AsiaNews special on the Pope in the Holy Land while war drums resound
The 42 page special edition gives a day-by-day account of Benedict XVI's pilgrimage to Jordan, Israel and Palestine. It is the most important but also most misunderstood journey to date. Criticism tends to destroy any hopes that peace is possible, preparing the ground instead for war. But the pope's message of pace and coexsistence is the most realistic.
Rome (AsiaNews) – The AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is out this week, largely dedicated to Benedict XVI's pilgrimage to the Holy Land (May 8th-15th). The June-July magazine is a special edition, with an extra ten pages added to the usual 32. This, to ensure that our readers do not loose a signal word of the message the Pope brought to Jordan Israel and Palestine to Muslims Christians and Jews. We have also added comments from experts and observers in order to truly understand Benedict XVI's message.
We believe that this effort will be appreciated because, in our opinion, this trip is of exceptional importance.
Exceptional because, firstly, the pope proposed himself as a friend and broche of the people of the Middle East, with simplicity and precision, without hiding in the slightest degree his identity as pastor of the Catholic Church, teaching the entire world what coexistence between people of different ethnicities and religions means.
His relating to the Church and the Christians of the Middle East who came to listen to him was also exceptional: among them some of the Churches worst hit by persecution (such as the Iraqi and Palestinian churches), the ever decreasing minorities, who are suffering 60 years of war and an increasingly disastrous economic situation. The pope asked them to stay in the Holy Land, to look upon their presence in the Middle East as a mission and not as a misfortune, as a catalysing force for coexistence between Christians Muslims and Jews, as a cultural force which diffuses violent fundamentalism.
But this pope and this trip were not understood. Above all by us Catholics. Many Vatican personalities and Christian leaders in the Holy Land had advised the pope to postpone his journey because of political concerns. And yet, Benedict XVI continued to insist that that journey was for him, a pilgrimage of peace. And when he took those first steps on that pilgrimage, he found himself caught up in crossfire of criticism.
For far too long now a campaign aiming to denigrate the person and message of Benedict XVI is being waged. A campaign that during his journey arrived at the point of making false accusations against him, for "having said too much", for "having said too little", for not having said or done "enough". From the outset it was evident that these charges – from Jews and Muslims, Palestinians and Israelis – were prepared well ahead of his arrival, almost like an orchestrated alliance to sully through criticism a voice of hope from the Middle East.
And here were find another exceptional aspect of this voyage. Because the pope, during his pilgrimage of peace, dared to say that peace in the Middle East is possible now and that Israelis and Palestinians can live together, that Islam can be corrected of its desire for violence and return to the cultural splendour it once knew.
It is this, the pope's realism that critics want to suffocate. Saying peace is possible, means taking the legs from under all those who, as we speak, are sharpening the knives of war. In Israel, Netanyahu's government is pushing for a military solution to Tehran's nuclear ambitions; Iran, particularly for election purposes, is increasingly challenging towards the international community; in Lebanon the uncertain election results (and the feared victory of Hezbollah) risks opening another war with Israel. In the coming weeks anti-gas masks will be distributed throughout Israel and military exercises are underway to counter possible attacks from Lebanon, Syria and Iran.
The pope, unarmed and defenceless, beneath the down pour of criticism which failed to stop him, has shown once again that war is not inevitable; it is wanted by men for petty reasons. And above all he said that peace is a gift from God, to be asked for each and every day, and fruit of mankind's responsibility.
|PELERINAGE MILITAIRE INTERNATIONAL, LOURDES, FRANCE, MAY 2009 |
International military pilgrimage, France.
Here you see religious incitement.....( Hungarian delegation in Lourdes, this year), see pictures of the PEACEFUL CHURCH.
And here you see political consequences.
Hungarian extreme-right steals the show in EU vote
Original article: ejpress.org/article/37098
BUDAPEST (AFP)---Hungary's centre-right opposition may have scored its best-ever result in the European elections, but an upstart extreme-right party, Jobbik, stole the headlines by winning nearly 15 percent of the votes.
Fidesz, the main opposition party, secured 56.37 percent of votes, up from 47.4 percent in the last elections to the European Parliament in 2004.
That meant that Fidesz won 14 of Hungary's 22 seats in the 736-member European parliament, two more than last time.
By contrast, the ruling Socialists suffered a crushing defeat, gaining only 17.37 percent of the vote, down from 34.3 percent in 2004 and seeing their number seats cut from nine to just four.
But the real surprise was Jobbik -- which means "better" in Hungarian and is short of "Movement for a Better Hungary -- which won three seats with a startling 14.74 percent of the vote under its slogan "Hungary for Hungarians!"
Jobbik, which was set up seven years as a youth organisation, had not run in the previous EU election and has campaigned mostly on a joint Fidesz-Jobbik ticket in local elections in the past.
"The single biggest winner is Jobbik, which finished ahead of the ruling Socialists in a number of counties," said Political Capital analyst Attila Gyulai.
"Their success is also a slap in the face for Fidesz, whose sought to dominate Jobbik during the campaign. But that clearly didn't work."
An analyst at the Szazadveg institute, Tamas Kern, predicted that Jobbik could even make it into the national parliament in next year's general elections.
And while Fidesz leader and former Hungarian premier Viktor Orban had previously described Jobbik as a group of "brave young people with national feelings", "it remains to be seen how Fidesz is going to position itself against the party in future," Kern said.
Orban has so far stopped short of congratulating Jobbik on its success in the EU vote, while all the other parties saw it as worrying.
An analyst at the Progressive Institute, Kornelia Magyar, suggested that many Hungarians see Fidesz and Jobbik as one and the same.
"They don't sense the extremeness of Jobbik's views," she said. "Fidesz now has the historic chance to reposition itself in the centre and distinguish it from the far-right."
In openly anti-Semitic and anti-Roma speeches, Jobbik's leaders rail against multinational companies and the purchase of Hungarian land by foreigners.
It seeks to stamp out what it sees as "Roma crime" and members of its paramilitary wing, the Hungarian Guard, march through villages with high Roma populations in an attempt to intimidate those it sees as "criminals".
It campaigns under a banner of "Christian" (ie. non-Jewish) values and calls for the re-establishment of a Greater Hungary, reincorporating regions that were cut from its territories after World War I.
In the north east of Hungary, one of the country's poorest regions with the highest concentration of Roma people, Jobbik overtook the incumbent socialists, to become the second biggest party in six out of 19 counties.
Jobbik chairman Gabor Vona has already called for early elections, even threatening to bring them about "by the force of the street".
Vona has compared the fight of Jobbik to that of "Palestinian sling shooters against Israeli military helicopters."