This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Pope Francis to visit Central African Republic in middle of civil war
- Pope Francis blames starvation and poverty on a new form of colonialism
- Baby kissed by Pope Francis recovers from deadly brain tumor
Pope Francis to visit Central African Republic in middle of civil war
Pope Francis welcomed by Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni (at right with hat), in Kampala on Friday (AP)
The United Nations will provide hundreds of additional peacekeeping troops on Sunday, when Pope Francis visits Bangui, the capital city of Central African Republic (CAR), in the midst of a sectarian civil war that’s been going on for three years, and shows no sign of ending. The visit will last 26 hours.
The Pope is completing a six-day tour of Africa, with stops in Kenya, Uganda and CAR.
In Bangui, the Pope’s first visit will be to the PK5 mosque in Bangui. PK5 is a Muslim enclave that continues to be extremely dangerous. Renewed violence erupted in PK5 in September, after a Muslim man was killed. The Pope had wanted to visit a hospital in PK5, but it was deemed to be too dangerous.
After visiting the mosque, Francis plans to hold a prayer vigil at the cathedral in Bangui and spend some time at a displacement camp.
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in CAR currently has some 9,100 peacekeepers and about 1,500 police. It will be boosted with an additional 750 troops and 140 police for the Pope’s visit. The additional troops will stay for eight weeks, until after presidential and parliamentary elections take place on December 27.
Despite the additional peacekeepers, Vatican officials have said that the Pope could cancel the visit at the last minute if it appears to be too dangerous, either to the Pope or to the people that he will be visiting. The last pontiff to visit CAR was Pope John Paul II in 1985.
The CAR sectarian war began in March 2013, when François Bozizé, the Christian former president of CAR, was ousted in a coup in March 2013 by Michel Djotodia, a Muslim, who became president and served until January 2014.
After Djotodia’s coup took place in March 2013, Muslim Seleka militias began committing atrocities, particularly targeting the Christian constituencies of the deposed François Bozizé. In December 2013, French Foreign Legion peacekeeping troops arrived to disarm the Seleka militias.
But then the Christian anti-balaka militias “rushed into the vacuum,” and began committing atrocities in 2014, for revenge against the Selekas. Since then, both Christians and Muslims have been committing atrocities, and it’s become a full-scale generational crisis war. Thousands have been killed, and millions have been displaced.
As I’ve explained in the past, CAR’s last generational crisis war was the 1928-1931 Kongo-Wara Rebellion (“War of the Hoe Handle”), which was a very long time ago, putting CAR today deep into a generational Crisis era, where a new crisis war is increasingly likely. ( “2-Oct-15 World View — Violence resurges in Central African Republic crisis war”)
Many people of faith hope that the visit by the Pope will somehow magically tranquilize the fighting and end the civil war. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this civil war will go on until it reaches the point of exhaustion, and there’s an explosive climax, some kind of bloody, genocidal massacre that will be remembered for decades. Deutsche Welle and Time and Reuters
Pope Francis blames starvation and poverty on a new form of colonialism
Pope Francis was apparently very deeply affected by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, after which he declared that the upcoming Christmas festivities would be a “charade,” with the whole world at war:
We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war. It’s all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war.
Pope Francis might be a reader of the daily Generational Dynamics World View articles, because he appears to believe that the world is headed inevitably to a new world war, and he’s in great despair over it.
In a speech on Friday at the Kangemi Slum in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, he declared Africa to be a “continent of hope,” but went on to continue his message of despair:
One very serious problem in this regard is the lack of access to infrastructures and basic services. By this I mean toilets, sewers, drains, refuse collection, electricity, roads, as well as schools, hospitals, recreational and sport centers, studios and workshops for artists and craftsmen. I refer in particular to access to drinking water. “Access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. Our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity” (Laudato Si’, 30). To deny a family water, under any bureaucratic pretext whatsoever, is a great injustice, especially when one profits from this need…
This situation of indifference and hostility experienced by poor neighborhoods is aggravated when violence spreads and criminal organizations, serving economic or political interests, use children and young people as “cannon fodder” for their ruthless business affairs. I also appreciate the struggles of those women who fight heroically to protect their sons and daughters from these dangers. I ask God that that the authorities may embark, together with you, upon the path of social inclusion, education, sport, community action, and the protection of families, for this is the only guarantee of a peace that is just, authentic and enduring.
These realities which I have just mentioned are not a random combination of unrelated problems. They are a consequence of new forms of colonialism which would make African countries “parts of a machine, cogs on a gigantic wheel” (Ecclesia in Africa, 52). Indeed, countries are frequently pressured to adopt policies typical of the culture of waste, like those aimed at lowering the birth rate, which seek “to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized” (Laudato Si’, 50).
In this regard, I would propose a renewed attention to the idea of a respectful urban integration, as opposed to elimination, paternalism, indifference or mere containment. We need integrated cities which belong to everyone.
There is a great deal of wishful thinking in these remarks. But the source of the problem was revealed in Thomas Roberts Malthus in his 1798 book, “An Essay on the Principle of Population.” In that book, he showed that the amount of food that farmers produce increases every year, but that the annual increase in food production is smaller than the annual increase in population. In other words, the population grows faster than the food supply, which I call the “Malthus effect.” (To see how this applies to China, see “6-Dec-10 News — Mongol invasion of China in 1206 has impact today”)
Those who deny the validity of the Malthus effect overlook the number of wars of extermination that happen throughout history. Whenever a society or group of people are facing starvation and poverty, they look around for someone to blame, someone “wealthier” or “more privileged.” When the starvation gets bad enough, there is a war. If it is a generational crisis war, then it will worsen the starvation and will become a war of extermination. A war of extermination decreases the population, so that there’s enough food for the survivors for a while. That’s the cycle that humanity has gone through for millennia.
Theologians often discuss a number of great issues, like the conflict between omniscience and free will. ( “27-Sep-15 World View — After Hajj stampede disaster, Muslims debate the ‘Will of Allah'”)
But I’ve never heard of theologians discussing an even more important issue: Why are humans to blame for wars, when God has created a world in which the population grows faster than the food supply, making war a requirement for human survival? Time and AP and National Catholic Register
Baby kissed by Pope Francis recovers from deadly brain tumor
During his recent visit to Philadelphia, Pope Francis kissed the head of a 15-month-old baby Gianna Masciantonio. The baby was dying of a brain tumor.
Six weeks later, MRI scans show that the tumor has shrunk significantly, and the baby would likely survive.
According to Gianna’s father, Joey Masciantonio: “The kiss was God’s work, that’s for sure. But, the miracle was Him giving us the platform to reach those doctors who, ultimately, played a major role in saving Gianna’s life.” NBC News
KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Pope Francis, Central African Republic, PK5, François Bozizé, Michel Djotodia, Kongo-Wara Rebellion, War of the Hoe Handle, Kenya, Uganda, Kampala, Kangemi Slum, Thomas Roberts Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population, Philadelphia, Gianna Masciantonio
Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail