any prosecution.
Not to speak about countries reigned by some dictators, often far worse, – but these dimensions about child abuse are almost at a global level. This is the violence different from the bomb at night in Gaza, slower than the shot in Afghanistan, – but at least as deadly in terms of physical and mental torture. It is the silent violence and the slow decay within existing institutions supposed serving the countries, – like e.g. in Belgium, where high-ranking government officials have been involved in pedophile rings, and where some influentially in the top of the Roman Catholic Church walk free.
This violence again is different from e.g. the violence applied by the US in Vietnam some decades ago, where the US Government was in a place to decide which areas in Vietnam would be destroyed with mass bombardments. It is the violence different as applied in many other pointless war’s as happened e.g in Iraq. Nevertheless it is often institutional violence, like it was institutional violence which intervened in John F Kennedy’s Presidency of the US, with high-ranking Governments officials being involved with cover up’s at the highest level of US Government. It was this institutional violence as well which killed both Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert F Kennedy during the anti Vietnam-war demonstrations, – preparing as such (in a way) the winning campaign of Richard Nixon. Even in the US there are potentially dangerous dynamics if not wisely put to an end. Still e.g. the Iraq war and 9/11 left many unanswered questions and if the Bush administration with Dick Cheney & Donald Rumsfeld would stand trial in an International Court of Justice, the verdict could be less favourable than most people would think, – if all available evidence would be presented. The potential however in the US reflects still the choices being possible to change the political climate, which is different from some other countries. The choices of not allowing the past to become the future of our children. The statue of liberty however has only value with a supplementary statue of responsibility in the White House. If the US would falter and loses its freedom it is: “because we destroyed ourselves”, – Abraham Lincoln once said.
Neither western democracies nor countries elsewhere on the world are free of failures of both judgement and perceptions, but with democracies is has been rarely necessary to put dissidents in jail whilst this seems common practice in those countries where there are no free elections. The beauties of a democracy remain restricted if most value their right to remain indifferent against potential evil systems tolerated in their own society. Every democratic country gets the criminals it deserves in the highest positions, where there is a free vote, – but on the other hand each free vote can add to the law enforcement being required. People being elected at various levels of government do represent the choices of people and in real democracies it is not really justified to blame politics for everything, – as everyone in those positions of government can be replaced through those who are committed to their democratic votes and the legitimate need for change. The dynamics in e.g Syria are far less straightforward, especially when the crack down on dissidents is relentless and supported by Teheran.
Nevertheless certain countries can’t continue killing their own people without repercussions on the long-term. It happened in the former Yugoslavia and there are still trials in The Hague with generals involved in genocide and all other abuses of human rights.
Like the principle of non involvement in business does not work in the time of knowledge workers, non involvement does not work in the business of the political administration of any country, and most of the non democratic leaders are operating from obsolete and inflated paradigms driving their countries on the brink of disaster.
In 2008 the US made a choice for profound change and Barack Obama became the first African American President. Despite a multi trillion federal budget deficit inherited from past Administrations, he was able to carry out various reforms. Without compromising on the needs for the children, the frail, the elderly and the middle class he needs to find ways to attempt a significant reduction in the federal budget deficit to keep the US a sustainable country. No representative of the Republican Party during the 2012 elections will prove to have similar credentials as this first African-American President, who may prove in retrospect to be one of the finest US Presidents in history, – provided being able to serve his 8 years term in office.
Education is the key to help less privileged groups to better standards of living all over the world. It can push countries to the next levels of their endeavours. The inhumanity and dilemma’s of this swiftly changing planet can’t be resolved by ongoing oppression of groups who want to see positive changes in their society. The world can neither be moved by those who represent a dying history of obsolete principles of government, with full prove that it does not work, – nor can it be moved by democracies with decay in their systems as allowed by those having a free vote. Our security can’t be secured anymore by nuclear warheads. – Security is far more likely to be settled in the way reason meets across the borders of division. The future will be an achievement for those who find ways to work together at the forefront of those challenges in our time.
The world is wicked dark and grey, despite its beauties on many of its corners. Obstruction is in the midst whilst oppression does not leave from the streets. If we ask the children all over the world what makes their times bad, they will tell. They will tell the stories about hunger and dysfunctional families. They will tell their stories about violence and rape. They will tell the stories about schools without books. They will tell the stories about friends being gunned or knifed down. They will tell the stories about trading childs for sex in Taiwan and Cambodia, apart from other countries. It is this silent violence which goes barefaced often under the protection of civil servants or in some countries – the church. The grievances of many under oppression are loud and clear but often not heard. Often they are wiped under the carpets. Those carpets often so nicely shining from the top, but so dusty and dirty at the bottom where nobody looks. As long as the world will exist there are always wicked leaders who ruin the ethical principles of life by wearing out the people who refuse to remain indifferent towards human suffering and humiliation.
Through the agony of deep divisions we need to change our world by our choices. We need the world and the world needs us. ….Those who take history as a relentless master in the challenge to keep both reverence for life and diversity, will always meet the world as a strange place, – whilst it take miles to make it change. However there is a time fixed for this…This time will come at the fittest time where people will be set free… This optimism takes no account of the present but is worth both enduring inspiration vitality and hope for the future, – where others have resigned to claim the future for themselves.
And still, we see this hope and optimism in children. And don’t let us forsake them, – they are our future!!
Paul Wolf is connected on LinkedIn. For more information about him see Google: Paul Alexander Wolf – Physician, FRACGP, DFFP
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- Quotation By Dietrich Bonhoeffer (stomson2001.wordpress.com)
- Day 82: Dietrich Bonhoeffer (February 4, 1906 – April 9, 1945) (civildisobedience100.wordpress.com)
- Bonhoeffer – Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (lindentreelibrary.wordpress.com)
- The German church before and during Hitler’s reign: a case study of false theology precipitating poor action (zachthomps0n.wordpress.com)
- What does human rights mean to you? (notesfromagaymentalist.wordpress.com)
- What if the Germans had won the first world war? | Martin Kettle (theguardian.com)
- Why schools are changing values, attitudes and beliefs of our children (educationviews.org)
- Kiir and Machar Remove the Skeletons from the Closet in South Sudan (tloloyuong.wordpress.com)
- Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas (sago.com)
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer – German Lutheran pastor, theologian, dissident anti-Nazi (deadcitizensrightssociety.wordpress.com)