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THE CATHOLIC SOCIAL JUSTICE QUARTERLY December 2013-February 2014 www.justicemagazine.org@justicemagazine

JUSTICE magazine

Nelson Mandela Nuns in Haiti Christian persecution Central African Republic Mental health

IN DETENTION How the Jesuit Refugee Service is helping migrants held in the UK

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THE CATHOLIC SOCIAL JUSTICE QUARTERLY

JUSTICE magazine

Contents Winter 2013-14

Justice Magazine is a non-profit making quarterly publication that reports on and aims to further interest in the Catholic Church’s social teaching. We would love to hear from you with your feedback, ideas for future editions or your own contributed articles. Please get in touch via our website or by sending an email to editor@justicemagazine.org. All digital formats are free to the reader. These include the online page flip version as well as downloadable files for Kindle and ereading devices capable of displaying epub files. If you like what you read in Justice Magazine, let your friends and family know so they can download their own free copy.

36 Standing strong with Zimbabwe’s forgotten people Individual printed copies of the magazine are also available from www.magcloud.com. We believe this is a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way for people to access print. Justice Magazine does not charge for the magazine in print, the amount payable goes directly to the printers for production and postage. Free advertising space has been given to Catholic charities and agencies. If you can, please make a donation to help them continue their excellent work in the UK and overseas. Editor Lee Siggs

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NEWS: RoundupofDecember’snews MANDELA: FrJohnDear,ChrisBainandMikeGuilfoylereflect PERSECUTION: Egypt’sKristallnacht ABUSE: Theneedtoremember SEAFARING: Behindthescenes UNITED KINGDOM: Politics,povertyandtheChurch ECONOMY: Notforprofit MIGRATION: ‘Suspendedlikeapieceofstring’ UNITED KINGDOM: Outintothecommunity CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Anexplosivesituation DRONES: Judge,jury,executioner ENVIRONMENT: Whywemustacttoprotecttheenvironment MIGRATION: Mythsandmigrants HAITI: Takingdisasterrecoveryintotheirownhands MENTAL HEALTH: ThedismallegacyofStDymphna FINAL THOUGHT

Cover photo: Detention centre by Greenmonster

Editorial advisers Jonathan Houdmont Nana Anto-Awuakye For regular news updates from Justice Magazine, remember to visit www.justicemagazine.org

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Acknowledgments The editor wishes to thank all the agencies and individuals who have submitted articles and photos. The next issue of Justice Magazine will be published in March. Please write to editor@justicemagazine.org with ideas for future articles or to suggest improvements.

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News DECEMBER2013

Lack of progress in Poland UN climate change negotiations in Poland have failed to deliver a fair deal for the world’s poorest people, the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) has said. In the run-up to a global climate deal in 2015, much greater action will be needed if the world’s most vulnerable people are protected from the impacts of climate change, the agency claimed. SCIAF was in Warsaw as part of the Catholic network of development agencies, CIDSE, with partners from Latin America, Africa and Asia. At this year’s talks, key progress had been demanded on crucial issues such as climate finance, with developing countries calling on rich nations to make good on their promise of providing $100 billion per year by 2020. This money was promised at previous talks in 2009 to support poorer countries adapt to the effects of climate change and support them to develop on a low-carbon path. Speaking at the conclusion of the summit, Jo O’Neill, policy officer for SCIAF, said: “Countries in Warsaw have failed to make much-needed progress on how they are going to provide sufficient money to help poor countries deal with the challenges of climate change. Developing countries need predictable, regular sources of finance 4 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

to protect vulnerable people whose lives and livelihoods are already suffering from its devastating impacts. Yet as we leave Warsaw countries have done little to clarify where this money will come from.” The talks were also an important opportunity for countries to agree a roadmap for a globa climate deal in Paris in 2015 and to set out early plans for cutting emissions after 2020. Jo O’Neil continued: “What was agreed last night does not provide the solid foundation the future agreement badly needs, with countries avoiding early commitments and instead opting to allow nations to set out their planned action at a later date.” When CIDSE met with the Polish Government, the delegation of Church agencies passed on a strong plea for the Poles to move away from its fossil fuelled economy towards a low carbon society – using Scotland’s experience of climate action as an example of good practice. Jo O’Neill added: “Scotland’s ambitious climate targets and its Climate Justice Fund demonstrate the kind of leadership and ambition sorely needed. If we are to achieve a global deal in 2015 that safeguards the needs and rights of the world’s poorest people we need others to make the rights climate choices”. There were rare moments of progress. Ear-

lier in the week, some European countries made important pledges on finance and fossil fuels with the UK making a commitment to stop using public money to fund coal plants overseas. Importantly, countries also agreed to a process to address the increasing loss and damage caused by climate change, although NGOs are calling for the detail of this process to be

strengthened. SCIAF partner and Director of Caritas India, Fr Frederick D’Souza, spoke about the experience of climate change in his country: “Rising temperatures are making farming and fishing much more difficult for poor communities already living in poverty,” he said. “Climate change then is needlessly adding to their suffering. Vulnerable people have a right to take


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Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan

part in the climate talks. We must make sure their voices are heard”. Apostleship of the Sea extends support to seafarers and fishers following typhoon Seafarers’ charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) is assisting fishermen in the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan. It has emerged that fish-

ermen and coastal communities make up more than half of the casualties in the Visayas, one of the main areas ravaged by the storm. The statistic was provided by Pamalakaya, a national fishers’ group in the Philippines. Fr Bruno Ciceri of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, which coordinates the activities

of AoS worldwide, said AoS Manila was providing free accommodation to returning seafarers who need somewhere to stay while they trace their families. “The AoS centre in Cebu has also been turned into a logistics hub for aid material and people involved in the relief operation.” It is estimated that as many as 160,000 Filipino seafarers are directly affected by the typhoon. AoS Dublin port chaplain Rose Kearney said volunteers were collecting and packing baby clothing to give to seafarers onboard their ships. “While some may not have children they might like to donate the items to families they know.” AoS Barcelona port chaplain Deacon Ricardo Rodriguez-Marto said he and his colleagues had distributed a message and a prayer among Filipino seafarers. Across the globe AoS’ port chaplains have come out in full force to support Filipino seafarers and fishing communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan. The Pontifical Council is putting together plans to support those affected by the storm in the long term. Politicians demand UK government takes persecution of Christians seriously Backbench MPs reacted with anger as a foreign office minister tried to play down the persecution of Christians during an “impassioned debate” on the subject in the House of Commons on December 3. During a debate in parliament calling on the UK government “to do more both in its foreign policy

and through its aid work to defend and support people of Christian faith”, MPs accused front benchers of trying to widen it to a general discussion of human rights. Following remarks from Mark Simmonds, Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, that “we should not be standing up for our coreligionists or Christians in particular,” Tony Baldry, MP for Banbury, stressed that the precarious situation of 200 million Christians required a definite response from government. He said: “This debate is entitled ‘persecution of Christians’ – with all due respect to my honourable friend, there is a risk of the Foreign Office not appreciating the real growing concern about the global persecution of Christians.” Sammy Wilson, MP for East Antrim, detailed some of the problems facing Christians around the world, as he expressed disappointment with the response from the front benches. He said: “Within the last month, hundreds of people, from Nigeria to Eritrea to Kazakhstan to China, have been arrested and put in prison simply because of their faith, and when they go into prison they are denied due process. “They are denied access to lawyers, they are sometimes even denied knowledge of the charges facing them, they can languish in prison for a long time and in horrible conditions. “Any other overseas problem on that scale would have been a priority for the foreign office, yet the minister and the oppoJUSTICEMAGAZINE5


News DECEMBER2013

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sition front bench spokesman attempted to widen this topic rather than to zone in on the real issue – which is this is a particular group of people who are being persecuted.” Shadow Foreign Office minister, Kerry McCarthy had also broadened the debate to include other groups whose human rights are being denied. She said: “I do not think that we should start carving up human rights by saying that some abuses are worse than others. “That would be entirely wrong, because there are countries in which people of other faiths are being persecuted and killed, and we see persecution when we look at violence against women and attacks on LGBT communities.” Complaining that he did not “detect a sense of burning anger about what is happening to Christians” in the Foreign Office speech, Edward Leigh, MP for Gainsborough, went on to say MPs should “be angry about any persecution of any religion” – but stressed that the overwhelming number of human right violations are directed at Christians. He said: “The honourable member for Bristol East [Kerry McCarthy] mentioned that Christians were persecuted in 105 countries, or their human rights were somehow limited, but she immediately tried to be relative – I think that there is a danger of relativism in this debate – and said that there were 101 countries where Muslims had their rights affected.” He later added “This debate is not a relative

Protestors rally against Christian persecution

debate about human rights. It is a debate about the persecution of Christians.” The scale of the issue was described by Jim Shannon, one of the MPs who tabled the motion. He said: “100,000 Christians will be massacred this year because of their beliefs, 200,000,000

Christians will be persecuted due to their faith, 1.5 billion Christians live in what can be termed as dangerous neighbourhoods – that shows the magnitude of the problem of persecuted Christians.” Responding to the speeches of his fellow parliamentarians, Mark Simmons called it an

“impassioned debate outlining many of the horrors and persecutions suffered by Christians around the world”. The debate, which closed with the house adopting the motion, was informed by research from various bodies, including Aid to the Church in Need’s recent Persecuted and Forgot-


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ten? report, which was cited by Angie Bray, MP for Ealing Central and Acton. Pope Francis receives chief of International Labour Organization The welfare of workers, and particularly of migrants, was a key issue of concern raised in a meeting between Pope Francis and the Director General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Guy Ryder, Vatican Radio has reported. Mr Ryder, who was received in private audience in the Vatican by Pope Francis, told Vatican Radio following that encounter that “we discussed many of the issues that I think the Church shares concerns about with the International Labour Organization. We are very much concerned with promoting decent work in the world at the ILO and Pope Francis spoke about the dignity of work, the importance with which the Church and he personally attaches to the dignity of work and the challenges that that presents in today’s world. “We talked particularly about the plight of some of the most vulnerable people in the world. “And he spoke particularly about his concerns about human trafficking, and he spoke about (the southern Italian island of) Lampedusa and migrant workers. And I think we shared very much a concern that the way that the global economy is working right now does not always work in favor of those who are weakest and this needs to be corrected.”

Guy Ryder of the ILO met with Pope Francis at the Vatican

Vatican warns of growing trend of exploitation of fishers The Vatican has warned that migrant workers within the commercial fishing sector are in danger of being exploited as a result of globalisation and labour shortages. It is renewing its appeal to governments to urgently ratify the Work in Fishing Convention 2007 (No. 188) to ensure the welfare of fishing crew are better protected. “We are talking about the exploitation of migrant workers who, because of poverty and misery, easily fall prey to recruitment agencies that bind them to forms of forced labour, becoming at times victims of trafficking onboard fishing vessels,” said the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. Enacting the 2007 Convention would ensure fishing crew had ongoing medical care, sufficient

hours of rest, the protection of a contract of employment, and the same social benefits enjoyed by workers ashore. The Pontifical Council coordinates the activities of Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) worldwide. It is putting together plans to provide long term support to Filipino fishing communities hit by Typhoon Haiyan. The council said fishers risked signing illegal or incomplete employment contracts, coupled with poor salaries and safety conditions onboard. Coastal pollution and destruction along coasts were also forcing them to go further out to sea using substandard boats. It said family relationships were put to the test by prolonged stays at sea. Often fishers became ‘voiceless’ in society, marginalised and isolated, and incapable of enforcing their rights. “As such the work of AoS in exposing the problems and difficult working and living conditions of fishers

and their families was vital,” it said, recalling the words of Pope Benedict XVI at the XXIII World Congress in November 2012: “To you fishermen, who seek decent and safe working conditions, safeguarding the dignity of your families, the protection of the environment and the defense of every person’s dignity, I would like to ensure the Church’s closeness.” “Finally, making ours the words of Pope Francis, let us pray together with Mary, the “Star of the Sea”, to support the chaplains and volunteers of AoS in their pastoral service to the people of the sea, and to protect fishers and their families from all danger.”

Sources: SCIAF,ACN, VaticanRadio,Fides, AoS JUSTICEMAGAZINE7


Feature Nelson Mandela

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Jesuit priest John Dear discusses the impact Nelson Mandela had on his life as an advocate for peace and justice in the United States

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With everyone else, I’ve been mourning, celebrating and reflecting over these past few days on the extraordinary life of Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5. I’m amazed at his political vision, his daring revolutionary commitment, his patient endurance through 27 years in prison, his determination to avoid war and reconcile South Africa upon his release, his persistent forgiveness, his outspoken stance against war, poverty, AIDS and US imperialism, his towering example, and perhaps most of all, his personal dignity and humanity. I saw him once, in 1990 in Oakland, California, at the end of his national US tour, just months after he was released from prison. The Oakland stadium was sold out, it was a beautiful sunny day and the crowd was filled with anticipation. When he walked on stage, the stadium exploded with applause. He gave a stirring speech, which was interrupted every few sentences by more applause. His presence was electrifying. I left determined more than ever to do what I could for justice and peace. In the mid-1980s, I had tried to oppose apartheid and very much wanted to attended vigils against apartheid and get arrested, with the thousands of others, at the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C. But my Jesuit superiors refused to let me. They supported Reagan, who supported the white minority racist regime in South Africa. In 1987, while teaching world history to 150 school students in Pennsylvania, I spent a week on South Africa and apartheid. I knew Mandela was not allowed to receive mail, so I proposed that we all write letters of support to Winnie Mandela. Through friends in the movement, we were able to get those 150 letters delivered to her. Everyone was excited to think of her reading our letters. Months passed and I forgot about our project, until one day when I received an unmarked envelope in the mail, stamped from South Africa.

Winnie wrote me a beautiful letter, thanking me for the encouragement and support. The letter was typed out on what must have been an old, barely functioning manual typewriter. She signed herself, “WM.” Below was a P.S. “Please thank each one of the following students for me.” With that, she typed out the full names of every student, a list that went on for several pages. It must have taken her an hour to type out all the names. I gave a copy to every student. In 1989, I was able to join a church protest and a hundred of us were arrested for blocking the entrance to the White House, calling for an end to US support of apartheid. By then, I was helping out at a Jesuit church in Washington. We had declared ourselves a “sister parish” of Regina Mundi, the Catholic community in Soweto, a hub of anti-apartheid activity. In our church foyer, we posted pictures of our friends in Soweto. So for the past year, I’ve been planning finally to go to South Africa. I leave in early January with my friend Fr Ray East and his sisters. Ray’s grandparents helped found Fort Hare University, the first university for blacks in South Africa, where Mandela, Tutu, Biko and other leaders went. In the 1980s and 1990s, Ray’s parish in Washington also served as a “sister parish” to Regina Mundi. We’re planning to visit the university and the parish, and hope to meet with Archbishop Tutu in Cape Town. So I’ve been studying South Africa for this past year and just finished reading Mandela: The Authorized Biography, which I recommend as the best of all the books on Mandela. I’m well aware of the terrible crises currently facing South Africa worsening poverty, widespread crime, government corruption. For us, the trip is a pilgrimage, a time to pray, listen and learn. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” That’s what Nelson Mandela famously said as he reflected back on his years in the struggle to fight apartheid. For me, that is the JUSTICEMAGAZINE9


Feature Nelson Mandela

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With even the smallest ounce of faith ... we can move mountains

key lesson from Mandela’s life and the struggle to end apartheid. It was an impossible task, but it had to be done, even if it cost one’s freedom or one’s life. If everyone gives themselves to the struggle, then apartheid will surely fall. We need that same brave determined spirit if we’re to take on the impossible task of trying to end war, poverty, hunger, gun violence, drones, executions, nuclear weapons and environmental destruction. With faith, hope, vision, trust in God, steadfast organising, sacrificial love, perseverance and determination, we can fight the greatest injustices, Mandela insists. That’s the legacy of those who fought for the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, and civil rights. Keep at it, even if the task seems impossible. Don’t give in to fatalism or despair; otherwise, you’ll do nothing and there will be no chance of positive social change. With even the smallest ounce of faith, Jesus teaches in Mark’s Gospel, we can move mountains, even the mountains of apartheid, poverty, and nuclear weapons.

I’ll never forget watching Mandela’s inauguration. I was in prison in North Carolina, facing years in prison for our Plowshares action. I was sitting right next to Philip Berrigan. The news president asked Mandela, “Did you ever think you would become President of South Africa?” Mandela turned his head sideways, and looked quizzically. “Of course I did,” he answered firmly. “Every day in prison my comrades called me Mr President. We spent every day for more than 25 years preparing for this day, envisioning a new South Africa, studying other democracies, and planning out the details.” Phil and I turned and looked at each other. Mandela’s visionary determination was shocking and amazing. That’s what we need today - ordinary, committed, determined people with a global vision of justice and peace, doing what they can, and the perseverance to spend their lives making that vision come true. I think the best way to honor Nelson Mandela is by carrying on the nonviolent struggle for justice and peace, continuing to do whatever we can, giving more and more of ourselves to that struggle. We need to pursue the impossible task of ending war, guns, drones, nuclear weapons, poverty, hunger, executions, environmental destruction, and all violence. This is what the spiritual life, the Gospel, demands of us - a full time

commitment to welcoming the reign of God in our midst. This is what makes life meaningful. There are many struggles to join from efforts to support human rights for Palestinians to solidarity with the Afghanis to projects to abolish the death penalty and nuclear weapons. All of them need our active support. My friends and I are working hard to build “Campaign Nonviolence,” an effort to bring nonviolence to churches and schools, promote nonviolence trainings, and organise more than 300 local nonviolent demonstrations in Congressional districts across the US next autumn before the elections around opposition to drones, poverty and environmental destruction. Like every struggle and grassroots movements, we need all the help we can get. We need everyone to pitch in and do their part. “We must use time wisely,” Mandela said, “and forever realise that the time is always ripe to do right.” That’s a good Advent message. As we prepare again to welcome Jesus and his reign of nonviolence, I hope we can recommit ourselves to the grassroots movements for disarmament and justice. That’s the best way to honor Nelson Mandela.

John Dear is a Jesuit priest and author from the United States

Deliver the world he demanded We have lost a brother, a leader, and a legend. But more than ever now, we must dedicate ourselves in Nelson Mandela’s memory to the fight for freedom, peace and justice. The greatest honour we can pay him - the legacy that he warrants - is that we build the world he wanted to see: a world free from any form of division, whether between black or white, rich or poor, man or woman. And that we rise to the example he set during his cruel punishment on Robben Island and when serving his country so magnificently afterwards, and live our lives with selflessness, courage and compassion. CAFOD’s supporters stood in the vanguard of the battle against 10 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

apartheid, and the demand for Nelson Mandela’s freedom. His fight was ours. We helped fund the ‘New Nation’ newspaper and worked through local churches to deliver health care in the townships; churches whose priests and bishops were so often literally in the front line against the forces of oppression. Just a few months ago, Archbishop Desmond Tutu hailed the role that CAFOD’s staff and supporters played in defeating the evil of apartheid. He recalled that “Seven years ago, a rallying call was made to the people of Britain by Nelson Mandela – he called on them to rise up and never to remain silent in the face of injustice, oppression, suffering, and

poverty. He told the world from his platform in Trafalgar Square that “overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice”. “The act of justice demanded by Nelson Mandela must become our daily act of tribute to his life and his example. He told that 2005 gathering in Trafalgar Square: “Sometimes it falls to a generation to be great. You can be that great generation”. Let us embrace his challenge; let us deliver the world he demanded; it is the very least he deserves. Chris Bain is the chief executive of CAFOD


Mike Guilfoyle on how Mandela’s willingness to move on from the past shaped the future

The power to forgive PHOTO:InternationalLabourOrganization/ ILOPHOTOS

One of the more piquant recollection’s that has been recounted following the death of Nelson Mandela relates how the great South African Nobel winning novelist Nadine Gordimer’s 1979 political novel ‘Burgers Daughter’, whose narrative deeply rooted as it was in the anti-apartheid struggle, was smuggled into Mandela’s cell when he was serving his prison sentence on Robben Island. The prison authorities later reacted to the news that drafts of his memoirs had been smuggled out of the prison, by imposing punishments that included withdrawing hard won privileges around that most powerful narratives from the ‘crucible of prison’ that of prisoner self empowerment through self-improvement and study. Although the tenacity with which Nelson Mandela managed to overcome the harshness of the prison regime owed a great deal to his well honed political skills, accomplished strategies for evading even the most intrusive of prison administrations, and resolute and unwavering belief in shaping the direction of his prison journey, have all been duly recognised. What of this compelling fascination with prisoners and literature? Writings that fall under the rubric of ‘ prison literature’. merit separate critical scholarship and commentary, beyond the scope of this article, as the range of such offerings is truly expansive. One of the abiding legacies of Mandela’s incarceration, as for many other authors down the centuries who for varying reasons have lost their liberty, is the sharing of his personal experiences in the form of letters, diaries and memoirs, whilst at the same time deriving inspiration and comfort from books smuggled in or not, which offer glimmerings of their humanity, a humanity often

diminished by the circumstances of captivity which sometimes operate with such obliterating force. These range from Boethius Consolation of Philosophy, penned when awaiting execution in the fifth century AD, to John Bunyan’s allegorical ‘The Pilgrims Progress’ written in captivity in 1678, to Oscar Wilde’s Ballad of Reading Gaol written in exile after his release from prison having experiencing the ‘hard labour, hard fare and hard beds’ of Victorian confinement. The stark fact remains that by any estimate around half of the prison population in England and Wales has a reading age of 11 or below, and the work of pioneering charities like the Shannon Trust, founded following the exchange of letters between a life sentence prisoner and Sussex farmer Christopher Morgan, now enables thousands of literate prisoners the opportunity of teaching other inmates to read. This enables them to better realise their potential and at the same time reduce the likelihood of reoffending when released. Indeed in four federal prisons in Brazil, a scheme called Redemption through Reading enables eligible prisoners to shorten their sentence by four days for every book that they read! Maybe if reintegration back into

society is, as many keen observers of prison rehabilitation note, a ‘two way street’ involving not just changes and adjustments on the part of the person returning from prison, but also the wider society welcoming the prisoner back into their communities. It is perhaps instructive that America’s all time favourite film remains ‘ The Shawshank Redemption’. When Nelson Mandela was released from 27 years of confinement, his good standing amongst so many people of every nation provided one of the most potent of public narratives, that of redemption. It remains the central concept of all the major religious traditions. One needs to recall how the Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in South Africa in 1995 under the chairmanship of Archbishop Desmond Tutu arguably provided a better foundation for national reconciliation, than the recourse to simple retribution, ‘ justice with a restoring face’. It was shockingly evident that the commission could only address the iceberg of actual victimisation under apartheid. It has been estimated that 16.5 million people were charged with offences under apartheid after 1960 and around 80 per cent of those arrested suffered physical assault. But does the New Testament not look beyond retribution, to a vision of justice manifested in God’s redemptive work of making all things new? This must surely remain as his abiding moral legacy, that Nelson Mandela, unlike the sorcerers apprentice, was able to break the spell and forgive his captors. For without the chance of redemption, many would envisage no exit from the ‘ irreversible’ consequences of what such prisoners once did. Mike Guilfoyle worked as a probation officer in London from 1990-2010 JUSTICEMAGAZINE11


Feature Egypt

Catholic peer David Alton compares the plight of Christians in Egypt to the treatment of the Jews under the Nazis

EGYPT’S KRISTALLNACHT In November 1938, in an orgy of violence which would become known as Kristallnacht, Jewish synagogues, homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked and pillaged. The sledgehammers and petrol left more than 1,000 synagogues burnt and more than 7,000 Jewish shops and businesses in ruins. The streets were covered in shards of smashed glass from broken windows. Compare the charred husk of the Fasanenstrasse Synagogue in Berlin, in 1938, with pictures of the blackened walls of Degla’s ruined Church of the Virgin Mary, taken recently in Egypt, and you will readily understand why August 2013 represented Egypt’s Kristallnacht. Compare the terror of 1938 with the fear of Copts as members of their community have been left dead, others assaulted, and their 118th Pope, Tawadros II, who is now under protection having had death threats made against him. In 1938 The Times commented that “no foreign propagandist bent upon blackening Germany before the world could outdo the tale of burnings and beatings, of blackguardly assaults on defenseless and innocent people, which disgraced that country yesterday.” In August 2013, in an almost identical vein, The Times reported how “dozens of churches, homes and businesses have been set alight and looted in Egypt, forcing millions of Christians into hiding amid the worst bout of sectarian violence in the country’s modern history. Some Coptic Christian communities are being made to pay bribes as local Islamists exploit 12 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

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Attacks on the Copts, who number around 10 per cent of the 85 million Egyptian population, have occurred throughout the country

the turmoil by seeking to revive a seventh-century tax, called jizya, levied on non-Muslims.” The Sunday Times described how in one village ���first they daubed the Christians’ shops and homes with a red cross. Then the mob stormed the police station before turning its wrath on the church.” More than 90 churches, monasteries and church buildings have been attacked across the country. The Times said there had been incitement, that Imams in the town of Fayoum reportedly urged supporters to go out and attack churches and Christians. In Cairo, Franciscan nuns saw the cross over their school gate torn down and replaced by an al-Qaeda flag while the school was burnt down and three nuns were frog marched through the streets while mobs showered them with abuse. One nun said “They paraded us like prisoners of

war.” Joe Stork, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch reported that “dozens of churches are smouldering ruins, and Christians throughout the country are hiding in their homes, afraid for their very lives”. One of those who died was a young Christian deacon, Wahid Jacobk. He had served the St John the Baptist Church in Asyut until August 21, when he was kidnapped. His captors demanded 1.2 million Egyptian pounds ($171,000) – an impossible ransom for his impoverished family. Their inability to pay up led to his execution. The priest who conducted Wahid’s funeral said that the young man’s body, found dumped in a field, was badly tortured. These unconscionable sectarian crimes follow years of indifference to the regular reports of the abduction and forced conversion and marriage of Christian girls; of accompanying violence and rape; discrimination, beatings and abuse. Attacks on the Copts, who number around 10 per cent of the 85 million Egyptian population have occurred throughout the country, and are well documented in Upper Egypt’s Minya, Assiut and Sohag; in Beni Suef in the Nile Delta; and in the governorates of Giza and Cairo. Although the Tamarod coalition which, on July 3 brought the removal of Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood Government had the support of millions of Egyptians – including secularists, intellectuals, students, women, moderate Muslims, and the army – it is the Coptic community who have borne the brunt of


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Christians are suering persecution in Egypt JUSTICEMAGAZINE13


Feature Egypt

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When it comes to the Copts the perpetrators enjoy impunity and can terrorise at leisure. The Economist reported that ‘nowhere had the police thought to reinforce security, and nowhere did they intervene promptly or with sufficient force’

these revenge attacks. The puritan-tendency in the Muslim Brotherhood have blamed Christians for the military coup and their media outlets have whipped up hate. The hatred is then recycled by key Muslim Brotherhood leaders in their speeches to their supporters. Happy for the Christian minority to be used as a scapegoat, the security forces have been largely indifferent to this suffering. When it comes to the Copts the perpetrators enjoy impunity and can terrorise at leisure. The Economist reported that “nowhere had the police thought to reinforce security, and nowhere did they intervene promptly or with sufficient force.” This combination of impunity, terror and blackmail prompts the question, where is the solidarity from Christians and non-Christians alike which such events demand? African slaves, abandoned to a life of exploitation, poignantly ask the same question in the words of the AfricanAmerican Spiritual – “were you there when they crucified my Lord?” In the aftermath of recent events – and well aware of the indifference which has been shown to the fate of Christians throughout the region – it’s the same question which Coptic Christians have been asking of those who have voices but who do not raise them; of those who have resources but who do not use them; and those who have freedom and power but fail to exercise it. All of us ask should ask ourselves what we said and what we did when they burnt the churches, terrorised the people and killed the Copts. It took the outgoing British Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks – always mindful 14 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

of the events to which Kristallnacht led, to point to our indifference to the assault on the Copts which he described as “a tragedy going almost unremarked” and is the “religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing”. Yet, not all consciences have been still and not all voices have been silent. At a protest outside the White House, in chants which echoed those used against Lyndon B. Johnson, in the context of Vietnam, critics of the

Obama administration’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood demanded “Obama Obama don’t you care? Copts are dying over there.” Recall that when Mubarak was removed from office President Obama said that “Egypt will never be the same.” Was the Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood what he really had in mind? What is his red line for the Copts or, is it true that he has run out of red ink?


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Egyptian Christians make their voices heard at a protest in the US

Too many in the US who call themselves progressive, or who can be counted amongst their cheerleaders in Britain, have characterised the Morsi Government and the Muslim Brotherhood as lawful and worthy of support and would have them return to power. The New Statesman says: “Either Britain supports democracy abroad or it doesn’t.” The Egyptian military are painted as usurpers and illicit. Where here is any intelligent

or truthful assessment – let alone moral indignation – of the tyranny and violence which has been part and parcel of the ideology promoted by the Muslim Brotherhood and its fellow travellers? This isn’t just about what passes for democracy. The holding of an election – like the one which ushered in the Third Reich after Kristallnacht – is not the only test of what makes for a democratic society. The rule of law

is the first test and the protection of a country’s minorities and women, is the second. The reality is that the Brotherhood was disastrously incompetent in Government and attempted to bring in a wholly undemocratic constitution which would have denied vast swathes of the Egyptian population – especially its women and its minorities – their lawful rights. Does that make a country democratic? As Egypt descended into total anarchy was the army supposed to simply stand by and watch it happen? Despite welcome signals from the new government of redrawn constitutional protections it is also reported that it will continue to provide Sharia as the “principal source of law” – and so a raft of civil rights, freedoms, including protection for minorities and equal opportunities for women, will have no guaranteed basis in law. Egypt’s future can only be based on a secular constitution where human rights, including the rights of minorities and the right to freedom of religion or belief (including the right not to believe), are respected. Above all, Egypt’s future will depend on the rule of law. As Human Rights Watch has pointed out, there can be no peace or stability in Egypt if the authorities fail to intervene to prevent the attacks or to bring the perpetrators to justice, or if they ignore the violent rhetoric which whips up hatred. Over the past few years we have regularly pointed to the significant numbers of Copts who have been fleeing Egypt. In a climate of fear and intimidation, coupled with historic and long-standing discrimination, this exodus is entirely understandable. But if this represents the only future for Copts it will be a tragedy for Egypt and for the Copts’ Muslim neighbours alike. An Egypt which is unable to accept difference and unwilling to promote tolerance will be an increasingly unbearable place for all of its other citizens. That’s why Egypt’s Kristallnacht matters so much.

David Alton is a member of the British House of Lords and honorary president of UK Copts Association

JUSTICEMAGAZINE15


Comment United States

Hurt by abuse in the Church, Katherine Moore reflects on the individuals who have helped her to overcome the challenges to her faith

The need to remember

16 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

two unhealthy marriages without any criticism or judgment. I remarried and gave birth to a daughter, and I remember a very elderly monsignor who held my hand, prayed with me, and counseled me when my husband walked out and left me with an 18-month-old daughter. I remember two priests and two nuns who traveled with me to Wake Forest University to see that young lady graduate from college. I remember a kindly Catholic priest, the son of a Methodist minister, who encouraged and supported a community clinic, food bank, dental young African-American women to clinic, and an unbelievable social outattend the prestigious St Mary Col- reach that turned no one away; all lege in South Bend, Indiana in 1959. run by the Sisters of St Ursula and I remember requesting from the volunteers. Josephites (priest’s community) a I remember all of the Catholic clinphoto of Father Richard Swift to ics, food banks, and outreach include in a book that I am writing programmes sponsored by the and being astounded at a short bio Catholic Church throughout this included with the photo that chroni- country and the world that are supcled his remarkable life of service. ported by local priests and staffed I remember a wonderful Catholic by dedicated Catholic nuns and lay priest who counseled and consoled people. me during my years of life with an I remember a jolly, happy-goalcoholic husband and severely lucky Irishman obsessed with Notre asthmatic son. Dame football and a quiet, stern, I remember a jovial, happy priest holy gentleman with a wicked sense who provided a full scholarship for of humour; they changed my life my son to attend the local Catholic forever. Their presence makes school when I couldn’t afford the heaven a better place! tuition. I remember contacting a Paedophile priests should be quiet Catholic priest, whom I had excommunicated and so should never met, and asking him to visit those who continue to protect them. my son away in college in the hospiThe behavior is unconscionable as tal with a broken jaw that he young lives are destroyed. I weep sustained playing college football. when I learn of priests who continue Fr Thomas Hadden went to visit to commit these horrendous acts my son without any hesitation and and I again ask myself if I can continreported back to me. We became ue to support the Roman Catholic lifelong friends. Church. I remember a kind and gentle Then I remember. priest who helped me get the dioKatherine Moore writes from the US cese to accept my divorces from PHOTO:www.catholicchurch.org.uk

I remember my outrage when the Catholic Church transferred Cardinal Bernard Laws to the Vatican after he was exposed for transferring paedophile priests in his diocese. I was even more infuriated when the cardinal was allowed to participate in Pope John Paul’s funeral. For the first time in 50 years I questioned my devotion to the Church. And then I remembered. A young black child attending and receiving communion without any fear or hesitation in all-white Catholic Churches in North Carolina and Virginia in the 40s and 50s. Four Catholic nuns who travelled 10 miles every Sunday on dirt roads to transport three young black children to Mass who had no other way to get to church. I remember an elderly Catholic priest who brought communion EVERY Sunday for 10 years to my disabled grandmother even though she had nothing to contribute to the Church as she lived on $85 a month. I remember a big Irish Catholic priest who chose to work with the African-American community in the south in the 1950s and organised a youth group among a handful of young black Catholics. That priest led this group of “rag tag” students down the main streets of a small southern city to protest segregation. One of those students, Joseph McNeil, went on to A&T State University where he organised and began the sit-down demonstrations at lunch counters in the Woolworth Stores. His actions initiated the integration of public facilities in this country. That lunch counter is enshrined in a museum in Greensboro, North Carolina. I remember that same priest procured full scholarships for several


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Feature Seafarers

PHOTO:ApostleshipoftheSea

Maersk has been labelled ‘the Coca Cola of freight’

A new book highlights the lives of modern seafarers, reports Greg Watts

Behind the scenes “There is such busyness around me. Everything in a container modern port is enormous, overwhelming, crushing. Kendal of course, but also the thundering trucks, the giant boxes in many colours, the massive gantry cranes that straddle the quay, reaching up ten-storeys and over to ships that stretch three football pitches in length,” says Rose George at the beginning of her book that investigates the modern shipping industry. Kendal is the vast container ship she sailed on from Felixstowe in Suffolk to Singapore, a 39-day voyage lasting five weeks and that included 18 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

passing along the Suez Canal and through waters active with pirates. The ship was owned by Maersk, a company she likens to the “Coca Cola of freight,” who rarely allow non-seafarers on board its vessels. George’s previous book, The Big Necessity: the Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why it Matters dealt with an unusual topic, how a lack of proper sanitation in some countries leads to deadly diseases. Before beginning Deep Sea and Foreign Going, she admits she didn’t know much about the maritime industry. “Most people who don't

work in the industry don't have any impression of the maritime industry because it is so inward and quiet. “Despite many shipping people telling me they want the industry to be more visible and appreciated, that hasn’t really changed except in a few cases, such as Maersk, which is remarkably good at social media and publicity in general.” What sparked her interest in the maritime industry was that so little is known about it, despite the pivotal role it plays in all our lives. It transports our food, our clothes, and our fuel. Most of what we buy in the high


street has come by sea, not by air. “In 2011, the UK shipped in half of its gas. The United States relies on ships to bring in two thirds of its oil supplies. As In Los Angeles, New York and other port cities, London has moved its working docks out of the city, away from residents. Security concerns have hidden ports further, behind barbed wire and badge-wearing and keeping out,” says George. Ships are also used for other purposes, she adds. “All sorts of criminals like ships. Counterfeiters; they ship £125 billion worth of fake goods, or more than the GDP of 150 countries. People traffickers regularly send their desperate clients off in boxes. In 2006, Seattle police arrested 40 traffickers for procuring foreign women to work in brothels. Some had paid £30,000 to travel in shipping containers. And drug barons love boxes.” And, of course, terrorism, has a maritime dimension, something the US is more aware of since 9/11. George points out, for example, that in 2010 Nigerian security forces discovered 240 tons of rockets, mortar shells and small arms in containers on a ship from Iran. But what she really wanted to discover from writing the book was what was life like for seafarers. She concluded that life on board a ship was often lonely and that there was little socialising among the crew. Even modern ships like Kendal only had dial-up internet twice a day, no Skype and apart from expensive satellite phones, no means of seafarers contacting their families back home. Something else she discovered was that the work practices that have become common in mainland Europe don’t apply at sea. Up until 2012, international standards allowed seafarers to work a 98-hour week. The new Maritime Labour Convention – a seafarers’ bill of rights – reduces the maximum working week to 72 hours. That’s double the maximum recommended by the EU’s Working Time Directive. She points out that one of the results of working such long hours is that seafarers can fall asleep while on watch, leading to serious accidents such as the spilling of environmentally-damaging cargo. Despite the Maritime Labour Con vention and other regulations drawn

up by bodies such as the UN’s International Maritime Organisation, George claims that the sea dissolves paper. “In practice, the ocean is still the world’s wildest place, both because of its fearsome natural danger and because of how easy it is out there to slip out of the boundaries of law and civilisation that seem so firm ashore,” she says. “The International Labour Organization defines seafarers as a special category of worker. The seafarer’s special identity does not change the fact that he – or rarely, she – spends most of his or her working life stuck on a confined metal box where intimidation is easier to get away with than in most workplaces. Exploitation of seafarers is easy when an owner can slip away behind his flag and brass-plate company. Non-payment of wages is common and blatant.” George also wanted to find out who was there for seafarers when they went ashore in a strange land, hundreds or thousands of miles away from their families. Because of containerisation it’s difficult nowadays for seafarers to get ashore for any length of time. This is when she meant Fr Colum Kelly, Apostleship of the Sea port chaplain to Immingham in Lincolnshire, who lives in a flat above the seafarers centre in the docks. Father Colum has dedicated the last eight years of his life to caring for seafarers, whether that’s giving them a lift to local shops, providing SIM cards, or sorting out problems they might have over pay and conditions. “Colum’s combination of dog collar and hard hat puts him in a unique and useful position. He can be minister, but also listener. Often, seafarers tell him things they would not dare tell people they consider to be more official. He is a safe pair of ears,” she says. She comes to see how important it is for chaplains to make small gestures, such as providing batteries. “A battery can mean a lot when you have been for several weeks without one,” she says. Father Colum tells her about the time he went on board a ship with an Indian crew and asked the captain how he could help. The captain told him that what the crew would like

more than anything else would be to walk on green grass, because all the same around them on the ship was steel. So Father Colum took them in the mini-bus to a churchyard near Hull airport, where they took off their shoes and walked for an hour. She said she knew the social role chaplains play – she’s the daughter of a vicar, though he died when she was very young – but had no idea how fundamental they were to seafarers' welfare. “They are clergy and priests, but also social workers, labour representatives, friends. Sometimes their best role is to be a different, friendly face on board. As for religion, I hadn't thought about the nature of the crews and that many now come from countries that are far more religious than the UK has become, so Filipino and Polish Catholics, Orthodox etc. They live daily in a very dangerous environment and I imagine that religion is a solace for them. I really do salute port chaplains and the hundreds of volunteers.” She says she believes in reporting her stories properly because she thinks the most powerful stories are human ones. “Any issue can be humanised simply by going and meeting people who are caught up in it. I don't like unfairness or cruelty. I don't like injustice hiding behind conversational taboo or prudishness. I don't like things that are fundamental being dismissed because they are not immediately visible or because they are not deemed to be acceptable public conversation. “This applies to the appalling yet ridiculous truth that children in 2013 are dying from something as easily preventable as diarrhoea, or that women get raped when they go outside to go to the toilet in the open. Both those things are preventable but they have to be talked about. I find shame such a lame excuse. Transparency can cure so much.” So where did her desire to write about social justice or fairness come from? “When I was seven or so, a family friend in Germany took us to Dachau. That made an impression but I don't know whether it was a formative one. But I’ve always been drawn to writing about things that I think need more JUSTICEMAGAZINE19


Feature Seafarers

PHOTO:ApostleshipoftheSea

Fr Colum on board ship

‘‘

I took away the impression of a man of great kindness, and an indefatigable work ethic. The best kind of priest or chaplain

attention, because I think attention can sometimes be a powerful healer or transformer of injustice. “With seafarers, I get passionate about the impunity that some ship owners and flag states seem to think 20 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

they have. It's almost feudalist without any benevolence. I get passionate about hostages who are left imprisoned by pirates for years because the shipping industry couldn’t manage to come together - until 2011 - to organise enough to fight for their cause. It would have been easy for any ship owner or lobby group or federation to publicise the life of a hostage, but I never saw that in the mainstream press.” She describes Father Colum as one of her heroes. “I took away the impression of a man of great kindness, and of an indefatigable work ethic. The best kind of priest or chaplain. Colum is dreading being moved back inland. He won’t go. He stays for the times that he walks through

what he thinks is an empty centre and hears a strange noise, and finds at an internet terminal a young Ukrainian seafarer singing to his baby for the first time. He stays because the one constant is that his parish will always be different from one day to the next. “He stays because the newly ratified Maritime Labour Convention might fill those gaps between paper and practice and make decency required and indecency impossible. “But if not, Colum will be there with his hard hat, welcoming strangers who come to a strange land that they feed, clothe and equip.”

Greg Watts is a freelance journalist


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Feature United Kingdom

Where does the Church stand on the austerity agenda, asks Paul Donovan

Politics, poverty and the Church In this time of Government-induced austerity, the Catholic Church is doing some excellent work on the ground. It supports the foodbanks network – which some 350,000 people now frequent – helps destitute asylum seekers and the homeless. And then there is the work of the SVP in helping the poor. Much of this work is being done in the name of charity, which is fine – it is an important part of the faith commitment. However, the question that always arises is what about the justice? As Pope John XXIII said, charity cannot replace justice. Charity is always easier to do than justice. Up and down the country, churches collect goods for foodbanks, but how often do those putting their cans in the bin ask why, in the fifth biggest economy in the world, are 350,000 people a year going to foodbanks. Why, in a country that has 88 billionaires, are we in this situation? It was the questioning of where is the justice in all of this that came to mind at a CSAN conference earlier this year titled “the Catholic response 22 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

to the poverty crisis.” Again, worthy contributions, but much of the conference was about what the Church was doing on the ground to deal with poverty. Yes, important, but should the Church not be questioning the whole austerity agenda, and whether or not we should be colluding in it at all? Let’s accept that because of the banking crisis of 2007/8 something had to be done. Funds had to be raised from somewhere to service the

debt. The big question was where. The problem for many is that it appears that the government’s answer is that the poor and most vulnerable in our society - who were not responsible for the crisis - are the ones being made to pay. So the Coalition Government used the crisis as an excuse to further extend the neo-liberal project that has been going on for the past 30 plus years, an excuse to privatise the public services and cut workers’ rights.


PHOTO:www.catholicchurch.org.uk

There have been the cuts to welfare for the poorest, but no cuts to welfare for the richest – e.g. tax credits continue to provide a subsidy to big companies who refuse to pay living wages. Then there are the greedy landlords who push up rents and trouser most of the housing benefit needed to meet the bills If we accept that there was a debt that needed to be paid, there are other places and people who could have taken a bigger share.

There are 88 billionaires in UK, up from 53 in 2009. The top 1,000 richest people in UK now have £450 billion of wealth. The top 1,000 have increased their wealth by £150 billion plus in the past three years. How much tax do they pay? HMRC estimates that in 2010/11 it was deprived of £9.6 billion in VAT, with £3.3 billion in excise duties, and £14.4 billion in income tax revenues, national insurance contributions and capital gains tax. The HMRC say that

the tax gap for the whole economy amounted to £32 billion in 2010/11 or a third of the deficit of £120 billion for 2012/13. What of the companies like Starbucks who paid £8.6m in corporation tax over 14 years of trading in Britain, and none for the past three years, despite sales of £1.2bn in the UK? Amazon reported turnover of £207m in 2011 for its UK operation, on which it paid tax of £1.8m And Google recorded revenues of £396m in 2011 in the UK and paid corporation tax of only £6m. However it is estimated that Google actually had £2.75bn of revenue from its operations in the UK with an estimated pre-tax profit of £836m. Other areas that could prove fruitful for those looking to save money are overseas military adventures like that undertaken in Afghanistan. Some £37 billion has been spent on war in Afghanistan. It is proposed to spend billions more in renewing the Trident nuclear weapons system. So there are other areas where funds can be obtained to pay the deficit. The decision to cut as this Government has done was quite deliberate – it amounted to making a preferential option for the rich. I would question the way that our Church has accepted the Government’s approach, it should have questioned it on faith and moral grounds. We need to return to Catholic Social Teaching. Take a look at concepts like the Common Good. I’d argue that the Church hierarchy

‘‘

The problem for many is that it appears that the Government’s answer is that the poor and most vulnerable in our society - who were not responsible for the crisis - are the ones being made to pay

JUSTICEMAGAZINE23


Feature United Kingdom

24 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

PHOTO:www.catholicchurch.org.uk

are looking at the common good more from the viewpoint of the boardroom and the owners of capital than the mass of humanity. From our position as Christians, the Common Good should look at what economic decisions mean for the dignity of the human person. This would include the welfare of a person’s family, the effects on the environment and the community as a whole, not just the bottom line and how much profit has been accrued in a financial year. What is our Church’s position on privatisation? The exploitative nature of the employment relationship where workers are not represented by a trade union, should be a cause of constant concern to our Church, as should the polarisation of wealth towards the few. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that between 1977 and 2008, the wage share fell from 59 per cent of national income to 53 per cent, while the share of profits rose from 25 per cent to 29 per cent. Trade unions rarely get mentioned in the Church discourse. There is also the growing incidences of in work poverty, coming about as a result of forcing people into low paid work. A recent study by the Joseph Rowntree Trust found that 6.1 million people living in poverty came from households where at least one person was working. So we need to go back to CST to see what it says in terms of poverty and the austerity agenda. What is needed is a multi-faceted approach. The need must be met, but charity and justice need to come together. Support the foodbank yes, but don’t forget to ask the question why are they needed in the fifth largest economy in the world? We need a proper critique of justice in the workplace, issues like privatisation, taxation and poverty. Working for the Common Good is not the same as working for the maximum profit of a company or enterprise. The need to work for justice brings us onto the state of the J&P network. At present, it is under attack. There is a loss of J&P workers, funding shortages and a lack of people coming through into networks coupled with an ageing movement. There is a need for NJPN to look at itself. There is a need for a change of structures. For-

Church groups grapple with economic questions at the CSAN conference

‘‘

The exploitative nature of the employment relationship where workers are not represented by a trade union should be a cause of constant concern to our Church

mation needs prioritising. Change has to be from the bottom up, strengthen the networks and make the hierarchy change. At grassroots level, more needs to done to bring people into J&P. There needs to be linkage with the unions

and progressive parties, like Labour and the Greens. Other campaigning organisations like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Amnesty International, CAFOD and Oxfam can provide good partnerships in broadening the appeal. The linkage with community organising groups like Citizens UK and London Citizens needs developing. This new agenda would see the Church rediscover its prophetic voice on poverty in this country. A Church speaking for the Common Good on issues effecting everybody’s daily lives – a Church, dare I say it, relevant to the papacy of Pope Francis.

Paul Donovan is a freelance journalist


Comment Economics

Tony Magliano reflects on Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelli Gaudium

Not for profit PHOTO:Mazur/www.catholicchurch.org.uk

“Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills,” wrote Pope Francis in his new apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). Here the Holy Father teaches that living and sharing the joy of the Gospel necessarily demands that Christians have a deep and active concern for the plight of the poor who suffer so many injustices from an economy that puts profit above people. The Pope writes: “Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalised; without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape. “Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded.” This is especially true in the corporate world, where often benefits are cut, wages remain stagnant, workforces are slashed – putting more work on less people – and unions are suppressed. Not satisfied with these unjust cost cutting measures – which produce profits for upper management executives and stockholders – corporate greed sinks even lower by often taking advantage of production facilities in poor nations where desperately impoverished people are ruthlessly exploited in corporate sponsored sweatshops. “In this context,” says Pope Fran-

cis, “some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power” and in the workings of the prevailing economic system. “Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. “To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalisation of indifference has developed. “Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own.” During the Christmas season – and way before it really begins – when companies entice us with their latest products, this statement from

the Pope has particular meaning: “The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.” Highly critical of the enormous gap between the haves and the havenots, the Pope writes, “this imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control.” These powerful words from the Holy Father are surely meant to challenge us to undo the many injustices built into our economy, and build an economic system that works for everyone, everywhere.

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist.

JUSTICEMAGAZINE25


Feature United Kingdom

Stefanie Grant of the Jesuit Refugee Service details life for those held in Colnbrook Detention Centre

‘Suspended like a piece of string’ When I met Mohamed [not his real name] in Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre, he told me of his fear of returning to Afghanistan. He came to the UK when he was 16, without papers. He said his father and sister had been killed by the Taliban; he had been injured, and a shrapnel wound to his head meant he still he had difficulty with his memory. Although his surviving family were in the UK, the Home Office had decided he must leave. He told us he would kill himself if he was sent back. Six days later, he was put on a plane to Kabul. William [not his real name] came to the UK from West Africa with his mother when he was nine. It was the height of a brutal civil war, and he still has flashback memories of soldiers beheading a rebel in his school. He was 30, and had lived in the UK for 20 years; he had served time in prison and was fighting deportation. He now has a family, and showed letters and pictures from his children. Speaking of the effect of his situation on them, he said: “I am holding everyone back; the family can’t plan or move forward. I am stuck in limbo, suspended like a piece of string.” Mohamed and William are two of around 3,000 people who at any one time are held in the UK’s 13 immigration detention centres. Colnbrook holds more than 300 detainees. It is 20 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

a high security establishment, built to meet the criteria for a category B prison on the edge of Heathrow Airport: between arriving at reception, and reaching the multi faith room where we meet detainees, we have to go through 12 locked doors, some opened with keys and some by remote control. Despite the fortresslike building, detainees are not here because they have committed criminal offences, but to prevent them escaping while the Home Office decides if they have another reason to be granted leave to remain in the UK, or should be sent back to their home countries. Most of the detainees who ask Jesuit Refugee Service for help are men in their 20s or 30s. A few are younger, including some who came to the UK as minors, and at their eighteenth birthday are told they must leave. Detainees come from more than 50 countries, a quarter of

‘‘

I am holding everyone back; the family can’t plan or move forward

the UN’s membership, including Sri Lanka, Sudan, India, Pakistan, Iran, Nigeria, Cameroon; the cultural mixture is deliciously evident when we walk past the kitchens. Each has a different history, but all have tried and failed to persuade the Home Office, and the courts, that they should be protected as refugees or allowed to stay as immigrants. The largest category – more than half of 27,000 who were detained in the UK in 2011 – sought asylum at some stage. Although the stakes are so high, and the consequences of failure so great, some made their applications without legal advice. Those who are ‘fast tracked’ by the


PHOTO:JRS

Colnbrook Detention Centre

Home Office are detained while their cases are decided in an accelerated procedure with application, interview, and appeal so tightly scheduled that there is often no time to obtain evidence – including of torture – or for proper legal preparation. We see the emotional and psychological effect of detention. Unlike some other European countries, UK law sets no limit to the length of time a person can be held in immigration detention. One man told me it was better in prison because prisoners at least know when their sentences will end. But in Colnbrook most have no idea when they will leave detention. One vulnerable group are those who

cannot be deported because their home countries refuse to issue passports. They should not be kept in detention, but some are held for years. In February, inspectors found one person who had been in Colnbrook for more than four years. For many, the prospect of return to their ‘home’ countries is terrifying. They fear for their safety or worry about how they can survive. We ask each detainee about his health, and most describe depression, stress and insomnia - a natural response to detention and the uncertainties of the future. Isolation, fear and frustration lie behind hunger strikes, suicide attempts, and self harm.

Although some have visits from family and friends, others have noone. So the work of JRS to befriend and accompany individual detainees is of enormous value; visitors can help detainees think creatively about their situation, remember they are more than just another statistic in the arithmetic of irregular migration, solve practical problems, attend bail hearings, and bring the outside world into the closed space of prison. When we meet a torture victim, or other vulnerable person, we ask for their release. Over the 18 months I have visited Colnbrook there have been cuts to legal aid, and fewer detainees now JUSTICEMAGAZINE27


Feature United Kingdom

Stefanie Grant is a volunteer with Jesuit Refugee Service UK’s Detention Outreach Programme 28 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

PHOTO:JesuitRefugeeService

have legal advisers. Although there are still legal aid ‘surgeries’ where asylum seekers can consult solicitors, legal aid rates do not cover all the work a solicitor should do. Often detainees tell us that they have never met their advisers: time travelling to Colnbrook is not properly paid, so detainees with complex legal cases may not be able to discuss them before they get to the court. The fact that few detainees understand their legal situation adds to their frustration: creative solutions to this such as Skype conversations, which could help to establish trust between solicitor and client, are not possible due to very limited internet access. Once an asylum application is rejected, whether rightly or wrongly, and the appeal has been refused, legal aid does not usually pay lawyers to advise further. So detainees do what they can, applying for judicial review and sending their cases to the European Court of Human Rights, hoping – in vain – for a miracle. The recent removal of legal aid for immigration cases means there will be more asylum applications by people who are not refugees, and refugees will face an even stronger Home Office ‘culture of disbelief ’. Reduced legal aid funding also means that fewer solicitors are willing to make bail applications, even though the chances of release rise sharply where detainees are represented. Detainees would willingly accept electronic tagging as a condition of release, and this is a much cheaper alternative to detention which costs an average of £37,000 p.a. But most bail applications still fail because the judge believes the detainee would abscond. We know that the majority of detainees will be removed. So one pressing need is to find organisations who can help them when they arrive in their countries – with support, accommodation, basic expenses, help with re-integration after years away and, in the case of refugees, protection against persecution. This is an important challenge for JRS.

About the Jesuit Refugee Service JRS is an international Non-Governmental Organisation working in more than 50 countries. JRS values are grounded in Catholic social teaching and draw on the principles of Ignatian spirituality in discerning how it works. All members share a common set of values and principles concerned with justice, the dignity of the person and a responsibility to carry out the social mission of the Church. From these values, JRS’s mission is to accompany, serve and defend the rights of the refugees and forcibly displaced people. Jesuit Refugee Service UK has a particular concern for asylum seekers who have been detained under the immigration rules or who are left destitute in the UK. This work is carried out in the spirit of mutual respect, dignity and solidarity with refugees and forced migrants and in collaboration with other organisations. The Detention Programme offers different services to refugees and forced migrants detained in Har-

mondsworth and Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) near to London Heathrow airport. JRS is uniquely placed within the IRCs to see how the whole system works and have a complete overview of the process of detention thanks to the close contact with detainees, IRCs’ staff and other non-governmental organisations. This results in the possibility of a flexible response addressing specific needs. All JRS services are needs led. Detainee clients receive a general assessment and the following services are offered based on the outcomes of such assessments: visiting programme, letter writing, monthly mobile top-ups, solicitor liaison service, complementary therapies in detention and holding centre for women, pastoral support, specialist referrals, signposting, international research projects, and contributing to the monitoring of UK detention and advocacy. For more information about JRS’s work in Detention Centres, visit www.jrsuk.net


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JUSTICEMAGAZINE29


Feature United Kingdom

PHOTO:VictoriaJohnson

Clinicians are engaging more in the community with groups that have problems, such as the homeless

Out into the community Keith Fernett assesses whether the voluntary sector in the UK can assist the NHS and improve the lot of the disadvantaged in society? In my last article for Justice Magazine I questioned how we deal with those in need in society, majoring on performance, value for money and partnership working. I would like now to deal with this issue further, in respect of both the debate about the NHS and how we 30 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

can obtain better and more responsive services for those in society, and also in essentially seeking justice for those people living in the most deprived areas. The new way of thinking in the NHS focuses on putting clinicians at the heart of resource allocation deci-

sions in the Clinical Commissioning Groups. As a result of this, I am seeing a very interesting development emerge – one that I believe could substantially benefit the groups that Anchor House deals with on a regular basis: the homeless, the workless, those suffering from domestic vio-


lence, offenders and those who have a substance misuse problems. This shift in thinking sees the clinicians actually getting out into the community and meeting and listening to people in these seriously disadvantaged groups. From my experience, the dialogue is starting to be very interesting: people are realising that a hospital admission through A&E is very expensive, and that calls on a doctors time, though less costly than an A&E admission, are still not cheap, and consequently, if there was a service that was community and preventative based, it could be very cost effective. The power of positive psychology in a community setting, with an empowered community, has the potential to achieve great results because it is quicker, it is empowering, it can be consistent and will often have the possibility of follow through happening in a seamless manner. In Canning Town, located in the heart of London’s East End, my organisation Anchor House has joined with two other community based organisations, NUSHO and Your Space, to start working on the development of community pathways. This is based around encouraging volunteering by using a Time Bank (a system whereby for every hour spent volunteering, participants earn a credit, which can then be used as social currency to access other sources of help and support) and the development of ‘Curiosity Groups’ in the community. These groups will be able to consider challenging the status quo, not because they are against the status quo, but because they are for the individual and the community. Anchor House, NUSHO and Your Space have all come together because we have a unified objective, we have all worked in the ‘system’ and we have all realised that a paradigm shift is required. The shift is about equity and justice, principles that must be in place to ensure the most disadvantaged in society can gain quicker access to assistance, and the concept of the ‘Social Prescription’ delivered by community partners may be a way forward. In looking forward, what we are doing is building upon a body of evi-

‘‘

These groups will be able to consider challenging the status quo, not because they are against the status quo, but because they are for the individual and the community. Anchor House, NUSHO and Your Space have all come together because we have a unified objective, we have all worked in the ‘system’ and we have all realised that a paradigm shift is required

dence which has been around for a while. The Marmot Report - Fair Society, Healthy Lives is a good example - a strategic review of Health inequalities in England post 2010. The key is that there is a consensus emerging that health is often determined by wider social and economic factors, which increases the likelihood of behaviours and life experiences which can damage health. Ultimately, health outcomes cannot be improved in the long term without improving the root causes. However, the question remains as to what is to be done about this consensus that is emerging? It is always easy to be critical without constructive solutions on offer. At the focus groups we have had between the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), our three organisations and our service users, we put a challenge to the CCG: could they move 10 per cent of the budgets to community prescription by 2012 this would represent a movement of

£36m. These figures are huge, as the challenges are, but the potential gains could be enormous. Clearly this will have to be thought through and evolutionary in implementation, but it is possible. Our three community based organisations - Anchor House, NUSHO and Your Space - are now moving to the next phase of our thinking as we start to consider the evolution of spending patterns to the community and how we can ensure value for money. At Anchor House, our initial work with the homeless, working in a holistic manner, indicated that we achieved a 398 per cent Social Return on Investment (SROI) and this gave us heart to continue on our path towards community pathways. Now, all the anecdotal evidence is starting to push towards greater equity, greater justice in respect of accessibility to services and a greater involvement with peer groups, neighbours and communities. Our bottom up approach is essentially the antithesis to how the NHS is currently run, but we feel that the seeds of change have been sown. In respect of our communities, we see preparedness, indeed a great desire, to get involved in the concept of the ‘Social Prescription’. Our homeless residents currently assist a church run meal centre for those who are sleeping rough on the streets, and we recently interviewed some of the rough sleepers to do an initial referral for permanent accommodation in a hostel. This caused a stir, as some were rehoused, but in terms of a holistic way of working at a community level, it also proved our point. A number of the rough sleepers attending the meal centre enrolled with the nurse to see how they could get off drugs and alcohol, because for the first time in a long time they saw away forward, a flicker of a flame that could turn into a fire to turn their lives around. One thing is for certain - although the challenge for the NHS is going to be great, the benefits for society could be even greater.

Keith Fernett is director of Anchor House in London JUSTICEMAGAZINE31


Feature Central African Republic

The Central African Republic faces a spiralling humanitarian crisis after a military coup in March 2013 forced President Francois Bozize to flee. Self-appointed President Michel Djotodia, head of the Seleka rebel movement, seized power. The Seleka rebels terrorise communities with their looting, stealing, rape, torture and summary executions. The violence and insecurity have hampered the delivery of humanitarian aid. As a result, the Church is one of the few organisations able to respond, sheltering communities made homeless by the violence, delivering humanitarian aid and addressing religious tensions. Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalaing recently spoke to CAFOD about the crisis that is gripping his country.

An explosive situation We are in a very delicate situation, and the tension is explosive. There is a real threat of sectarian conflict in the Central African Republic. On a recent trip to the province of Bosangoa, village after village was empty. People told us that they were afraid of the Seleka rebels, and that they preferred to stay in the forest, living in inhumane conditions, because of the brutal terror that Seleka rebels have committed against peaceful villagers. As we journeyed along the road, everywhere had an eerie calm. Then we saw a group of young people holding traditional weapons. I asked them what they were doing with these weapons and they told me: “We’re here to protect the village. We’re a self-defence group, because Seleka come to pillage, rob, kill and rape.” When we arrived in one village, everything had been burnt: the Catholic church, the Protestant church, the mosque. Everything had been reduced to ashes. Today, 65,000 people have fled the country as refugees. They’re afraid to return to their homes, because there’s 32 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

no security. It is heartbreaking to see people trapped, too afraid to go home or about their daily business. Seleka is made up of 90 per cent Muslims and 10 per cent Christians. When they arrive in a town they head for the Muslim communities because the Seleka chiefs only speak Arabic not French or Songo, which are the two national languages - so they are better able to communicate with the Muslim population. When they steal from villagers they force members of the Muslim community to store their loot, so people get it into their heads that there’s complicity between the Muslims and Seleka. In fact, it’s a more complicated business than that. The Imam of Bombari, the President of the Protestant community and I decided to form what we call a platform for peace. We visited many villages, and our message is clear: Muslims and Christians must live together. As Catholic leaders we’re not here to defend Christians. We defend everyone: human beings are sacred. It’s out of the question to shatter our history of coexistence. The Africa-led peacekeeping force,

MISCA, was charged with disarmament and weapons collection, but MISCA patrolled with Seleka. If Seleka started abusing people, MISCA would withdraw, leaving the civilian population at the mercy of Seleka, who would then enter their neighbourhoods and loot, steal, rape, torture and commit summary executions. With the support of aid charities like CAFOD, we want to draw wider global attention to our plight, to get the international community to mobilise and demand a return to peace and security in CAR. That is why I came to Europe to give evidence at the United Nations Human Rights Council. The first thing we need is to disarm the rebels. Next we must work with communities on peace and reconciliation, letting them know that it is possible to once again live together in peace. Let’s not forget that CAR is surrounded by other countries, with an estimated 100 million inhabitants. If CAR becomes the sanctuary for terrorists, for narcotics traffickers, jihadists, and bandits, the other coun-


PHOTO:CaritasInternationalis

People in the Central African Republic are suffering, according to the head of Caritas CAR

tries will be affected, and we’ll see contagion. To avoid this contagion, we need to act now. CAR is part of the international community. You can’t leave citizens to be murdered, tortured and maltreated, and stand by watching indifferently. It’s thanks to my faith that I’m able to go to places where others can’t go. I let people who are suffering know that they are not forgotten, that their voice can carry and that humanity can hear to them. We hope that the elections will take place, but the country's civil service has been destroyed. Civil records longer exist, so we have to reconsti-

tute the civil records, carry out another referendum and conduct a census. We hope that this can happen before 2015 so that we can be assured of credible, reliable and uncontested elections and start our path towards democracy. In every meeting I attend I see the suffering of people. For me it’s Christ who is there: “I was sick and you came to see me; I was in prison and you came to visit me; I was naked and you clothed me.” This is part of Matthew Chapter 25. It’s not a theory, it’s a reality for me. Catholics in the UK can play their part by raising awareness and sharing

with their communities what is happening in CAR, letting them know that there is a crisis unfolding in this part of the world, and that this crisis concerns us all. We’re all part of a big village, so if our neighbours are affected we’re also affected. We have to act now.

Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalaing of Bangui is President of Caritas Central African Republic JUSTICEMAGAZINE33


Comment Drones

Tony Magliano on the continued use of deadly drones by the United States

Judge, jury, executioner

34 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

PHOTO:cmmcain202dc

The following should disturb us. On a sunny afternoon in October 2012, 68-year-old Mamana Bibi, while gathering vegetables in the family fields in northwest Pakistan, was blown into pieces by at least two Hellfire missiles fired from a US drone aircraft. Bibi’s granddaughter, eight-yearold Nabeela, ventured to where her grandmother had been picking vegetables earlier in the day. “I saw her shoes. We found her mutilated body a short time afterwards. It had been thrown quite a long distance away by the blast and it was in pieces. We collected as many different parts from the field and wrapped them in a cloth.” This horrific event is highlighted in a new report from Amnesty International titled “Will I be next?” – taken from the worried words of Nabeela. Drones – pilotless aircraft used by the US Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) for surveillance and targeted killings – have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of totally innocent people like Mamana Bibi. The report states that according to various nongovernmental organizations and Pakistan government sources the US launched over 329 drone attacks in Pakistan between 2004 and September 2013, killing between 400 and 900 civilians and seriously injuring more than 600 people. According to the report, 18 laborers – at least one boy among them – were killed from a series of drone strikes in the remote Pakistani village of Zowi Sidgi. Missiles first struck a tent in which some men had gathered for an evening meal after a hard day’s work, and then struck those who came to help.

Drone strikes are not making friends for the US

Witnesses described a horrific scene of body parts, blood, panic and terror, as US drones continued to hover overhead. “Secrecy surrounding the drones program gives the US administration a license to kill beyond the reach of the courts or basic standards of international law. It’s time for the USA. to come clean about the drones program and hold those responsible for these violations to account,” said Mustafa Qadri, Amnesty International’s Pakistan Researcher. In another report titled ‘Between a Drone and Al-Qaeda’: The Civilian Cost of US Targeted Killings in Yemen” – released at the same October 22, 2013 news conference as Amnesty International’s report – Human Rights Watch examines six US targeted killings in Yemen. According to the report, two attacks killed civilians indiscriminately in clear violation of the laws of war, while the other attacks may have caused disproportionate civilian deaths.

Letta Tayler, senior terrorism and counterterrorism researcher at Human Rights Watch and the author of the report, said: “Yemenis told us that these strikes make them fear the US as much as they fear AlQaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.” The Catholic “just-war” theory’s principles of proportionality and discrimination – arguably never able to be met within the context of modern warfare – are clearly not being met here. The killing of innocent civilians and the resulting fear from targeted drone attacks are considered by many as acts of US terrorism, inspiring many to vow vengeance, thus perpetuating endless conflict and terrorism from all sides. The Gospel way of acting justly and living nonviolent unconditional love is the only weapon that can defeat terrorism, and ultimately triumph over evil. Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist.


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JUSTICEMAGAZINE35


Feature Zimbabwe

Progressio’s chief executive Mark Lister reflects on how support from individuals, church groups and trusts, is enabling a group of hearing and visually impaired people on the margins of Zimbabwean society to equip themselves with skills and knowledge to improve their own lives and those of their children.

Standing strong with Zimbabwe’s forgotten people Amos Mundodzi, 38, is a cheerful man with many a joke to share. He has a visual impairment, but that doesn’t stop him skilfully negotiating puddles, potholes and rough ground as he guides me around Epworth where he lives in Zimbabwe, chatting as we go. “Kushinga means ‘we are strong’ and it’s the name of our group. We help each other.” Amos explains. We arrive at our destination through a maze of crops, small houses and mango trees and are greeted by 14 members of Kushinga, who insist we take a seat on a bench while they lay out some sacking and sit on the damp ground. Also with us is Bothwell, a Zimbabwean Progressio development worker and expert in communications and advocacy who is passionate about working with disabled people – he is himself blind and therefore acutely aware of the struggles Kushinga group members are faced with. Bothwell works with Zimbabwean NGOs THAMASO (The HIV and AIDS Management and Support Organisation) and DHAT (Disability HIV and AIDS Trust) sharing his skills, expert36 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

ise and strategies to help disabled people empower themselves. “Thank you for coming back to us,” says Pindurai, a young woman. “There are some who come but they never come back – but you came back. You have given us knowledge about HIV and AIDS which can help us to prevent it. We look forward to more HIV material in Braille and other assistance.” As Amos and his friends describe how and why their group was started I am struck by what people living with disabilities are faced with in Zimbabwe. “We started to support our bereaved together,” explains the group’s Chairman. “As we are visually impaired most of our families and relatives do not care about us even when bereaved. Some visually impaired people were buried with no coffin or even without being wrapped in cloth. In our burial society we contribute money and share resources so the members can have a proper funeral.” Many of the people in the Kushinga group, including Amos, lost their sight due to polio, a disease that has only recently been brought into

decline thanks to global vaccination campaigns. In 1988, there were 350,000 cases of polio worldwide, last year there were 223. Sadly, however, this good news won’t change things for Amos and others who live


PHOTO:Progressio

Amos Mundodzi, 38, and Tichaona Gumbo, 36, on their way to a Kushinga support group meeting in Epworth, Zimbabwe

with the visual impairments resulting from the disease. Nevertheless, the most current and pressing health concern for the group today is HIV. One mother explained how at the hospital there is no useful

information about HIV prevention and treatment available in Braille. “They talk to our child,” she explains, “this tablet must be taken three times a day and this one only once a day’, but a 5-year old cannot

remember when we get home and so the anti-retroviral drugs and medicines do not help us.” Tichaona, a young man, adds: “As disabled people, we are looked down upon and people do not come to our JUSTICEMAGAZINE37


Feature Zimbabwe

Edwin Ndolovu, 31, programme co-ordinator for Disability and HIV and AIDS Trust (DHAT)

houses. We urge you to keep on coming to help us to be recognised in society. Even though we cannot see that does not mean we cannot get AIDS. We are very happy to be given knowledge about HIV and incomegeneration so we can help our children.” Livelihoods are very important to everyone in the group. One member has a small enterprise selling ballpoint 38 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

pens; another wants to start a poultry rearing business having learnt the skills in school. Kushinga want to be able to provide for themselves and their children, but discrimination can easily lead to poverty, vulnerability and the absence of opportunities to make these hopes become reality. “I take care of my extended family, and the orphans in my family. I worry about school fees, food, shelter,”

explains Tichaona. “My long term goal is that the children I am taking care of go to school. Society shuns people with disabilities, but THAMASO came along and as a result I know more. THAMASO has demystified HIV and AIDS to me.” The level of discrimination experienced by people with disabilities is upsetting as Edwin, programme coordinator for DHAT explains:


‘‘

I take care of my extended family, and the orphans in my family. I worry about school fees, food, shelter

“There are about 4,000 Zimbabweans who are blind and hearing impaired. They are the forgotten tribe, ignored when it comes to jobs, overlooked by their own families even. I am one example: I was literally left in the corner while younger brothers and sisters were sent to school because I am blind and hearing impaired. I only started school age 11.” Edwin has worked with Progressio communications, advocacy and disability expert Bothwell to learn strategies to help disabled people empower themselves by knowing their rights, and demanding access to services and information in accessible formats such as Braille or talking books. This includes information for people living with HIV on ARV anti-retroviral drugs so people know how many to take and when - crucial for the effectiveness of this treatment. By teaming up with local Progressio partners THAMASO and DHAT, Kushinga’s group members are equipping themselves with knowledge about HIV and AIDS. Despite their apparent vulnerability, they are some of the strongest people I have met - in their resilience and in their uplifting support for one another. When THAMASO's organiser asks for volunteers from Kushinga to be trained in informing others about HIV and AIDS, two men and three women immediately volunteer. “We are ‘gender balanced’,” they laugh. “We will have the knowledge and spread it around. We will be teachers of others.” Both Edwin and Bothwell, as well as Kushinga’s self-appointed volunteers, will continue to support Zimbabwe’s visually and hearing impaired people to articulate their needs and gain access to health information. As I’m bombarded by the excessive commercialism of Christmas in the UK, I’m reminded with an uncomfortable jolt of people living at the other extreme of material wealth. The sugary cup of tea I shared with Tichaona shortly after 1pm when we met in Epworth, Zimbabwe, was the first thing he’d eaten or drank all day. Though materially poor, the Kushinga group have

Progressio development worker Bothwell Makumbe, 50, meets with Kushinga support group in Epworth

much to teach us. Reflecting on their challenges helps us strip away the tinsel and remember how Christmas is an extraordinary celebration. In a way, it’s simply a birthday party for a child born in unusual and difficult circumstances who went to make an incredible impact on humanity. But perhaps the most wonderful things Jesus Christ did were the simple things. Spending time with people who were otherwise rejected by society, he offered the gifts of love, support, compassion and acceptance, things we are all capable of giving. In celebration of that love, this Christmas, we’re inviting people in the UK to make a heartfelt connection with this amazingly strong group of people in Zimbabwe. With a little help from Progressio’s Bothwell and continuing financial support from Progressio’s supporters, I feel confident that Kushinga and other groups like them will overcome discrimination, gain better health, establish better livelihoods, and most importantly achieve acceptance and equality.

Mark Lister is chief executive of Progressio JUSTICEMAGAZINE39


Feature Climate change

CAFOD ambassador and actor David Harewood on why world leaders need to have compassion when assessing problems of climate change

Why we must act to protect the environment I’m currently in New York playing the role of Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s a wild and magical play with the mysteries and chaos of nature at its heart. Oberon quarrels so violently with his wife Titania that the natural order of things is disrupted: there are storms, floods, drought and famine and all of humankind is affected. Only the triumph of love will let the world return to normal, but that is easier said than done. What seemed like a fantasy world in Shakespeare's time is increasingly the daily reality for millions of people. More and more, extreme weather and its effects are being seen in every country around the world: only recently with typhoons in the Philippines, hurricanes in Mexico, flooding in Bangladesh, and wildfires here in the US. Of course, not every extreme weather event can be attributed to our changing climate. It’s a complex and wide-reaching problem. But scientists have said that when these events happen more frequently and with greater force, they form a pattern that points strongly towards climate change. I was thinking about this back in October when members of governments from around the world met at the UN General Assembly here in New York. While they had a lot on their agenda, one of the issues they debated was the environment, examining what can be done at the recent special UN summit on climate change in Warsaw. Of course, they discussed other man-made crises as well: the war in 40 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

‘‘

Already facing extreme poverty, they had been dealt another crushing blow as their whole way of life was destroyed by extreme and unpredictable weather

Syria; the international drug trade; and continuing concern over the global economy. But what all those issues have in common is that it is always - without fail - the poorest who are hit hardest, because they are already so vulnerable. And climate change is no exception, as a new report from CAFOD - What have we done? makes clear. When I visited Maralal in northeast Kenya with CAFOD, I spent time with families and communities devastated by drought in the region. Already facing extreme poverty, they had been dealt another crushing blow as their whole way of life was destroyed by extreme and unpredictable weather. This meant the loss of livelihoods and homes, desperate shortages of food and water, and the risk of conflict over the few remaining resources. When I watched the gathering of the great and the good at the UN on the news, I thought of those families in Maralal who were so warm and welcoming despite the devastation

they faced. They shared their stories and their smiles with me, and insisted on sharing what little food they had, while not knowing what the future held. They told me they were hopeful – not that the weather would suddenly return to normal – but that their sisters and brothers around the world would see their struggles and show compassion. When we see world leaders debating climate change like scientists at an academic symposium, discussing percentages of temperature and carbon, I think they could badly do with a dose of compassion and a sense of the reality of what climate change actually means for the poorest people in regions like Maralal. Of course we as individuals have our own responsibilities and need to show compassion ourselves. We cannot expect national governments around the world to show respect for nature and arrest the gradual exhaustion of natural resources if we're not willing to play our part. There must be meaningful changes in our everyday lives so that we contribute in the right way to the speed of climate change, whether it is reducing our carbon footprint by buying local produce; wasting less food; recycling; or doing what my daughters have done ever since I returned from Maralal - not leaving taps running unnecessarily. But those lifestyle changes will only take us so far. They won't undo the decades of greenhouse gas emissions pumped into the atmosphere. So now is the time to unite as one global family and call for legally binding agreements that will reverse the


PHOTO:CAFOD

David Harewood meets farmers in Kenya

effects of climate change. We need to value and protect nature, so we can provide a safe, fertile environment for everyone on the planet. And there’s no time to waste. As CAFOD’s report shows, and as I saw for myself in Maralal, the lives of millions of people all over the world are being impacted by the changing

climate right now. And most of them have no way of making things better without help from the rich countries that have caused most of the problems in the first place. It is time for us to stand together on climate change and demand that when world leaders meet in Warsaw next month, they learn a lesson from

Shakespeare's play, and show some love and compassion: for our planet; for people living in Maralal or the Philippines or Bangladesh, and above all for the generations yet to come.

David Harewood is a CAFOD ambassador JUSTICEMAGAZINE41


Feature Migration

Liam Allmark gets beyond the newspaper headlines and reports on the reality of migration into the United Kingdom

MYTHS AND MIGRANTS “Foreigners using the NHS cost Britain up to £2 BILLION per year”... “THOUSANDS of Romanian immigrants in Paris are planning to come to Britain because they have heard they ‘can get social benefits’ here” ... “Britain cannot take a new wave of EU immigration.” The headlines splashed across our newspapers and computer screens during recent months have become increasingly and alarmingly hostile towards new arrivals. In some cases things have turned thoroughly unpleasant with one national newspaper devoting its front page to the “Bulgarian career criminal who targeted UK homes” and warning that this “proves why we MUST control the migrant influx” as if a single offender is representative of any foreign citizen who chooses to come here. These kind of inhospitable sentiments have also been aired in Parliament: a recent statement about migration from new EU member states was met with anger from several MPs- one declaring “Britain has taken more than its fair share of 42 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

migrants” whilst another simply admonished “this country is full”. And of course it was not so long ago that the government’s own language was criticized as xenophobic, when vans telling undocumented migrants to “go home” were driven around some of London’s most ethnically diverse Boroughs, prompting #racistvan to trend on social media. It’s all a far cry from Pope Francis’ message marking the World Day of Migrants and Refugees – people who he stressed are not “pawns on the chessboard of humanity” but “children, women and men who leave or are forced to leave their homes”. Directly addressing the kind of suspicion and hostility that we are increasingly witnessing he singled out the duty of the media “to break down stereotypes and to offer correct information in reporting the errors of a few as well as the honesty, rectitude and goodness of the majority.” The Pope went on to draw parallels with the nativity reminding us that “even the Holy Family of Nazareth experienced initial rejection” when fleeing into Egypt for refuge. His strong words have been echoed by

our Bishops here in England and Wales, with Rt Rev Patrick Lynch warning earlier this year that initiatives like the “go home” vans risk sending a harmful message that no one from abroad is welcome in the UK. One of the most worrying things about all the negative rhetoric is how little it actually reflects reality. Even the size of our migrant population is often misrepresented: ominous warnings of the UK “filling up” conveniently overlook all of the states that welcome a much greater number of migrants, as well as the hundreds of thousands who have departed the UK to settle overseas. When it comes to issues around public spending the gap between fact and fiction gets even wider. Take the recent media storm over ‘health tourism’. Many journalists and politicians were quick to call for an urgent crackdown, seizing on suggestions that taxpayers were footing a £300 million bill each year for people who come here purely to take advantage of our free healthcare. However, this was quickly debunked in an independent study by the University of


PHOTO:-Sam-

Found on a bench in Southwark, London JUSTICEMAGAZINE43


Feature Migration

York and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine indicating that the actual cost is less than a quarter of that. Their research also showed that whilst a minority of short-term migrants do benefit from free NHS healthcare more than twice as many pay for it out of their own pockets and more than three times as many British citizens go abroad for treatment, making the UK a ‘net exporter’ of patients. Angry claims about migrants exploiting the benefit system are also tenuous when considered against the official statistics. People arriving from abroad over the last ten years are about half as likely as UK-born citizens to claim state support and are also less likely to live in social housing. Despite the widespread perception of a welfare free-for-all, nothing could not be further from the truth. Even people moving from one European Economic Area (EEA) state to another already face a robust Habitual Residence Test before they can receive any assistance: they must have settled for a reasonable amount of time, be in work or actively jobseeking with a decent chance of succeeding, and have established ties to their new home. On top of this the UK applies extra criteria, making it one of the toughest systems in Europe. It is little wonder that in total migrants from both inside and outside the EEA actually contribute more in taxes than they receive through benefits. Amid the myths and misconceptions, perhaps the most damaging accusation of all is that people coming here from abroad are predisposed to commit crime and harm others. Migrants from newer EU member states such as Romania have faced particular prejudice, with newspapers declaring that “Britain has been hit by a Romanian crime wave” and politicians weighing in with allegations that higher levels of migration from the country will lead to a spike in criminal activity. Shock headlines based on incomplete data disguise the fact that proportionally fewer Romanians are convicted in UK courts compared to the general population. In fact the British Crime survey indicates that on the whole migrants are about half as likely to get in trouble with the law than the 44 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

average UK citizen. Just as people have done for hundreds of years they are coming here to work hard and get on, but are often stigmatised and criminalised before even arriving. An underlying factor to all of this is genuine concerns around jobs, housing and the soaring cost of living being exploited or misdirected, resulting in ever more hostile attitudes. Against this backdrop the government has begun introducing tough provisions to dissuade people from settling in the UK and to limit publicly funded entitlements for those who do. However these run the risk of harming some of the most vulnerable individuals, as the Church and its charities have highlighted in recent months. Proposals to introduce new charges for migrants accessing healthcare could end up penalising the victims of trafficking or female genital mutilation, undermining the government’s very strong strategy for tackling these horrendous crimes. And though people suffering from certain illnesses like HIV/AIDS or Tuberculosis will still receive free care, these conditions are often diagnosed during treatment for a completely separate issue, so there is a danger that hefty charges deterring people from visiting their doctor could prevent early identification. Plans to make landlords check whether migrants wanting to rent houses are entitled to stay in the UK could also cause serious problems. A whole range of charities have already warned the government that many landlords may simply avoid this obligation by only renting to UK citizens, leading to widespread discrimination in the housing sector. The move is also unlikely to tackle unscrupulous landlords who exploit undocumented migrants as they already operate in violation of the law. On top of this there a danger of new policies fuelling old stereotypes. In December the Department for Work and Pensions rolled-out unprecedented requirements for migrants to demonstrate English language skills before accessing state-funded support, stressing the need “to protect the integrity of our benefits system.” It is not hard to see how this kind of gesture could stoke the lingering myths about vast numbers of people

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An underlying factor to all of this is genuine concerns around jobs, housing and the soaring cost of living being exploited or misdirected, resulting in ever more hostile attitudes. Against this backdrop the government has begun introducing tough provisions to dissuade people from settling in the UK and to limit publicly funded entitlements for those who do

coming here, living off taxpayers’ money and refusing learn the local language. Once again though, the truth is quite different: amongst those do not speak English as their first language, more than 80 per cent speak it well or very well and a mere three per cent don’t have any grasp of it at all. Politicians, the media and civil society have a duty to challenge hostile misconceptions about migration, but crude policies or rash generalisations risk having precisely the opposite effect. It is of course reasonable that given rising levels of domestic poverty, aspects of our migration system are the subject of debate. But as Pope Francis warned: “violence, exploitation, discrimination, marginalisation” are also “chief elements of poverty which need to be overcome.” If during difficult economic times our society throws out its rich history of welcoming migrants in the search for a convenient scapegoat, we will simply be trading one form of poverty for another.

Liam Allmark works for CSAN


PHOTO:Mazur/www.catholicchurch.org.uk

The Catholic Church has been a strong supporter of migrant workers, and celebrates a Mass each year at Westminster Cathedral to recognise their contribution to society JUSTICEMAGAZINE45


Feature Haiti

Linda O’Halloran on the work being done to assist people in Haiti by a group of religious sisters

Taking disaster recovery into their own hands Religious communities continue to confront the ugly face of disaster and injustice in Haiti, but even for the best-established, sustainable support is hard to come by. With news of Haiyan dominating the media this past month, memory of disasters past can fade fast. Too often, the international aid mechanism fades too, before ever addressing the root causes of vulnerability to disaster. In Haiti, many organisations are winding down their efforts and pulling out. In an emergency exacerbated by a cholera pandemic that lasted years instead of months, this might be taken as a mark of success. Take a closer look, however, and it’s clear that Haiti is still a disaster zone. In the absence of local resources and foreign money, local organisations and religious communities like the Paris-based Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny are left to pick up the pieces, and make trying decisions between inadequate aid packages that will determine the prospects of the communities they serve. The Cluny Sisters were one of the first Orders to establish a base in Haiti. In 1864, just a few years after slave revolution had culminated in the elimination of slavery and the foundation of the Republic of Haiti, the Sisters sent a delegation there to extend their work in preparing Slaves for freedom, and promoting girls’ education. Three decades earlier, they had secured land in French Guyana and successfully set up a project to teach reading, writing and arithmetic, as well as agriculture, carpentry, and 46 JUSTICEMAGAZINE

distilling. In Haiti, they extended this work, and were soon one of the country’s largest educators of women and teachers. Today the order is 70-strong in Haiti, and predominantly Haitian, with just 5 Sisters there serving from overseas. On January 12 2010, a centuryand-a-half of public service-building came crashing down during one of the most devastating earthquakes in recorded history. By then, Cluny ran one of Haiti’s four teacher-training colleges and educated around 10,000 girls annually. Their losses were great: 10 schools, medical centers, an orphanage and the teacher training college, to name but some. Despite the personal trauma, the Sisters were quick to respond, alerting their community worldwide, and receiving medicines, money and tents their Irish networks before many international aid workers could get near. At that point in 2010 there was hope that the international aid mechanism could facilitate a full recovery and deliver improvements on pre-disaster living standards. There were, after all, billions of dollars promised and hundreds of well-intended organisations there ready to use it. Yet, it soon became clear to the Sisters that the billions promised weren’t coming quickly, and would be near impossible to secure for appropriate permanent reconstruction. Even six months after the disaster, the only discussion that could be had with many aid agencies was about ‘how many hangers you need?’ or ‘I’ve got this one-storey shelter or nothing’. In a country lacking tens of thou-

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It soon became clear to the Sisters that the billions promised weren’t coming quickly, and would be near impossible to secure for appropriate permanent reconstruction


PHOTO:ThinkingDevelopment

Sisters working on reconstruction plan with Thinking Development designers and teachers

sands of school places, and in a city with land scarcity and densely populated slums, high-density schools remain the only hope of educating the enormous young population. Despite this, communities like the Cluny Sisters have been forced to choose between no help, or inappropriate help that could lock their communities into poor, low-density services in the long run. Without anywhere else to turn, they called on their past pupil networks to help encounter solutions. And all the way over in London, a new kind of Cluny mission was formed. Past pupils gathered specialist engineers, architects and development planners to develop a holistic masterplan for

the Sisters’ biggest downtown girls’ school complex, Centre Rosalie Javouhey. They founded ‘Thinking Development’, a 100 per cent volunteer-run charity that sought to resist the prevalent quick-fix approach to disaster response. The organisation has worked for nearly four years now with the Sisters, teachers, and students of Centre Rosalie. Their goal has been to develop not only a sustainable school design for the local community, but to provide a model design for urban Haitian school reconstruction. The product is rare in Haiti; it’s high-density, designed after long consultations and design workshops with children, teachers and Sisters, and it’s

eco-friendly and disaster-resilient. The Sisters and their past pupils are now crowdfunding for the startup funding required to kick-start construction. You can see their campaign video at bit.ly/TDGirls, and follow their campaign on social media using the hashtag #ThinkingGirls.

Linda O’Halloran is the founding director of Thinking Development and a past pupil of the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny, Mount Sackville, Ireland

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Feature Health

Michael Murdoch on how the Church could be doing more to help people sufffering from mental illness, and how the patron saint for sufferers does not hold much validity

Mental health: The dismal legacy of St Dymphna

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PHOTO:abcdlish

I believe firmly in the viability of the Roman Catholic Church, as its impact on my own life has been immeasurable. However, there is one particular area that is in desperate need of ecumenical activism - its treatment of mental illness. The Roman Catholic Church has a long and complicated history of ignoring mental illness among its flock. It has a short and brief history of even acknowledging solutions other than prayer for maladies other than physical and previously regarded these as evidence of some deficits or a failure to pray hard enough or a weakness of the mind or spirit. I never realised this until I was recently diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and severe clinical depression and chatting with a Jewish friend of mine. For Jewish persons, on the other hand, psychology borders on a sacrament. Neurosis itself has almost been immortalised in cinema by such Hebrew cultural icons such as Woody Allen and Jerry Seinfeld. Many great Jewish intellectuals and eminent psychologists, including most of the founders of modern psychology, such as Freud, are of Jewish descent. Perhaps that’s part of the problem? Psychology is seen as too alien to Christianity? A competing force? Is this a prejudice hidden in a moral stance? Or merely a religious bulwark against a competing subjectivist morality? There is a certainly a point to be made against some of the beliefs of modern psychology after Maslow. Such a psychology views the human being in a way that may seem egocentric and radically individualistic

Depression and anxiety cause major problems for thousands of people

rather than as an element in the Mystical Body of Christ connected to every other living breathing human being. The Christian stance is concerned with virtue and not solely maximizing one’s own desires and whims. Yet, there is a distinction to be made here between psychodynamics and psychoanalysis (and I am in fact, in no way denigrating talk therapies, I think they are valuable despite disagreeing with some of their principles) and psychiatric medicine

and psychology supported by evidence based practice. Mental illnesses are biological, not psychosocial. I don’t take Klonopin to resolve mother issues. If people could “snap out of it” they wouldn’t be taking antidepressants. You wouldn’t tell someone who just got stabbed to “snap out of it” or “walk it off”, why would you tell someone with diagnosed severe clinical depression? Yet we do this every day as Catholics. I admit, and am deeply ashamed, before I was diagnosed


after the death of my brother and my father’s terminal diagnosis, that I had done this. I did not comprehend that these are biological conditions. I had always thought they were lazy ad should just grit their teeth, pray, and try harder. I realised one day that, the bad day that had lasted the previous 10 years of my life was because of the cloud of mental illness hovering over me, not bad luck, or anything else. With sufficient medication, I became to change back into the exuberant person I once was. Why this took 10 years was largely a result of the profound sense of shame I felt at having mental illness and the social stigma attached, especially in the Irish Catholic community (which probably contributes to the huge rates of the more socially acceptable alcoholism among the Irish-American Catholic community, which can often be selfmedicating in nature). I have found that this is not an uncommon experience. I don’t think many persons, especially ethnic Irish and Italian Roman Catholics, sufficiently understand the biological origins of mental illness . We need to get that out there as a community. My mother finally did when I told her - you wouldn’t be tough if you didn’t treat a gunshot wound, you would be ridiculous. Mental illness is no different. These gaping wounds cannot be healed solely through prayer, they need assistance from medical and mental healthcare providers. I believe firmly in Jesus Christ, attend Mass, receive the Eucharist, and pray the rosary daily, but I am not a naive idealist. I wouldn’t rely solely on prayer if I had cancer, I’d see a doctor, and I do not expect it to resolve mental illness. The Catholic Church, while not so severe as many fundamentalist denominations which outright deny the existence of mental illness, as evidenced by one recent group of parents from Florida who made their daughter who lost their uncle to a violent horrible death hold up a “self-entitled” sign - it has been lackluster in its response, esp. in the generation previous to this one. I was recently chatting with two friends of mine, and we found out our mothers, both devout Catholics had said much the same thing when we’d

first sought counselling many years ago. Mine had said, “therapy is for people who have no friends.” and “most people are faking it for attention.” My friend’s said “therapy was for weak persons and he just needs more prayer and better living habits.” My friend also discussed his wife, who experienced similar tensions upon discovery that she had bipolar disorder. Getting the appropriate medication measurably improved the quality of her life. Presumably, my friend should have taken his mother’s advice and prayed. But to which saint for intercession? The Catholic Encyclopedia lists St Dymphna, a saint most Catholics would be unable to name, as the designated saint for “nervous disorders”, a term that isn’t currently even in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, again showing how out of touch much of the Church is with modern psychological practice. Why is that? Why is there a patron saint for something millions of Catholics suffer from that no one has even heard about? Who was Dymphna? And why is she so unknown? In many ways her story is the story of all Catholicism and mental illness. Poorly known, confused, and misunderstood. Many people don’t even know there is a patron saint of nervous disorders. St Dymphna. Dymphna is one of those saints that isn’t so important as to have a specific cause, she’s a swiss utility knife sort of saint. The story is thus: Dymphna’s mother had passed and her father, the king, had made sexual advances towards her which she rebuked. She ran away. The mad king sent his men after her and she was adamant until her death to never consummate an unholy union such as this and was beheaded. The story overlaps in many ways with several other pre-Christian Irish folktales. Like many early medieval saints, much of the information about St Dymphna is apocryphal, ambiguous - pre-Christian legends history and facts intermingling. In addition to being the patron saint of mental illness and nervous disorders, she’s also the patron saint of victims of incest (despite never actually having been a victim of incest), beheading, and presumably,

persons being chased by half-mad fathers. She also doesn’t seem to have very much to do with nervous disorders or mental illness. She didn’t even have a mental illness. In fact, dare I say, anxiety is a perfectly normal reaction to a psychotic incestuous father attempting to chase you down and rape you. This is how stigmatised our religious culture is about mental illness - when we pick a patron saint we didn’t even pick one that actually had one. It reminds me of when media campaigns selected haemophiliacs, rather than the true face of AIDS for its campaigns because it was more palatable, not because it was an accurate portrayal of a victims of AIDS, who were predominantly gay men . The Church needs a patron saint of mental illness that was mentally ill and that was a follower of Christ of some repute. The Church needs to let it be known that mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. I was ashamed and embarrassed to get treatment for the better part of a decade when attempting to broach the subject with my family. One of my friends recalled being mocked mercilessly by his own mother upon revealing he was seeing a psychiatrist for medication. While this particular view of mental illness intertwined with silence, weakness and sin is uniquely Catholic - that doesn’t mean it’s not part of a more universal problem. There’s a certain stigma and shame attached to mental illness in the ethnic Roman Catholic community - perhaps rivalled only by the African American population which is less likely to seek treatment. As a population, we need to examine further why this is and fix it from within our cultural framework. We need to educate people, both spiritually, and medically, about the ramifications of mental illness in our community. This is not something to be ashamed of, this is something that through Christ and psychiatric medication can be treated and allow us to more fully participate in our Churches and our communities. Michael Murdoch writes from Staten Island in the United States JUSTICEMAGAZINE49


Final thought

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A Mass was held in Westminster Cathedral in November for those aected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the Filipino community in the UK.


Justice Magazine: The Catholic Social Justice Quarterly - Winter 2013 2014