Taxi – Avem alergie

Iata, au inceput sa apara si cintecele legate de protestele actuale. E semn bun.

Yohanna Katanacho – Yom Kippur. A Palestinian Christian Perspective

yom-kippur

Today, we celebrate in Israel the day of atonement or Yom Kippur. It is a day of repentance, humiliation before God, and forgiveness. On this day, there is no eating, no bathing or washing, no anointing, and no marital relations. It is a day dedicated to seeking the forgiveness of God. It is a day in which God expects from those who follow Him to forgive the sins of others.

Can Jews forgive the sins of the nations who attacked and abused them? Can they reflect on their own sins that led our country to the current situation? Can Palestinians forgive the Jewish people? I pray that I will discover my own sins on this day and will seek to forgive and bless all of my neighbors. I also pray that my Jewish neighbors will seek true forgiveness that is much more than just ritual celebrations. Perhaps, the test of Yom Kippur is more than ritual! It is also an ethical one. Furthermore, it seems to me that Jewish ethics today cannot be divorced from the Palestinian question. The latter is the litmus test for the authenticity of celebrating Yom Kippur in Israel in the 21st century. Such forgiveness would change the hearts of the nation as well as its politics leading to the support of a politics of peace and reconciliation rather than war and further alienation. May God answer the desires of all the hearts that seek forgiveness and bless them with true atonement! As a Christian I found this atonement embodied in the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth who died on the cross for my own sins. Read More »

Pope, Anglican leader, vow joint action on poverty and environment | Religion News Service

ROME (Reuters) The pledge at a vespers prayer service came despite challenges to greater unity posed by differences over women priests and gay marriage.

Source: Pope, Anglican leader, vow joint action on poverty and environment | Religion News Service

Here are two men I deeply love and respect.

Four Issues to Consider Before You Vote Trump – What is Really at Stake

Source: Four Issues to Consider Before You Vote Trump – What is Really at Stake

Samuel Whitefield’s  text is one of the best articles I have found, on the conservative side, about the dangerous moral and spiritual implications of Christians voting for ridiculous Trump. Reading it, made me shiver again andd again. This is the messag for a true prophet of God.

I will paste below what I consider to be the most significant quotes. I beg you to read the entire text, if you have time. It is really worth it. What Whitefield writes here is true not only for the US, but also for Iohannis’s Romania or for Orban’s Hungary. If yoou  read it, you will know what I mean.

 * * *

To become the prophetic voice the church is intended to be will cost us far more than we think. It is going to be more painful than we think to abandon our fixation with political solutions. We are used to political friendships, and we are used to a measure of respect from the system as a compliant and loyal voting block. I want to reframe what is at stake this election. There is something far bigger than economic policy at stake in 2016 – it is the church’s prophetic voice.Read More »

Valeriu Nicolae – Euro-Narnia and the Queen of Roma

 

Valeriu Nicolae

Roma activist Valeriu Nicolae departs for Euro-Narnia, a parallel world ruled over by the mighty Baroslan whose inhabitants discuss in strange and wonderful terms remedies for the Roma problem. But what is the role of the Queen in all of this?Read More »

BiblioTech – The First ‘Bookless’ Public Library in the World

BiblioTech

During my visit in San Antonio, Tx., in May 2016, I had the privilege of visiting the first completely digital library that was ever open anywhere in the world. I had heard about it before, and I made concrete plans to visit it while in Texas. So, on May 25th, with the gracious help of my friend Rev. Silviu Neagu, we set on the way to look for it, after a visit at the Central Library in San Antonio, where we got the address we needed – 3505 Pleasanton Road, in Bexar [pronounced ‘bear’] County, a 1.7 million members, and rapidly growing.

selfie w Silviu Neagu
Selfie with Rev. Silviu Neagu in front of BiblioTech

As we were driving deeper into the South, the poorest area of San Antonio, my friend was becoming more and more skeptical. It seemed almost impossible to find a library in such a place. Did we have the wrong address? Yet, there it was: Bexar BiblioTech, hosted in a not very large former warehouse space. My heart started pounding. I had found it.

2016-05-23 15.36.29
Rev. Silviu Neagu & Mr. JoseAngel Siller, head of BiblioTech in Pleasanton

As we entered the building, we were greeted by the guard, and the head of this institution, Mr. JoseAngel Siller, who became our guide during this visit. He had, among other things, a master’s degree in philosophy of religion, and seemed to be a religious man, even if he did not make too much out of it.

2016-05-23 15.08.16 2016-05-23 15.10.42 2016-05-23 15.13.10

One of the first things one sees on the wall after entering the building is the ‘tecolote’ [owl, in Spanish], the mascot and at the very same time the digital app of the library. As you scan it with your phone or table camera, you enter the virtual world of this technological miracle.Read More »

Southern Baptists Adopt Controversial Resolution on Israel – EthicsDaily.com

By: Brian Kaylor Southern Baptists at their annual meeting adopted a pro-Israel resolution deemed by some Arab Baptist leaders as unbiblical and harmful to their peacemaking efforts.

Source: Southern Baptists Adopt Controversial Resolution on Israel – EthicsDaily.com

A new act of political prostitution and blatent injustice in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Shame, Paige Patterson!

CS Lewis – The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment

(Thanks to Daniela Lunga for the link)

Observation: It is interesting to see reflections of the Girardian scapegoat theory, even if probably Lewis was not aware of it.

Mercy, detached from justice, grows unmerciful. An illustration explaining a theory of Crime and Punishment that C.S Lewis described as ‘a man-eating weed’. Notes below in video description.Read More »

Interviu Teodor Baconschi – Est-Vest, renaştere şi debandadă spirituală – fragmente

Theodor Baconschi

Am selectat mai jos citeva fragmente dintr-un foarte interesant interviu acordat de Teodor Baconschi lui Cristian Patrasconiu pentru platforma LaPunkt. Sper ca ele va vor motiva sa citi intregul interviu, care poate fi accesat la linkul de mai sus.

Avem de-a face, desigur, cu o perspectiva conservatoare si ortodoxa, asumata in mod deschis de autor. Ceea ce nu inseamna insa ca aceasta il scuteste de anumite interpretari partizane si subiective, desigur, inevitabile in orice demers intelectual cinstit.

Enumar, in fuga, citeva dintre acestea:

  • perspectiva exclusiv negativa asupra procesului de secularizare in Europa
  • invinuirea exclusiva a protestantismului pentru acest ‘flagel’
  • cresterea prezentei musulmane in Europa privita preponderent ca o amenintare
  • atitudinea implicit critica fata de papa Francisn, pus in contract cu ‘ultimul papă conservator, Benedict al XVI-lea’

si la acestea as putea adauga si altele, dar va las s-o faceti voi insiva.

* * *

Societatea românească e un mozaic de fracturi. Aveam, la 1900, un retard istoric de cel puțin 100 de ani față de Occident (evident, e o apreciere pur estimativă). Aproape un secol mai târziu, când a căzut comunismul, eram, iarăși, una dintre cele mai sărace țări de pe continent. Deși ne-au ajutat să ne dezvoltăm, tranziția democratică și integrarea euro-atlantică n-au făcut decât să ne așeze întru-un sistem de referință care ne-a agravat complexele de inferioritate. Pe acest fundal dislocat, regăsirea tradiției precomuniste, cu o Biserică Ortodoxă liberă, s-a făcut adesea formal și zgomotos, fără creșterea organică de care au nevoie procesele istorice firești. Am intrat în mileniul trei cu povara acestor handicapuri. Prin urmare, nu putem încă avea o atitudinea critică față de Occident: nu l-am trăit pe dinăuntru. Dacă ne socotim ca parte integrantă a lui, ne ies oricând la iveală reminiscențele comuniste și orientale. Dacă îl respingem, nu prea avem ce să punem în loc. Avem, cum s-a spus, o modernizare lipsită de modernitate. Am copiat, în loc să asimilăm. Cu alte cuvinte, în loc să spunem ce e greșit amenajat ”la ei”, ne sar în ochi propriile defecțiuni de parcurs.Read More »

Pope Francis Has A Dream

Source: Pope Francis Has A Dream

‘Francis defended the idea that continental Europe plays a particularly important role, while at the same time exhibited a rejection of colonial ideals. His vision is that of a Europe based on new ideas and discussions, a political and social model engaging all of the players on the global stage. Francis called for a “just distribution of the wealth of the earth,” as well as “more inclusive and equal economic models” and the transition “from a liquid economy to a social economy” in which the priority will be access to employment, rather than a speculative economy. His Europe is one that is sympathetic and open to youth, migrants and refugees.’

Ilia Delio on Incarnational Bias

Ilia Delio - Compassion. Living in the Spirit of St. Francis
Ilia Delio – Compassion. Living in the Spirit of St. Francis

NOTE: Fr. Rohr shared today this amazing quote. I dedicate it to all my friends who are politically conservative (or neoliberal) and committed Christians at the samee time. I hope they will be as convincted as I am. May the ‘God of the Poor’ have mercy on us all!

An incarnational bias is evident today in our globalized culture. The “problem” of immigrants, welfare recipients, incarcerated, mentally ill, …disabled, and all who are marginalized by mainstream society, is a problem of the incarnation. When we reject our relatedness to the poor, the weak, the simple, and the unlovable we define the family of creation over and against God. In place of God we decide who is worthy of our attention and who can be rejected. Because of our deep fears, we spend time, attention, and money on preserving our boundaries of privacy and increasing our knowledge and power. We hermetically seal ourselves off from the undesired “other,” the stranger, and in doing so, we seal ourselves off from God. By rejecting God in the neighbor, we reject the love that can heal us.

Until we come to accept created reality with all its limits and pains as the living presence of God, Christianity has nothing to offer to the world. It is sound bites of empty promises. When we lose the priority of God’s love in weak, fragile humanity, we lose the Christ, the foundation on which we stand as Christians.

Compassion continues the Incarnation by allowing the Word of God to take root within us, to be enfleshed in us. The Incarnation is not finished; it is not yet complete for it is to be completed in us.

(Ilia Delio, Compassion: Living in the Spirit of St. Francis, (Franciscan Media: 2011), 61.)

Benjamin L Corey – 5 Reasons We So Blindly Support Israel in Spite of the Truth or Biblical Ethics

mary-joseph-israeli-soldiers

Over the course of time I’ve noticed a troubling trend: it’s *almost* impossible to have a reasonable discussion with fellow Christians who believe we are called to give unwavering support the modern secular nation state of Israel.

This of course, has led me to try to figure out why this is the case. Why do so many Christians reject basic facts about Israel? Why do so many of us have an aversion to believing truth on this issue?

As your list-maker-in-chief, I have a few ideas as to why this seems to occur. So, here are my 5 reasons so many of us irrationally support Israel– in spite of truth or biblical ethics:

1. Bad theology regarding Israel has led us to become victims of our own confirmation bias

2. We don’t listen to Palestinian voices– not even our Christian brothers and sisters in Palestine

Read More »

Cazul Bodnariu NU este despre familia Bodnariu

România este ţara noastră, a celor care înainte de 1989 am închis şi schingiuit în orfelinate sute de mii de copii.

Source: Cazul Bodnariu NU este despre familia Bodnariu

Colega mea, Mirela Oprea, specialist in protectia copilului si advocacy, scrie despre contextul mai amplu al protestelor legate de cazul familiei Bodnariu.

Interview with Jon-Åge Øyslebø, Embassy of Norway in Washinton DC, on Barnevernet

This is an exclusive audio interview by Marian Petruta, with Jon-Åge Øyslebø, in charge of Communications and Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of Norway, Washington DC.

I Am NOT Black, You are NOT White

These Labels were Made Up to Divide us.

Artist/Writer – Prince Ea

Rachel Held Evans – Donald Trump and a Tale of Two Gospels

Rachel-Held-Evans1
Rachel Held Evans

NOTES: It has been some time since I have shared on my blog a post written by Rachel. But this one is a must, as so many evangelicals in the US seem to be fooled by the perverted version of the gospel promoted by the Republican candidate to the American presidency.

And some good news on Rachel. On Feb 29th, President Obama nominated Rachel Held Evans as member of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Well done, Rachel.

* * *

As it becomes clear Donald Trump’s candidacy for president will be more than a sideshow this year, the probable Republican nominee is making his pitch to Christian voters.

You would think it would be a hard sell given the fact that the real estate mogul and reality star has boasted about his extramarital affairs, profited off casinos and strip clubs, said he doesn’t need to ask God for forgiveness, called for targeting innocent civilians in war, mocked a reporter with a disability, threatened the religious liberty of minority groups in the U.S., and gained wide support among white nationalists for consistently lying about and demeaning blacks, Mexican immigrants, Muslims, and Syrian refugees.

But polls show that despite all of this, Trump remains favored among evangelical voters. After speaking at Liberty University last week, Trump scored an important endorsement from Jerry Falwell Jr., a prominent leader of the Religious Right who, to the applause of thousands, compared Trump to Jesus and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Read More »

Din nou despre cazul Bodnariu. 4 observaţii şi 3 concluzii preliminare

Cum s-a schimbat societatea românească după cazul Bodnariu

Source: Din nou despre cazul Bodnariu. 4 observaţii şi 3 concluzii preliminare

Mirela Oprea, specialist in psihologie si stiintele educatiei, scrie din nou despre cazul Bodnariu.

Cazul Norvegia, privitul în oglindă și pădurea care nu se vede de copaci | Protecție copii

Norvegia a fost pe buzele multora zilele astea. Cazul Bodnariu a fost întors pe toate fețele. Am evitat până acum să mă pronunț, pentru că tema a luat o turnură mult prea diletantă, ceea ce e în co…

Source: Cazul Norvegia, privitul în oglindă și pădurea care nu se vede de copaci | Protecție copii

Sper din toata inima ca dupa ce reusim sa-i ‘civilizam’ pe norvegieni, ne vom intoarce si spre ale noastre, care sunt mult mai grav, dar nu par sa deranjeze pe niciunul dintre cei care sunt astazi in strada.

Ceva imi spuna insa ca dupa ce cei cinci copii Bodnariu si vor intoarce acasa la parinti, caci nu se poate altfel, si, poate, dupa ce parintii Bodnariu vor fi invatat sa renunte la orice forma de disciplinare fizica a copiilor lor, desi ma tem ca in privinta asta sunt mai putine sanse, NU vom vedea si o mobilizare a romanilor pentru soarta cu adevarat tragica a copiilor din Romania. Om traui si on vedea. Sa dea Dumnezeu sa ma insel!

Statul mesianic, copiii şi coşmarul lumii întoarse pe dos | România | DW.COM | 13.01.2016

Nu citim aici un nou poem pedagogic, argumentând în favoarea foloaselor bătăii, pasămite, rupte din rai. Nu e un text care ignoră legea. Ci e o apărare a copiilor. Şi o pledoarie pentru un stat fără trufii salvaţioniste.

Source: Statul mesianic, copiii şi coşmarul lumii întoarse pe dos | România | DW.COM | 13.01.2016

Petre M. Iancu produce aici unul dintre cele mai consistente texte pe tema cazului Bodnariu. De citit si gindit mai mult si de vorbit mai putin.

 

CAZUL BODNARIU. MAE: Interesul superior al copiilor este de a NU fi separaţi. Prima reacţie a ambasadei Norvegiei – Gândul

Detalii în Gândul

Source: CAZUL BODNARIU. MAE: Interesul superior al copiilor este de a NU fi separaţi. Prima reacţie a ambasadei Norvegiei – Gândul

Conferinta de presa a MAE legata de cazul Bodnariu vadeste faptul ca acuzatia de neimplicare a guvernului in aceasta chestiune, moneda comuna a demonstratiilor initiate de evanghelici in mai multe orase din lume, estre nelegitima si jignitoare.

Desigur, MEA ar fi putut comunica mai transparent cu privire la demersurile facute inspre rezolvarea problemei, dar, in acelasi timp diplomatia este o arta a discretiei, nu o forma de exhibitionism, pentru a satisface voiorismul specific spiritului gregar al maselor.

Barnevernet: fața contemporană a unei practici vechi? – Chibzuieli

Hmmm… Astăzi am dat peste un citat interesant. Sursa: Sejersted, Francis, and Madeleine B. Adams. The Age of Social Democracy: Norway and Sweden in the Twentieth Century. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton…

Source: Barnevernet: fața contemporană a unei practici vechi? – Chibzuieli

Eugen Matei, din nou despre Barnevernet.

Cazul Bodnariu. Barnevernet, poate poftiţi şi pe la noi!

De acord? „Aş vrea să văd un protest în faţa Guvernului pentru starea deplorabilă în care se află copiii din România, unde 50% din copii (mai ales cei din mediul rural) sunt la risc de sărăcie şi marginalizare socială”

Source: Cazul Bodnariu. Barnevernet, poate poftiţi şi pe la noi!

Un articol al Mirelei Oprea scris din perspectiva copiilor victime ale violentei in familie. Ma tem ca va enerva pe multi. Asta e. Iata si concluzia:
‘…mi-aş dori să văd proteste similare şi pentru copiii români care sunt bătuţi zilnic, trimişi la cerşit, forţaţi să se prostitueze sau să muncească, etc. Aş vrea să văd un protest în faţa Guvernului pentru starea deplorabilă în care se află copiii din România, unde 50% din copii (mai ales cei din mediul rural) sunt la risc de sărăcie şi marginalizare socială. Asta, ca să ne fie tuturor foarte clar, înseamnă că nu merg la şcoală, că se culcă flămânzi, că nu au haine de iarnă, că sunt exploataţi de către cei care ar trebui să îi îngrijească şi aşa mai departe. ‘

Walter Brueggemann on Idolatry

A really prophetic message.

The Case of Bodnariu Family – A Further Norwegian Perspective

Bodnariu children

Note: As you can see below, my Norwegian friend has followed closely the conversation here on this case and is offering a further (and final) perspective on this matter.

* * *

Dear Danut,

We certainly entered a wasps nest (or maybe a rats nest) engaging in this discussion. I have read all the postings you have sent me, and I have followed up the different links and watched the taped interviews with interest.

Before I make my comments, I want to make it perfectly clear that yes, errors are made, and every error is one too many, and that I am all for continued improvement of the organization and the routines of the Child Welfare Service. (I prefer to use the official name even if some call it the Child Protection service.)

BUT if you want to change a system you cannot do it based on anecdotal evidence. If you look it up, you will find a lot of definitions and descriptions of “anecdotal evidence”, but here is one from Wikipedia:

“Anecdotal evidence is evidence from anecdotes. Where only one or a few anecdotes are presented, there is a larger chance that they may be unreliable due to cherry-picked or otherwise non-representative samples of typical cases. Anecdotal evidence is considered dubious support of a generalized claim; it is, however, within the scope of scientific method for claims regarding particular instances, for example the use of case studies in medicine.”

If we look at what has been presented in this case, it is anecdotal evidence. Even if we assume that the stories presented are true examples of wrongdoings on the part of the Child Welfare Service, what do we have? Less than 10 examples spanning 5 years!Read More »

Caring for the Earth – A New Carol

Under the impression of the recent conference in Paris, on climate change, the Rt. Rev. Steven Croft, Anglican Bishop of Sheffield, wrote inspired new words, in Advent mood, for the well known hymn The King of Love My Shepherd Is, which you can listen above.

Here are the words of the new Carol:

Creator of our common home
And maker of such wonder
You crafted fire and sky and stone
Dividing seas asunder.

In love you set the earth in space~
In joy ordained its pathway
Filled earth and sea and sky with grace
That we might praise you always.

We turned away your gift of life
Polluted all you gave us
The land was spoiled, we favoured strife
Lives turned away from goodness.

In Bethlehem you gave your Son
Creator in creation
To win us back and call us home
Revealing your salvation.

The Word of God took human form
Eternity in person
Reason and love came to transform
God’s gift for our conversion.

Creator of our common home
Redeemer of such mercy
Sustainer of all life on earth
To you always be glory.

(Source, HERE)

Bishop Steven Croft
Bishop Steven Croft

 

 

 

Kairos Palestine Message on Current Violence

Kairos Palestine

Dear Brothers and Sisters, colleagues and partners of Kairos for Global Justice,

It is at such hard times as the ones we are living in Palestine/Israel that we need to have the assurance that we are not alone. Many of you have expressed genuine support through prayers, Facebook messages, letters and sharing of footages of actual or alleged stabbings and the inhuman reaction of the “moral army” of Israel and settlers. On behalf of Kairos Palestine and myself, I would like to thank you for all the advocacy efforts that many of you have been engaged in through marches and demonstrations or BDS activities, in order to alleviate our pain and suffering.

Kairos for Global Justice brought together all those engaged into achieving justice for Palestine/Israel and in your own regions, but all our joint efforts have still not yielded the impact needed. Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah has renewed his call for one effective way to confront the increasing violence: organized SILENT large marches all over the world with the participation of prominent leaders, peace activists, and people of all faiths as a joint effort to regain and preserve humanity. This is a real challenge in Palestine/Israel where all non-violent actions are rewarded with live bullets in violation of all international laws.Read More »

Grace Halsell – What Christians Don’t Know About Israel

Palestine Israel

American Jews sympathetic to Israel dominate key positions in all areas of our government where decisions are made regarding the Middle East. This being the case, is there any hope of ever changing U.S. policy? American Presidents as well as most members of Congress support Israel — and they know why. U.S. Jews sympathetic to Israel donate lavishly to their campaign coffers.

The answer to achieving an even-handed Middle East policy might lie elsewhere — among those who support Israel but don’t really know why. This group is the vast majority of Americans. They are well-meaning, fair-minded Christians who feel bonded to Israel — and Zionism — often from atavistic feelings, in some cases dating from childhood.

I am one of those. I grew up listening to stories of a mystical, allegorical, spiritual Israel. This was before a modern political entity with the same name appeared on our maps. I attended Sunday School and watched an instructor draw down window- type shades to show maps of the Holy Land. I imbibed stories of a Good and Chosen people who fought against their Bad “unChosen” enemies.

In my early 20s, I began traveling the world, earning my living as a writer. I came to the subject of the Middle East rather late in my career. I was sadly lacking in knowledge regarding the area. About all I knew was what I had learned in Sunday School.

And typical of many U.S. Christians, I somehow considered a modern state created in 1948 as a homeland for Jews persecuted under the Nazis as a replica of the spiritual, mystical Israel I heard about as a child. When in 1979 I initially went to Jerusalem, I planned to write about the three great monotheistic religions and leave out politics. “Not write about politics?” scoffed one Palestinian, smoking a waterpipe in the Old Walled City. “We eat politics, morning, noon and night!”

As I would learn, the politics is about land, and the co-claimants to that land: the indigenous Palestinians who have lived there for 2,000 years and the Jews who started arriving in large numbers after the Second World War. By living among Israeli Jews as well as Palestinian Christians and Muslims, I saw, heard, smelled, experienced the police state tactics Israelis use against Palestinians.

My research led to a book entitled Journey to Jerusalem. My journey not only was enlightening to me as regards Israel, but also I came to a deeper, and sadder, understanding of my own country. I say sadder understanding because I began to see that, in Middle East politics, we the people are not making the decisions, but rather that supporters of Israel are doing so. And typical of most Americans, I tended to think the U.S. media was “free” to print news impartially.Read More »

The Illusion of Calmness – HLT

Source: The Illusion of Calmness – HLT

Sami Awad, from the Holy Land Trust, on the current surge of violence in Israel/Palestine:

‘Real calmness in the Holy Land can only manifest itself if a real peace emerges between the communities of the land, not the politicians. It is a peace that is founded on the principles of mutual trust and respect and a desire to truly bring a sense of justice, equality and equity to all those who live in the Holy Land. It is a peace that addresses the existential fears of the past on both sides and does not allow that fear to be manipulated by the political establishments.

The structures of oppression, control and fear must be dismantled and if not dismantled by choice of the leaders, then dismantled by the force of the people through nonviolent engagement, working in unity and/or separately. A leadership must emerge that is motivated by a vision of peace and justice, not of maintaining calmness, making false promises, and creating space for prosperity of the few.’

The Bible Is A Story about Refugees – A Biblical Lens for the Current Refugee Crisis

n this 50 sec clip, Dr Chris Tilling, Senior New Testament Lecturer at St Mellitus College, and Tearfund supporter, offers Christians a Biblical-lens for the current refugee crisis.

Đoàn Thanh Liêm – From Social Action to Human Rights Advocacy

By profession, I am a lawyer, a jurist. But as a volunteer, I’ve spent much of my time in social work in Vietnam during the war and in human rights action at the time being in the United States.
In the mid-1960’s as the war escalated, a lot of people from the insecure countryside flocked into the outskirts of the capital city of Saigon. They lived in slum areas in miserable conditions without basic facilities such as clean water, toilet, electricity or medical care etc…, let alone school for their children.
That is why a group of young urban folks like us got together to start an action program called “The Saigon District 8 Development Project” in 1965 to help these war victims help themselves in the most underpriviledged area of Saigon. The youngest volunteers were then about 20 years old and the eldest about 30.
To begin with, we submitted a request to the government asking to be allowed to set up a community development program for the benefit of the local people in the slums – most of whom are war victims coming from the adjoining countryside. Thereupon, the Prime Minister agreed to our proposal and even provided us with a little fund for the operation of the program. And right away, by mid-August 1965, we came to district 8 and wholeheartedly launched ourselves into the long term social action aiming at serving the people in the community. Details of the running of this cooperation between us the volunteers and the administration can be summarised as follows:

I – The key success to the experience : “The Three With Approach”
As volunteers, the only thing we had in common that is the high morale of deeply motivated and dedicated young people. But to put it frankly, we were all naïve and inexperienced facing the enormously hard problems of poverty, insalubrity and even illiteracy in the area. With sheer perseverance, we had to practice the “Three With Approach” (Tam Cùng) – that’s to Live With, to Eat With and to Work With the local population – thus sharing with them all hardships in their daily life.
As time went by, we were gradually seen and accepted with sympathy by the local residents as “good guys’, “well educated folks”. And that favorable attitude opened up to the sincere and close cooperation between the community and our group of volunteers all coming from outside of the locality.

Read More »