28th GENERAL ASSEMBLY
A / P REGIONAL COMMITTEE MEETING
After a long struggle with pressure on time and resources we are finally able to produce a combined issue after the first one early this year. We place on record our sincere apologies to all readers of PRAXIS.
We feature in this issue three main events of the Federation in 1981, and some of the documents therefrom. We still have a few more to be published which we hope to include in the forthcoming issues. We are extremely happy to place an issue of PRAXIS in your hands, though delayed, with original Federation papers.
The appeals for Solidarity are still live issues that warrant the
immediate action of all readers. Most of us are aware of the dangers of
American presence in our Region. We have witnessed
has found a special place in this issue. The Regional Committee meeting in
A word on the Federation Events. We
have deliberately kept the reporting on this section to the minimum to enable
larger publications on the specific events. The WSCF Journal published by the IRO will highlight the General Assembly, while the Asia /
Pacific Office will do a special edition of Reports for the
It is indeed a great pleasure for me to be invited to step in for someone and to be able to address the assembly, particularly because twelve years ago in Finland, I was one of the participants at the assembly, and it has been over a decade since I have been able to share in the fellowship again. I feel I still must be young and foolish in order to undertake the task of addressing you at the eleventh hour, not knowing really very much what is expected and what I can really offer. Hence, I hope you will be able to bear with me some of the thoughts that I may bring to this topic, which is as broad as it is important.
My aim here is not to offer an intellectual theoretical exposition about the question of politics, society, and the new social movements. I address the question rather from the point of praxis. I think of communities of people who are committed to whatever kind of struggle and social change happening in our societies. How do we capture or discern these different social trends that are emerging and how do we, as a community with all its pluralistic nature, at different points in historical development unite together as the theme says and rise up to build a new society which is concomitant with the aims of our Christian faith? It is from this standpoint that I would like to throw out some thoughts for our own reflections and discussion.
I think the organizers are certainly correct when they articulated their concerns around the kinds of social movements and therefore by implication the kinds of crises that we are faced with in this world. We are faced with an economic crisis which I sure many of us feel when we are doing shopping every day, and we are faced with a political crisis as we look around, especially in many advanced capitalist societies where we seem to see more movements than people. We are faced with ideological crises, and sometimes religious crisis. And these crisis I think affect us individually, our individual lives, our relationships between men and women, our relationships between the individual and the environment, relationships between nations, and relationships within socialist nations and within capitalist nations. It is characteristic that in times of crisis all kinds of ideologies and social movements tend to arise, each of them competing for the allegiance and following of the people. The emergence of a multitude of new movements in advanced capitalist countries have tended to steal the limelight and overshadow in some ways the more traditional social and political movements that we are familiar with. In particular, we refer to the traditional trade union and labor movements, the political parties and the national liberation movements. This problematic is something, which is more poignant in the advanced capitalist countries than in the third-world countries, or what I would like to term as peripheral capitalist countries. As such, I think the selection of the topic reflects more the concern of the constituency from the advanced capitalist countries.
How do we then try to understand these movements? In terms of what are the factors that cause them to rise? What are some of these social movements and how do we relate to them? I think it is helpful to begin our analysis by a simple categorization of the different types of political economic systems that we face in our world today and the movements that occur in these different social systems as well as the political and social implications they have for us.
a former chairperson of the WSCF is a sociologist at the
THREE TYPES OF SOCIETIES
There are three major types of societies that we can categorize in our
world today. The first is what I would call the advanced capitalist societies,
sometimes known as the first world. The second is the peripheral
capitalist countries, sometimes known
as the third world. The third is composed of the transitional socialist
societies, sometimes known as the second world or the block that encompasses
most of the Eastern European countries as well as other socialist countries in
some of the so-called third world areas. Each of these types of nation has
different economic structures, even though there tends to be a certain number
of similarities that we can discern among them. Now I think it is in the first
type of country, i.e. advanced capitalist countries, where these new social
movements are making a major appearance, that is where we see movements like
the consumer movement, women's movement, ecology movement, anti-nuclear
movement, gay movement religious movements and even ethnic and minority
movements making their appearances. It was once thought by many sociologists as
well as political scientists that religious and ethnic movements are something
that are found only in the less developed and old traditional societies. But
we find ethnic resurgence as strong in Western Europe and even in the
While it is not possible to identify one overarching factor, which causes the multiplicity of these social movements, it is helpful to keep in mind the crisis of the world capitalist system that we are facing. This is affecting all countries, advanced capitalist countries, peripheral capitalist countries as well as transitional socialist societies. To be able to understand these movements we need to understand the contradictions in society, which engender these social movements. This in turn requires an analysis or understanding of the specific social, economic and political structures that are inherent in these societies, and how these structures are changing and producing the contradictions, which give rise to these different social movements.
STRUCTURAL VS SUPERSTRUCTURAL CHANGE
It can be said that in general, in the peripheral capitalist countries the movements seek changes in the realm of both what is traditionally known as economic infrastructure as well as in the superstructures. They seek a total transformation of society, in terms of economic production, social relationships, as well as in politics, culture, ideology and religious fields. And hence liberation movements that we find in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia tend to envelop a total program, which overshadows the more particularistic and issue-oriented type of social movements that are found in the advanced capitalist countries. The advanced capitalist countries have the agility to maintain essential features in its outward form, for example its ability to produce a welfare state society or welfare state capitalism, which was able to meet the crisis that capitalism faced in the twenties and in the thirties. It is this ability of advanced capitalist societies to maintain its essential features that have made social movements, which seek a total transformation of society encounter an impasse. Hopefully a temporary one. In such a society, it is more difficult to mobilize the general public for total transformation of society than for changes, in specific issues. Therefore, social movements, which are issue oriented and focus on specific rights as we have mentioned earlier tend to be mushrooming. As one of the working papers published in the WSCF Journal (Vol. III, No. 1-2 1981) has pointed out, these movements are more concerned with issues outside of the workplace or with issues that struggle with the question of the capture of state power. And these movements tend to embody different and contradictory tendencies, some of which are progressive, others which are reactionary or traditional. And these movements too tend to cross traditional class boundaries, i.e. they tend to attract members from different social classes, with of ten the middle class or the petty bourgeois elements being the major protagonists of such movements.
These movements seek to bring about changes in the superstructure, without changes in the economic structure or the base. In other words, I would generally say that they wish a cultural revolution without economic or political revolution.
MOVEMENTS IN SOCIALIST SOCIETIES
What about the movements in the third category, the transitional
socialist societies? In these societies what has transpired with the
revolution are changes in the economic base without as yet concomitant changes
in the social and political relations. To put it in another way, the economic
revolution has not yet been accompanied by the necessary social, political and
cultural revolution. It is one thing to change the legal concept of private
property or the legal concept of ownership, and another thing altogether to be
able to institute a genuine democratic control of the means of production in
society as well as the labor processes in society. For the concept of capital,
I think, embodies two dimensions: the legal dimension and the social dimension,
and it is not sufficient to just change legal ownership without bringing about
changes in the social relations of production. What we are witnessing in
The Cultural Revolution in
not without complications and setbacks to say the least. But they do represent important experiences in the process of transition from capitalism to socialism. And these transformations which are taking place before our eyes are of great importance. I think we have to pay attention to them. It is especially necessary to try to understand these phenomena and the crisis that are encountered in these transitions lest we fall prey to a complete cynicism and disillusionment that has faced much of the left, especially in the Western countries.
I have appended the word 'transitional' to the socialist societies on
purpose, because I wish to underscore the point that they are in the process of
transformation from one type of society i.e. capitalist society, to another
type, the socialist type. If we take a historical perspective, such
transformations do not come about in 10 years or even 50 years. They come about
in terms of centuries. Just as we saw the transition from feudalism, to
capitalism in Western Europe spanning a period of 500 years, we can and should
expect the transitions of which we are
witnessing the beginnings to go on for hundreds of years and as I said,
that it suffers in the process many setbacks and difficulties, much of which
comes from international hostility from the capitalist system and some of it
from social forces within the country. In this regard, I am reminded of an
anecdote where a Western radical visiting
Let me return to discussion of some of the specific social movements in terms of their origins and implications and how we ought to understand them. I will basically just touch on some of the religious movements and the human rights movements, leaving out the other movements which are beyond my own skills for discussion.
Let us begin by considering religious movements, particularly the
Islamic revival, which is sweeping across the Middle East or West Asia, and
Take the case of
Similar features can be discerned with the resurgence of Islamic
These religious movements that I have mentioned would challenge both Christians as well as Marxists to rethink and reformulate their conventional ideas about religion in general and Islam in particular. The orthodox view of Islam as nothing but an archaic and atavistic movement is as inaccurate as the view that religion is simply the opium of the people. Depending on historical conditions, religion can be the chemical, which allows the masses to sleep or the chemical that catalyzes them to undertake social transformation. The above discussion is not to deny that religious life has no reality other than its underlying social political circumstances. But it is to recognize that an understanding of popular religion and the heavenly requires an analysis of popular rights and the mundane and earthly. What finds expression and gets affirmed through religion is often the human experiences and reality of the believers themselves.
AUTHORITARIANISM AND REPRESSION
Let me turn to one more phenomenon, a movement of great concern to many of us, the resurgence
authoritarianism and repression in both peripheral capitalist countries and in
advanced capitalist societies, and the response in terms of the human rights
movements. I think it is important for us to understand the question of human
rights from a structural perspective rather than from a personal perspective.
In particular, I don't think actions of particular presidents or national leaders
have much bearing on the cause of human rights. In the last few decades we have
increasingly witnessed the painful experience, some of them personal to many
of us here, of repression wrought on the people and movements in peripheral
capitalist societies. The SCMs in
These widespread currents of human rights abuse, is related to the crisis of world capitalism as manifested in inflation, growing labor unrests, unemployment, and the crisis of profitability. It has forced capital to internationalize its production structures, i.e. it has begun to relocate in bits and pieces certain processes of its manufacturing process to the peripheral capitalist countries. It is a crisis, which has forced capital to go out and set up production structures in the third world societies. On the other hand, there are crises that also impinge on the ruling class of the peripheral capitalist societies, the failure of these peripheral capitalist societies to raise the standard of living of their people, to increase agricultural productivity to provide employment to the burgeoning surplus labor that is thrown from the countryside, to reduce inequality of income distribution - all this presents a crisis and a threat to these oligarchic regimes.
The answer to these problems is sought in what is now termed as export
oriented industrialization, which we find for example in
The regime finds it cannot afford to tolerate political freedom.
Instead, it has to ensure so-called industrial peace, political stability and
public order: euphemisms for dictatorship and repression. The erosion of
democratic rights is making its way as I stated earlier into advanced
capitalist societies. And this is clearly stated in the report of the
trilateral commission, which recommended among other things a curtailment of
civil liberties in Europe, the
Let me end here by just making some observations about student movements and movements, which are issue-oriented rather than class-oriented, their nature, their strengths and their weaknesses. I take it that the main theme of the conference "Come, let us rise up and build together" assumes a commitment to the building of God's Kingdom on earth. The more problematic question is how to do that, what strategy do we use and how are we to relate to one another in the process of this construction?
The WSCF has as its main constituency, students. Then what is the role
of student movements in this process of social transformation? Students as a
social group and not a class, posses some particular characteristics, which I
think give it its strengths as well as weaknesses. First, they are a transitory
community drawn from all social classes, thrown for a short period of their
lives into a situation where they share their life experiences and
expectations. As such, they are yet unattached to any class and have no
specific class interest. They are filled with idealism that can easily be
mobilized to support a variety of social causes. It is therefore not surprising
to find that they are often the avantgarde of protest
movements. We have witnessed this in Western Europe in the 60's, and in
continuing ways in
Furthermore, many graduate into middle class positions in society and loose their idealism as rapidly as they picked it up. This political and social reality of student movements must be grasped and thoroughly taken into account. It calls into question the limited yet valuable role that students can play in the building of society. Particularly, I think that it is not possible for students by themselves to bring about any major social transformation. They need to be necessarily linked up to the other more permanent movements in this task. I do not believe I can give an adequate answer to some of the questions I have raised and neither do I believe they can be answered adequately from a theoretical point of view. I think we must involve in our political practice the metaphor, which we have adopted in this conference: in order to build together we need to join our hands.
I am happy to be invited by the WSCF Asia-Pacific to this
It is important for us here to grasp a clear understanding of the concept and the historical origins of human rights so that we can better understand the Asian realities, the struggles of our people, ourselves, our purpose and ongoing tasks in our commitment to justice and social transformation.
I will lay the framework of the concepts and leave to you the specifics of experience of how human rights is respected, practiced and violated in each of the Asian countries from where you come. This is for you to share as a contribution to the understanding of others here. You will have a better experience of your situation and a much deeper understanding of your national history and realities. I must impress upon you to interpret the cause of your own people and to put that cause on the international agenda of discussion to bring attention and justice to your own people. The struggle of your own people is mighty and heroic because of the very limited resources they can mobilize against the great machinery of oppression and repression.
May I also warn ourselves that it is very comfortable and perhaps indulgent for us here to talk about our concern, participation and witness unless we see that struggles as our very own. As is often, we have been called to the struggle as a matter of conscience and to play that little role within our means. Many of us are indeed so very privileged and by that privilege are so alienated from the struggles of our own people. Unless we see ourselves as a part of our own people just as oppressed as they are and integrate with them, we will never truly get involved and find our commitment sustained.
THE CONCEPT OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN CONTRAST TO THE POPULAR UNDERSTANDING
Many of us, though Asians, come from a Judeo-Christian tradition, through Western-oriented education, religious belief and observance, and also hold highly self-centered individualistic value system. We tend to view human rights as evidenced at the point of deprivations and violations of fundamental civil liberties. The bodily harms, disappearances and deaths without accountability disturbs and hurts our conscience, insults our sense of intelligence and justice.
In our abhorrence of cruelty beyond reason from whom we entrust the enforcement of justice, we invariably involve ourselves in the cause of the individual to free him from suffering and threat to his life. We urge respect of constitutional rights, the rule of law and the accordance of justice. We work towards the cause of human rights aiming at nation-building, conflict resolution and state-people reconciliation. We appeal to the regime to grant amnesty to those condemned or incarcerated especially with whom we identify and whom we believe to be innocent of alleged political crimes. Such work, is very much appreciated and need to be continued.
Samuel Ho is Executive Secretary for
It is not just politics alone but the socio-economic conditions of Asian realities and the experience of the oppressed people that provide for the emergence of leaders and change motivators who find political articulation, forms and actions that lead to situations of conflicts. The majority of our people who suffer deprivation, dispossesion or disinheritance, subordination and marginalization, and the articulate among them who suffer political repression or incarceration for their commitment are not naive nor innocent. They have a cause. Precisely because of that cause and their deep-rooted commitment to the aspirations and social transformation for a just, dignified and democratic society, they have staked their lives and suffered the price. To this effect, we are called not to simply join them as leaders or followers but to share their aspirations and struggles.
When the West speaks of human rights, as is seen in Carter's human
rights campaign, it is basically aimed at asserting the continued US domination
of the world having to its exclusion geographical areas of political, economic
and cultural influence. The campaign was never intended by Carter or the
The struggles of our people in
THE HISTORICAL ORIGINS OF HUMAN RIGHTS
The understanding of human rights must take into consideration the struggles of the people in a particular historical period. The content and its expression differs from time to time and society to society.
While slavery may have ended in the
Today, arising from slavery, from feudalism and from colonialism, the
people in Asia, Africa and
What do all these struggles actually mean? How do we understand these struggles? Let us trace the historical origins of human rights.
Historically, the slogan of human rights was first raised in the feudal
Human rights then became a powerful tool in bringing down feudalism. As a political program, claiming the rights for all people, it was only universal in form. Although certain fundamental changes were achieved in the structure of society, where the bourgeosie wedged themselves in between the monarchy and the people, the majority of the common people remained as they were. They continued to be oppressed and exploited. They toiled and labored absolutely unconscious of their rights.
Human rights then meaning fundamental civil liberties or individual rights got written into the constitution of various European nations. Only the bourgeosie enjoyed the rights and privileges in the succeeding capitalist society based on individual efforts and initiatives in free competition to amass private property and maximum profits.
The emergence of capitalism together with the industrial revolution in
individual. Though the rights thus won may be individualistic, they are a step forward and an achievement in the progress of Mankind.
Human rights is then taken to mean freedom of choice, freedom of enterprise, freedom of trade, freedom of contract – or basically, the right to privilege, to property, to private ownership, to amass wealth, the right to buy and sell, and the right to hire and fire. In this new market system, there developed new laws and new mechanisms that determine the political and socio-economic relations between people. The laws and mechanisms, through which the market is regulated are actively promoted by those who benefited from it most. In the fierce competition, new structures and institutions – social, political, economic; culture, religion, education, law, military – are also developed and erected to protect those vested interests. In the search for advantage, profit and property, status and privilege, people could now be distinguished between minority and majority, masters and slaves, employers and employees, buyers and sellers, exploiter and exploited, colonizer and colonized, oppressor and oppressed. From this, also arises, discriminations and intolerances sexism, racism, religious fanaticism, and chauvinism.
Exploitative relations do not merely consist of physical objects existing independently of their ownership but in the actual social relations and also production-distribution relations between people and between nations. Property and therefore production confers on its owners’ freedom from labor and the disposal over the labor of others. This is the essence of social domination, oppression and violations of human rights.
In the ensuing colonial rivalries that resulted in the First and Second World Wars, many people were outraged by the atrocities committed by the Europeans against themselves and by the colonial powers against the people colonized. Human rights again became a powerful weapon in international political struggles and a criterion in international law and covenants. They were thus written into the Universal Declaration on Human Rights of the United Nations in 1948.
Thus when speaking of human rights, people who grew up or are educated in the western tradition often stress on the rights of the individuals or fundamental civil liberties as enshrined in the Magna Carta (British, 1215), the Bill of Rights (U.S., 1776-89), the Rights of Man (French, 1789), and even in the Universal Declaration, (United Nations, 1948). Even the modern constitutions of Asian countries, which are virtually carbon copies of the constitutions of their former colonial masters, have these rights included in them.
The concept and perspective, struggles and actions on human rights are a
reflection of the material conditions existing in the particular society. In
the advanced industrialized society, the majority of the people live with
reasonable securities of life – life itself, employment, food, shelter, health,
etc. But in the poor and backward
countries of Asia and the
INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS VS COLLECTIVE RIGHTS
In Asian and
When speaking of human rights, the oppressed people mean therefore their collective rights – their rights as a people, their rights as a nation. It does not mean to say that individual rights are no longer important, nor an issue. But when the large majority of people in Asia are politically subordinated and victimized, and deprived of the basic necessities of life by the few who amass power, wealth and privileges to themselves, it becomes clear that the interests of the majority are diametrically opposed to the few, and their rights violated by the few. Furthermore, foreign power interests (financial capital, investments, arms merchants, military grants and development aids) that seek the collaboration of indigenous power elites act equally to violate the interests of the majority. As such, foreign investments in Asian countries, economic and military assistance to the present governments, only serve to enhance and consolidate the power of repressive regimes. The national power elites in their self-aggrandizement act on behalf of foreign interests to oppress and exploit the majority of the people.
Even the repressive regimes in
Those persons-dissidents and radicals, who are critical of the corruptive powers of the ruling elite and the distorted socio-economic order, who demand accountability and justice, and who lead the majority of the people in asserting their rights are thus considered as "subversives", if not "communists", and are dealt with in accordance to the law instantaneously erected by the reactionary regimes. From the perspective of the majority of the people, their basic interests have been subordinated and their rights deprived and violated.
THE STRUGGLES OF THE ASIAN PEOPLE
The struggle for human rights among people in the Asian and other
The people in
Individual rights cannot be considered as ends in themselves in
grappling with Asian realities and the problems of the Asian people. They can
only be a means toward justice and social transformation of Asian societies.
Human rights concern and efforts though start with the focus on the individuals
cannot be expanded nor raised to the majority collective. There can be no
neutrality in human rights. Human rights are political in nature because of
its provision for the collective interests of the people in
Gospel Text: Luke 4: 16-22:
and on the Sabbath he went as usual to the synagogue.
He stood up to read the Scriptures
and was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the place where It is written,
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has chosen me to bring
good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to
and recovery of sight to the blind;
to set free the oppressed
and announce that the time has come
when the Lord will save his people."
Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. All the people in the synagogue had their eyes fixed on him, as he said to them, "This passage of
Scripture has come true today, as you heard it being read." They were all well impressed with him and marveled at the eloquent words that he spoke. They said, "Isn't he the son of Joseph?"
My presentation is not a systematic one but represents fragmented reflections on my involvements in various issues that have arisen in my life situation.
I would like to begin talking about myself. Christianity came to me
through a Japanese teacher who was a Christian. Thus, I was nurtured, in the
Japanese church. This experience contributed two elements to the development
of my thoughts – one, positive and the other negative. The positive element is
that Christianity has a universal truth, which embraces every human being,
including both Japanese and Koreans. At the same time, I learned that
Christianity adapted to the trends of the time. This was the time of the
Second World War, and the
Right after the war, the call came to me to serve my own people who were
liberated from Japanese colonial domination. I made a decision to go into
theological training. At the same time, I decided to join the Korean Christian
Lee is pastor of
However, this new understanding remained mere knowledge. My theological training in Japanese school, which was western – oriented, alienated me from our people who were suffering.
Three experiences had great impact on me and enabled me to break
through. The first of them is an event, which occurred about twelve years ago.
My church was celebrating the 60th anniversary of its mission among the Koreans
The second impact came form my involvement in the ecumenical movement. I was invited to serve the WCC's Program to Combat Racism as a commissioner. The church has always issued statements that racism is wrong and against God's will but it has never done anything about it. Through this program, the church expresses its solidarity in a more concrete way with the oppressed. This experience was very enlightening to me.
The third impact came from my involvement in the struggle of a Korean
youth, called Mr. Park for correcting the injustice done by a large electric
The impact of these three experiences challenged me to ask: what does
my theology mean today? My conclusion is that we must listen to the word of God
in the actual historical context. We sometimes think that we have to establish
our faith first and then go into the situation to work as Christians. If this
is the case, faith remains abstract. We have to encounter Jesus in our own life
situation and listen to the word in that particular context. Otherwise, faith
becomes abstract and meaningless. The late Prof. Mori Arimasa
says "Faith is not merely experience; it comes from beyond the
experience." Nevertheless, faith without experience, is not true faith. Bonhoeffer talks of the "Ultimate" and the
"penultimate". I don't mean that the historical situation has
ultimate meaning but the ultimate language has to be listened to in the
historical situation. That is to say we have to listen to God who is working in
history, to encounter Jesus Christ through whom God is working in history. If
that is true, what will be my people's situation? What does it mean for the
In this context, when we listen to the Scriptures – both Old & New Testaments, there we encounter the vivid and fresh word of God. For instance, in the Book of Exodus, God heard the cries of the oppressed people. God revealed Himself in the effort to free his people from the Egyptians. In the Book of Isaiah [ch:40] we read the text telling us of the liberation of the people who were under the Babylonian regime. I shall read the first verse. " 'Comfort my people' says our God. 'Comfort them' ". We sometimes hear this at the time of Christmas without looking at it as an address to the people in bondage – the forgotten people. Amos says, “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream”. The prophet discerns justice as God’s will”.
Rev. In-Ha Lee leading the Biblical-Theological session.
In the Gospels, Jesus stands in front of the people and introduces God's Kingdom in the language of the Nazarene Declaration (Lk.4) Paul, in his letter to the Romans, talks about the "righteousness" of God. He doesn't deal with pure moral concept. It is the concept of the right relationships between God and people, which always requires the right relationship between people and people. Paul talks about the reconciliation of the people. He does not mean that two people become friendly. He talks, in his letter to Corinthians (2Cor 8:9) of a different kind of exchange ['Reconciliation' means "exchange" in Greek] that is taking place in a reconciling event – that the rich become poor and the poor become rich. In the Song of Mary or the Magnificat (Luke 1:51 - 53) this aspect is revealed.
When we accept this message in our contexts, we have to seriously discuss the structural evil rooted between the oppressors and the oppressed. We cannot participate in the combating of this structural evil with mere individual sympathy. The structural evil is interwoven into the social, political and economic systems. The power of the Gospel has to completely reshape these relationships. We are asked to take up the task of being 'change-agents' in this situation.
I am aware of the criticism of such an understanding of the Bible. Critics say, it is very selective. And this criticism is directed towards the theology of liberation and contextual theology. But we have to bear in mind that the redemptive history found in the Scriptures itself is very selective. We see in the Gospels in the Kingdom, which Jesus speaks of, that the least child, the weakest woman, sinners and tax collectors, the alienated and neglected, those despised by the majority of the society were considered first. And then Jesus dined with these people and he was considered as one of these people because of his behavior. Prof. Arai Shashaku talks about the "importance of the behavior of Jesus." In recent New Testament studies, the question of historicity of Jesus is raised. Of course, we can doubt some aspects of the life of Jesus - whether it was historically true or not. But we cannot doubt one thing: that Jesus dined with the poor, the despised and the oppressed of his own society. In his behavior, he points out that the last comes first, the first comes last. This is the real truth of God's Kingdom.
The question arises, "Is God only for the oppressed?" Prof
James Cone, the black theologian while in
Let me conclude my talk with the eschatological perspective of history.
We are always trapped in a small world when we talk of the minority or the
marginalized. In 1974, the Korean Christian Church in
Rev. David Rodriguez chairing a session. To his right are Ann Ng and Frans Allolerung and Stephen Payton on his left.
Therefore, we are dealing with the future of humanity, and in this
sense with eschatology - a city in which all things are made new as described
in Revelations 21. We have to envisage a new vision. That suggestion, we find
in the Book of Revelation. We are involved in this eschatological event and
this is why we can courageously deal with these issues. At the same time, such
a vision means that our concerns are a challenge, not merely to particular
nations, but to the whole world. The proclamation of the Gospel uttered by
Jesus was the promise of the coming of God's Kingdom. In its value judgment,
human life is understood upside down - the least, weakest and oppressed are
considered first. The restoration of the minorities from oppression is
promised. All nations and peoples are allowed to bring their honors and glories
Concern for human rights must be directed towards understanding, appreciating and supporting the just struggles of the people for liberation to free themselves from all oppressive and stifling forces internally and externally. Campaigns on human rights should be directed towards correcting the many wrongs and injustices committed in the past, correcting the unequal relations of the present, restoring justice and dignity to the people and to the nation; and not merely dealing with particular and isolated cases (arrests, detentions, trials, tortures, deaths and prison conditions of the individuals) in isolation of the context of historical development, existing social structures and international relations, nor simply the abandonment if not the continued interference and manipulation of the Asian people (as in China in 1949 and Indochina in 1975).
Let me therefore reiterate. Political and individual rights are important and essential in this historical period of the Asian people’s struggle. They are by no means an end in themselves. It is in the collective rights of the people can we achieve a purposeful and accountable society where there is human dignity, justice and equality, self – determination and self – reliance, and socio – economic advancement.
Japan, the first victim of an atomic bombing 35 years ago, was expected to share and support the Pacific islanders' desire for a nuclear-free Pacific. It was a great shock, therefore, for the Pacific people to learn of the Japanese government's plan to dump nuclear waste into the pacific waters.
This article by YAMAKA JUNKO first appeared in
AMPO, the quarterly review of the Pacific-Asia Resource Centre,
HISTORICAL AVERSION TO NUCLEAR POWER
March 1st, called "Bikini Day" in
But it was not only time that the
The islands, which were used as nuclear testing grounds are scattered throughout the Pacific, the residents of which were often summarily evicted.
The history of the Pacific region in the last several centuries was that
of colonization and imperialist rule over the Islanders by western powers one
after another, such as
Therefore, nuclear-free independence became the earnest desire of the
Pacific Island people and they expressed this desire and determination firmly
in the Nuclear-Free People's Charter adopted at the Nuclear-Free Pacific
Conference '80 held in Hawaii in May of that year. And the people of
The aversion to all uses of nuclear power, whether weapons or "peaceful" is common to people throughout the Pacific. It supplies the drive
against the Japanese plan to dump its waste from nuclear plants in that region.
When it conducted a safety evaluation study, it drew the conclusion that this would have no adverse effect on human beings.
This "confirmation" of the safety of the plan is ludicrous, however, since it is admitted that the sea bottom is more unknown than the surface of the moon. It can be assumed from the example of the nuclear waste dumped into the Pacific a short distance off the coast of San Francisco by the U.S. government between 1946 and 1965, that the drums will break open and the waste enter the food chain in a matter of a few decades. These radioactive materials, however, have a half-life (the time it takes radioactive elements to break down half its amount into non-radioactive ones) of anywhere from 30 to 24,000 years, depending on what it is. These wastes will be present and dangerous for eons, yet the Agency claimed that the leaks from the broken drums would be so diluted by the vast sea that human damage would be minimal.
The large amount of radiation at this one site will irradiate the small plankton on which small fish feed which in turn will be eaten by larger fish, which will be eaten finally by humans. In the food chain, dilution does not occur, but rather a concentration of toxic substances.
Since the diet of all Pacific people depends heavily on seafood, there will be a high buildup of irradiated foods in humans, as the case of Minamata shows with mercury. The currents in this area generally drift, south as well as the highly migratory tuna and skipjack, and Micronesians fear that they will be affected by this dumping. The report's failure to take into account the cumulative affects of radiation from various sources, often not appearing for years after the damage has been done, i.e. the food chain, the atomic testing in Micronesia, and the presence of nuclear facilities and submarines there, is crucial.
In terms of legal preparations for the dumping the Japanese government readjusted related domestic laws and ratified the London Treaty of 1972 in January 1980. This treaty concerns the control of ocean dumping and ratification was a necessary step for the execution of the plan. The Diet approved it in the spring of 1980, taking effect on November 14. The only step left was informing the Nuclear Energy. Agency of OECD of the details of the plan one year prior to the actual execution, so that it can be carried out under the supervision of that council.
REACTION IN THE PACIFIC
The Japanese government, however, did not even inform the people who
would be directly affected by the dumping, let alone ask for their consent.
This applied even to
The people in the Marianas formed the Marianas Alliance against Nuclear
Dumping in March based in
At the World Conference Against the Atomic & Hydrogen Bombs held in
With this "unexpected" protest by the Pacific people the Japanese government finally began to take measures in August by sending "scientific" missions to explain the plan and make these people "understand" the Japanese situation. It is typical behavior for an imperialist government to not even notice the people until there is some protest, as was the case with Sanrizuka farmers who were forced to
their land, their source of livelihood, for the new Tokyo International
Airport. The first mission led by the Atomic Energy Safety Bureau Vice –
Director, Goto Hiroshi, went to
The summit conference ended with a resolution demanding that the
Japanese government immediately cancel the dumping plan, pointing out that
such a plan would, contaminate the sea, threaten marine resources, and destroy
the ecology of the sea. The Japanese government sent three other missions to
the region during October and November but they were also complete failures. It
was said that
The bitter cry of the
During October, two Chamorros from the Mariana
The Japanese government, which originally planned to start its
"experimental" cumping in the fall of 1981,
has been forced to postpone its execution beyond the 1981 fiscal year. It could
not notify the OECD's Nuclear Energy Agency last fall of the concrete details.
This was because the "scientific delegation" sent four times to the
However, the government has not abandoned the plan. Early this year the ruling LDP declared in its 1981 policy statement that securing energy was the most important national task, meaning that nuclear energy promotion, with an eye to building 25 more plants by 1990 is a priority. For that purpose, it openly stated that it intends to crush the opposition movement. As long as there are nuclear plants and more to be built, the government has no choice but to dump their waste somewhere, and most conveniently into the sea. The government has expressed various views about the execution of the plan. One is a hard line voice: "We will never give up the plan even if the countries concerned do not consent to it". The other is a more prudent one: "We will not enforce the plan in disregard of the opposition". Though the attitude of the government to its power relationship with the opposition movement, its real intention is: "We will never withdraw the plan."
The Japanese government, therefore, is now thinking of a new means to
accomplish this. The Science and Technology Agency is planning to invite
delegates from the
However, the Pacific Islanders have not been duped. They continue to call for the complete cancellation of the plan. Ignacio Anastacio, a 29 year old Congressperson of the newly born Republic of Belau (Palau) expressed this during a rally held on February 28 in Tokyo, in commemoration of the March 1 Nuclear-Free Pacific Day. He proudly said that, "We created a constitution which bans possession, storage or
use of all nuclear materials in our lands and waters, which should be a
model for the world. The time is past when the big powers can have their way
with the little people. If
On March 8, the residents of Kubokawa, a small town in
ONLY PART OF THE PICTURE
Moreover, the Japanese nuclear industry is scheming to export small-sized reactors to Southeast Asian countries. These projects are to be promoted in the name of "Pan - Pacific Nuclear Cooperation", which is the keystone to the "Pan-Pacific Community Concept" that the Japanese rulers are now pushing as a national strategy. If we allow the government to proceed with the nuclear dumping, it will pave the way not only for other nuclear projects, but also for the "Pan - Pacific Community Concept", which will further exploit the natural resources and people of the Pacific. This will in turn, finally lead all humanity into destruction.
The nuclear dumping issue clearly delineates the greedy imperialist who only pursues his own profits in disregard of people and nature, and the people as represented by Pacific Islanders, who seek a life of harmony with nature, the real root of humankind's existence, and challenge any power of destruction. Who will win will be shown by the history ahead of us.
Whereas, nuclearization is an integral consequence of imperialism, which requires the militarization of our region.
Whereas, nuclearization refers not only to the
deployment of nuclear weapons and their guidance systems, but also to the use
of nuclear energy for so called
peaceful purposes. The mining of uranium in
(a) Therefore, we, the representatives of the SCMs throughout the Asia / Pacific region, gathered in Tokyo during the week, which marks the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 36 years ago proclaim our determination to oppose the nuclearization of our region and to diligently participate in the establishment of a Nuclear-Free Pacific as a first step to a nuclear free world.
(b) We call on the General Assembly of the WSCF to take up this whole issue with great urgency.
(c) We urge the Japanese government to
provide social welfare for Korean victims of the bombing of
(d) We urge the national member movements especially those from countries, which are involved in uranium mining, nuclear power production, the hosting of nuclear weapons or weapons guidance system, to actively participate in anti-nuclear action groups in their countries.
(e) We request the W.S.C.F.
regional office to participate in the efforts of anti-nuclear groups in the
region, particularly Jishu-Koza (
(f) That the W.S.C.F. protests to the all nuclear powers against nuclear activity in all regions.
(g) We support the efforts of the Pacific Conference of Churches in distributing in formation and worship materials about the building-up of a Nuclear Free pacific.
Australian Aborigines will tell you that they have lived in
The occupation and colonization of
What was the role of the church in the early colonization of
Rebecca Bishop, a student in
A damning criticism of the church made by many Aborigines, who are the ones who have experienced its endeavors, is that it deliberately attempted to destroy the culture, families and initiative of the Aboriginal people. The church took the lead in separating children from their parents, in the interests of educating them in "civilized" ways, although some state governments later followed suit. It also split up clans among various missions so that communication and maintenance of the culture became impossible. Because the traditional culture was destroyed, and no responsibility given in the new way of life, some Aborigines had their initiative sapped from them.
Aborigines have been retaliating against their unjust treatment since the first European invasion. Some moved to avoid confiscation of their children, (which occurred well into this century under the approval of the church); others repayed crime for crime, vocalized their complaints, or quietly kept the stories of their maltreatment to themselves.
Such retaliation has not been noticed, especially by whites but also by some Aborigines. One on the most damaging things to occur has been the loss of pride in themselves by some Aborigines. Whether this is only external I don't know, but it gives the appearance of being a deep-seated attitude. I have had some sorrowing experiences of Aborigines asking me the simplest things, for which I know they had the answers, merely because I have a white skin. This dormant cultural base, where it exists, means that there is no apparent reason to bother with things. It has developed because of a continual bombardment by whites with statements and insinuations that Aborigines are inferior, coupled with a lack of opportunities in the new society. There are also numerous instances of groups being forcibly moved, sometimes several times, from the land, which sustained them, at the whims of white authorities.
There has been in the last decade a much more widespread movement among
Aborigines to take charge of their own affairs. This had its seeds much earlier,
but it was first brought to the public's attention with the establishment of
the Aboriginal Embassy on the lawn in front of Parliament House,
The destruction of traditional Aboriginal society has been accompanied by the development of new cultural and societal forms, such as the Aboriginal services. These are regarded by most Aborigines as being truly Aboriginal, but are often not recognized as such by the white community. This impinges on Aborigines in (non-traditional) urban and fringe-dwelling situation when they find they cannot get funding for the programs they desire to implement. This is either because of overt racism or ignorance, where the group in question is considered as not Aboriginal, or because the low profile of Aboriginal issues in the public consciousness ensures that they have little electoral clout and low priority in funding decisions. Sporadic funding for programs is another problem. Waiting for the yearly decision on funds reinforces the dependency self-image, unless countered by stories to the contrary, as in the case of the Aboriginals services. Some groups have dealt with this by refusing to accept (Federal Government) Department of Aboriginal Affairs funding, or by requesting unemployment benefits to be paid as block "Community Development Grants". Others have demanded that a fixed percentage of G.N.P. (and therefore of Federal, State and even Local Government budgets), be set aside annually for Aborigines. This funding would then be seen as a right and could be counted on in the future.
These two problems are symptoms of the attitudes, which many white Australians
hold about Aborigines. They are regarded by many as inferior and incapable of
managing their own affairs. This has become less overt in recent times, but it
is still present where management (and government departments) specify the
guidelines within which Aborigines must operate. And it is still openly present in the state
The present situation is still appalling and shocking, in many areas. Infant mortality rates are similar to those found in many third world countries and are three times the Australian average; leprosy, malnutrition and trachoma, (a preventable disease leading to blindness) flourish. These can be removed only with the provision of adequate housing, water, public utilities and appropriate education. Yet many white Australians are apathetic and uninformed about these conditions, and what would be done about them. The essential element is that Aborigines design services to suit their needs. As mentioned above, they are beginning to deal with these problems, but they need support from the wider community to obtain sufficient funds.
The church's current responses and attitudes vary considerably. Some
have taken public stands in support of Aborigines, when governments have been
attempting to use force against them, often to permit mining on their reserve
or leased land. The Noonkanbah case is the most
recent example, and it will be further discussed below. Others are becoming
more aware of the need to support Aborigines, and to find out first hand about
their situation. Still others are much as they have always been, unaware and
uncaring, or actively racist.
own societal values, and hiring any expertise deemed necessary. A recent W.C.C. delegation, which visited
The challenge facing both those in the church and the larger community is basically, to enable and allow Aboriginal people to continue to determine their own future. The first issue facing us is to pressure the Federal Government to give legal, inalienable title to reserves and missions to the communities reside on them. In only two states of Australia does any semblance of land rights exist, and there are moves to further weaken the legislation so that mining can occur against the community's wishes. Compensation for destruction and dispossession to "urban" Aborigines, to give them a base from which to build their new society, is also necessary. The N.S.W. Select Committee on Aborigines has stated that the achievement of land rights is expected to bring improvements in the areas of health, education, and employment. Aborigines assert that land rights is fundamental, but must not be used as a final payment to Aborigines when their situation is so appalling. Existing programs of the various governments are often carried out in a spirit of "doing things for them", which has in the past caused so much damage. The attitudes of the white community need continual reeducation, to allow us to be sensitive and sympathetic to the needs of Aborigines, and to change our oppressive actions.
There have been several episodes in the last few years, which illustrate the oppressive impact of Australian society on Aborigines, to this very day. One is the continued encroachment by (mainly multinational) mining companies on Aboriginal reserves or pastoral leases. The most recent, which received international publicity, was at Noonkanbah. This community had been operating a cattle station successfully for several years, and established other services such as an Aboriginal-run school, before the Western Australian Government issued permits for oil exploration. The subsequent adverse publicity, which had not been anticipated in the government's attempt to use this as a precedent for further development, did not stop Amax, the company involved, from drilling on the land in close proximity to sacred sites, with the promise of disruption of the community's way of life should drilling proceed.
A second development occurring at this time is the proposed repeal of the Aborigines Act 1971-1979 and the Torres Strait Islander Act 1971-1979 by the Queensland government. Although these acts contain much that is discriminatory and unsatisfactory, it appears that when the Acts are repealed, the reserves of Queensland will be degazetted, and will be resumed as land owned by the government. There are several mining and tourist developments proposed for existing reserves, should this happen, and nothing to stop these from continuing to occur in the future.
Thirdly, the Federal Government is following a policy of decentralizing government functions, and handing back authority in Aboriginal Affairs to the state governments. This is seen as unacceptable by the Aboriginal people, and it goes against the mandate given to the Federal Government in a constitutional amendment in 1967, which was passed by an overwhelming majority.
These examples show that despite some small-scale movements at some levels of society toward recognizing the rights of Aborigines, to which land rights is central, the Federal Government and the structures of society are continuing to impede progress. Again it must be emphasized that these receive implicit approval from the majority of white Australians, who do not make their disapproval felt, if it exists at all.
One might say that the A.S.C.M. has played a stimulative, if minor, role in assisting the Aboriginal struggle to date. Many of the most sympathetic and informed people in the church, and some in the government, were once members of ASCM. The impact of these people on the situation, while generally helpful, is miniscule when compared with the enormity of public ignorance. Presently it is involved in pushing for reforms, along with groups like Action for World Development. It can continue to work in those areas of immediate need, such as the N.S.W. land rights legislation and the Queensland situation. However, I would urge ASCMers to listen to Aborigines, to learn about them and from them, and to consult with them, so that future changes will be those that Aborigines desire. Education in the white community is the largest area in which we can make an impact, and it is one of the most important to stop the continued destruction, which is occurring, and to release resources for Aborigines' use.
In the beginning there was the "dreamtime", says the Aboriginal book of Genesis, in which spirits rose miraculously from the earth and sea to bring life, language and laws to the land. So the Aborigines came to occupy Australia, to share the land among tribes and clans and create a complex culture, structured around sacred totems and paintings.
Then only two centuries ago came the first white man.
Since then we have been slowly losing our culture, our tribal territory and our life, until finally we have become outcasts in our own land.
- an Australian Aborigine
This background information on the crisis in Caribbean
and central America was sent to us by the National Interim Committee of the NESC and the WSCF North America Region with an urgent
appeal to “raise our voices against the very real threat of
All indications are that the Reagan administration is steering a
radically new course in Central America and the
It is becoming increasingly clear that this is a policy fraught with danger and heightens the possibility of military entanglements. Moreover, it is being pursued in total absence of a public debate of its implications. The circumstances are uncomfortably reminiscent of how we stumbled into the Vietnam quagmire. In light of this, it is urgent to open that debate.
Since taking office, the Reagan administration has implemented several broad changes in U.S. policy toward Latin America, among them:
1. Reversing the trend toward normalization of relations
2. Normalizing relations with more repressive Latin American regimes such as Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Guatemala, which the Carter administration had pressured for change in the area of human rights.
3. Containing and stifling any movement toward social change in the region by labeling it "communist", "subversive" and "foreign-dominated" and relying increasingly on military, as opposed to political, solutions to social problems.
More recently, with its inability to resolve the growing crisis in El Salvador through military assistance and repression, the Reagan administration has taken a dangerous new turn. Over the last couple of weeks it has become evident that the Salvadorean military is not only unable to contain and defeat the rebels but that it is on the verge of a major military defeat as the rebel movement gains more popular support. The Pentagon has reportedly concluded that the war can only be won by devastating the country and killing large sectors of its population.
A second factor heightening the immediate crisis is the growing awareness in Washington that in order to reverse the Nicaraguan revolution the Sandinista movement must be dealt a decisive blow. The deteriorating situation in El Salvador and the consolidation of government power by the Sandinistas in Nicaragua has forced the administration to develop a series of extremely dangerous military options for the region, which include everything from the introduction of Latin American armies to Nicaragua and El Salvador to the sending of U.S. troops if this fails, with a concommitant blockade of and military action against Cuba. The indicators pointing to this extreme state of affairs include the following:
* Reported placement of military bases in
* Enlargement of the annual U.S. naval maneuvers in the Caribbean beyond their normal size, heightening Cuban and Nicaraguan fears that they will be used as a cover for military operations.
* Comments by Vice President George Bush during bilateral talks with several Latin American government officials that Washington in considering decisive action in the Caribbean and Central America.
* The exclusion of representatives of Nicaragua, Grenada and Guyana from a recent periodic meeting in Washington of the military and intelligence chiefs of Latin America, thereby heightening fear of a discussion of a coordinated military action.
* Reports of heavy pressure from Washington on Guatemala and Honduras to intervene militarily in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
* The curtailment of channels of dialogue between the U.S. and Cuba through the recall of Wayne Smith, head of the U.S. Interest Section in Havana, and the absence of Miles Frechette, head of the State Department's Cuba Desk, reportedly "on vacation" for two weeks.
* A dramatic increase in the level of anti-government activity in Nicaragua, paralleling the type of activity in Cuba preceding the Bay of Pigs invasion.
* The decision by Cuba, fearing military aggression, to mobilize the country for war the first such mobilization since the 1962 missile crisis.
* The reported massing of 6,000 - 8,000 mercenaries and ex-Somoza troops on the Honduran border with Nicaragua, heightening Nicaraguan fears of an invasion.
* The call by the alarmed Congressional Black Caucus for the administration to clarigy the facts as well as its intentions vis-a-vis its Caribbean / Central American policy.
If the Reagan administration continues to pursue this bellicose policy instead of seeking a political or negotiated settlement along lines, for instance, proposed by Mexico and France, three things seem imminent:
1. The loss of thousands of Latin American lives as the military situation escalates and becomes regionalized.
2. The increased possibility of involvement of U.S. troops in a regional conflict, with accompanying loss of many American lives.
3. In the event of an attempted blockade or attack on Cuba, the threat of a nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union, which is pledged to defend the island from aggression, and the concommitant threat of thermonuclear war.
Thus, it is crucial that the American Congress and public be fully informed of the Regan administration's intentions and, given the gravity and immediacy of the situation, there be a full public debate of this new foreign policy thrust. Our immediate challenge is to force the administration to drop all plans for aggression that will provoke a wider war in Central America and the Caribbean.
JAPANESE / FRENCH NUCLEAR IMPERIALISM
IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLES OF THE PACIFIC, WE RAISE OUR STRONGEST PROTEST AGAINST THESE INHUMAN ACTIONS BY THE TWO GOVERNMENTS.
WE STRONGLY URGE THAT THE GOVERNMENTS OF BOTH JAPAN AND FRANCE IMMEDIATELY CEASE AND UNCONDITIONALLY ABANDON THEIR NUCLEAR TESTING AND NUCLEAR WASTE DUMPING.
September 1, 1981
I appeal on behalf of the Peoples of the Pacific to all the citizens of
the world to help us in our campaign against the nuclear testing in the Pacific
Ocean, in particular, the French testing at Mururoa
Atoll in Polynesia, and the Japanese government's plan to dump its unwanted
nuclear wastes in the
For too long the Peoples of the Pacific have been denied the right to live in peace and harmony in our homeland environments because of the nuclear testing and similar activities. For instance, before the war, our lands were confiscated by foreign powers for use as military bases, and during the war, our islands were converted into a battlefield by foreign military powers. After the war, some of the islands have been used by the United States, Great Britain, and France as nuclear testing grounds. As a direct result of the war and nuclear tests, many people have been killed and many more are dying of cancer, leukemia, and other related incurable diseases.
The peoples of the Pacific have united in our campaign against nuclear testing and nuclear waste dumping in the ocean, and many Pacific Island Nations have taken positive and concrete steps in this campaign. The Republic of Belau has recently adopted a constitution that completely bans the use of nuclear power, nuclear testing, nuclear weapons, and other highly toxic chemicals within the land or water territory of Belau.
Nuclear waste dumping by Japan or any other country, and nuclear testing by France or any others in the Pacific Ocean are criminal acts of genocide committed upon the Peoples of the Pacific. Any destruction of the Islands or Ocean is an attack upon the Peoples, as we depend on our islands and surrounding waters for our daily survival.
Therefore, on behalf of the Peoples of the Pacific, I strongly appeal to all the citizens of the world to join in our campaign. We are counting on your support, for it is only with your support that we can stop these nuclear activities so that our children can live in peace.
I propose a worldwide petition campaign against the French nuclear testing and government's nuclear waste dumping plan in the Pacific.
J. Roman Bedor, Republic of Belau
"on behalf of the Peoples of the Pacific"
A WIFE'S AGONY AND HOPE
where is romy?
Dear Friends in the WSCF,
I am writing to request your support in pressing the Philippine government for the release of my husband, Romeo G. Crismo, who was picked up by plainclothesmen on August 12, 1980.
Following are the events prior to his disappearance:
In 1979, Romy was often visited by Captain Rodolgo Alvarado of the Military Intelligence Group while he was working at the Commission on Audit and teaching at St. Ferdinand College in Ilagan, Isabela. Captain Alvarado always taped his interviews with him.
Romy and I were married in March 1980. He was hospitalized on the day of our wedding for malignant malaria and black water fever. We stayed at the hospital for two months then moved to Tuguegarao in June 1980. Since then, we noticed a man who seems to be watching us whenever we leave the house or when we return home from work.
Students of Cagayan Teachers College where he was teaching at the time of his disappearance reported that they saw a group of plainclothesmen passing by and alternately peeping into his classroom while he was conducting classes on August 12, 1980. The men followed him from 2:00-5:00 pm. He went to St. Louis College for his evening class where students saw him in the campus and rushing to his classroom. That was the last time they saw him. Students and faculty members in the schools where he was teaching believe he was taken by the military.
His disappearance was reported to the Philippine Constabulary (PC), the National Bureau of Investigations (NBI), the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), the Integrated National Police (INP), Ministry of National Defense, National Church-Military Liaison, President Marcos, and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.
The Chief of Investigations of the PC Provincial Command in Cagayan assured me many times in the presence of witnesses that my husband is alive and I don't have to worry. He advised me to just wait for him to come back and not to go around asking people to locate him, or to help me.
An investigation was conducted by the Criminal Investigation Service in March this year. I was never informed of the result of the investigation but I was told no one was willing to testify because it is risky. The CIS legal officer advised me to change residence for security reasons.
In March 1981, the Ministry of National Defense issued a statement saying Romy was never arrested nor detained by the military in Cagayan but they will continue the search for him. On the same month, however, Romy was seen in a safe-house in Tuguegarao, Cagayan which belongs to the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP). The informant said he was later moved to Manila but he is not sure of the place. I made inquiries at the Ministry of National Defense but I was only met with uncertain statements.
I firmly believe that Romy is in the custody of the military, with all the indications and reports from reliable people in the military establishment. I have been following up the case and demanding that Romy's whereabouts be ascertained if they could not release him yet, without success.
The struggle is not mine or for Romy's family alone. I believe it is also for Christian and all who love truth and justice. That is why I come to you for support. Let us work for the immediate release of Romy by writing the military and President Marcos.
Thank you very much. More power as you continue to work for justice and human rights!
PHEBE GAMATA CRISMO
"God's Call To A New Beginning" was the theme of an ecumenical conference held recently (Oct. 2-7, 1981) in Montreal. Sponsored by the Canada-China Program of the Canadian Council of Churches, the meeting provided an opportunity for more than 150 participants from 25 countries to listen to and dialogue with a delegation of Catholic and Protestant Church leaders from the People's Republic of China. As the theme suggested, the conference was intended to usher in a new beginning in Relations between Churches in the West and the Church in China -- relations that would be based on mutual respect and solidarity rather than the domination that had characterized it in the past in some ways, it also initiated a new beginning in theological dialogue and critical sharing between Chinese Christians and Christians in other Third World countries.
While the delegations from the United States and Canada were the largest in number, there was substantial representation from Third World countries and at least 25% of the participants were women. Present were former missionaries to China, such as Ted Johnson, Jim Endicott and David Patton, as well as representatives of Missions Boards, theologians, executives of regional Church Conferences, lay people, academicians and social activists. The WSCF was represented by Ahn Jae Wong (Asia / Pacific) and Ketekou (Africa).
Conference organizers Ray Whitehead and Theresa Chu, steered participants through a tightly packed 6-day program that included a lecture on current political developments in China, 2 panel sessions on "Third World" theologies, a one-day session on the "Contextualization of theology" in Canada and several presentations by the Chinese delegates on "the Church in China". The panels and plenary sessions were followed by small workshop discussions. Despite the substantial program, participants were able to organize additional informal sessions several of which concerned woman. Jiang Pei-fen, the only woman delegate from China gracefully consented to a question-answer session on the status, role and activities of woman in the Church in China.
One of the highlights of the Conference was a simple but moving ecumenical worship service conducted in three languages (English, Chinese and French). It was a historic moment - for the Chinese delegates who acknowledged that it was the first time Chinese Catholics and Chinese Protestants had participated in an ecumenical service together. In fact, the Conference celebrated a number of "firsts": it was the first time for the Chinese Catholic delegates to attend an international conference outside of China in more than 20 years. It was the first ecumenical and international conference of its kind. It was the first time for many participants from various parts of the world to meet with Chinese Church representatives. The list could go on indefinitely but what was important was the hope among many participants that this was simply the prelude to further improvements in the ties between the Chinese Church and Churches elsewhere.
QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASK ABOUT CHINA TODAY
The delegates from China were: K.H.Ting, President of the China Christian council; Fu Teishan, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Beijing; Tu Shihua, Bishop of Hanyang; Wang Zi-cheng, vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of yaoyanq, chen Ze-ming, Vice-Principal of Nanking Union Theological College, Han Wenzao, Asst. General Secretary of the CCC- Jiang pei-Fen, president of the Jiangsu Christian Council; Shen Yi-fan, member of the Standing Committee of the CCC- and Zhao Fusan, Deputy Director of the Institute for the Study of World Religion, Beijing. Ms. Teresa Carino, teaches Political Science at De La Salle University, Philippines. This report was specially written for Praxis.
A session on the churches in China: Bishop Ting leads the discussion.
We were reminded by Dr. Lin that whatever our interests or aspirations for China may be, it was important to recognize and acknowledge that China first and foremost, "belongs" to the Chinese themselves. And what has remained fundamentally unchanged for the Chinese people today is their constant striving for independence and for the attainment of a more humane and equitable society. What Has changed is the conception of strategy and tactics in achieving this fundamental goal.
In the building of socialism in China, Dr. Lin pointed out that there must be a balance between the dual processes of economic growth and institutional and value changes. The Chinese have undergone the traumas of both errors -- that of either stressing too much economic growth or that of relying too much on changing values and institutions. Mao's error, what Lin describes as "forward socialization", lay in his attempt to move human values ahead of economic change. With the post-Mao leadership, Lin warned that the other error, that is, that of "forward specialization" might be committed. He concluded that it was too early to say that the current economic strategy would lead China towards capitalism. However, he believed that given the deep historical roots and power of the Chinese bureaucracy, the danger that might confront China in the future is the emergence of a new bureaucratic class and a form of "bureaucrat-socialism".
THEOLOGY IN CONTEXT
The secular orientation of the inaugural lecture shifted to a theological plane the following day when two panels with Third World representatives presented their views on "Theology in Context". Brief theological reflections were given by delegates from a wide range of "contexts": the Philippines, Haiti, China, the Carribean, India, Latin America, Korea, Women, etc. Among others, Oh Jae Shik talked about the "Minjung Theology" of Korean Christians, Serjio Torres summarized the Liberation Theology that had emerged in Latin America while Cynthia McClean gave a personal and refreshing statement on the theological meaning of being a woman in a North American context. One of the Chinese delegates reflected on the theological meaning and implications of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement in China.
It was evident from the panel presentations and from the workshop discussions that followed, that one significant aspect of the contextualization of theology is the importance or primacy of a people's historical experience as the basis for theological reflection and interpretation. Theological reflection has to begin with an understanding of the historical, cultural and national contexts in which we are located. It has to begin with an understanding of the collective history of one's people.
One common historical experience that was articulated by almost all Third World representatives was the people's experience of oppression and exploitation - whether it was expressed in imperialism, colonialism, class oppression, racism or male chauvinism. In all of these historical accounts, however, there was also a recognition and affirmation that God is the "God of the people" — of the poor and the oppressed. As stated by a Chinese delegate, "In a class society. God does not stand neutral — he is on the side of the oppressed."
Taking the historicity or the Incarnation of God seriously also meant taking the specific historical, cultural and national contexts, in all of their myriad variations, seriously. The proliferation of different theologies that such contextualization implies left some participants uneasy and it was revealing that some White, First World delegates raised the question of "What then is the norm? How will we know if a theology is authentic or not?"
The answer to such a question, as it emerged from discussions throughout the conference, was that if God is the God of history and of the people, then the test of authenticity for the Church and for a Christian does not depend simply on the adherence to a given set of dogmas or doctrines but rather rests on commitment to and involvement with the people - with their sufferings and with their hopes and aspirations. Authenticity then involves a continuing search for what is true and authentic -- it is a process rather than a given norm. One implication of this, which was succintly expressed by Roger Hutchinson in his lecture, is that "Western Christianity is no longer accepted as normative for determining how Christianity ought to be related to particular contexts. Western
male theologians can no longer keep alive the fiction that our theology is universal and objective while the theologies of Asians, Africans, Latin America, American Blacks and women are 'partisan and subjective'."
Not only is Western Christianity presently being challenged by the rise in Third World theologies, it is also being challenged on home grounds by the ongoing secularization process in Western societies and all its social and political implications. Both Andre Myre, in his discussion of "Catholic Resources for participation in issues of social justice", and Roger Hutchinson in his lecture on the "Contextualization of Theology - A Canadian Perspective" acknowledged the inadequacy of existing Church structures, and Western theology, with its 2,000 years of cultural accretions, in meeting contemporary challenges.
If the need for contextualization of theology stemmed from a growing awareness of how our theology is colored by our cultural, political, economic and social contexts, this has been further reinforced by the increasing recognition of how meaningless or even dangerous it can be to impose or transpose a theology that has been shaped by a specific context into another. This was especially driven home by the accounts, given by the Chinese delegates of Christianity as a foreign religion in China. The Christianity that was transmitted to China was not only clothed in Western culture and hence difficult to root in Chinese soil, but was also associated with foreign domination and aggression. Particularly in the last century, Christian missionaries made inroads into China, often, if not always as the result of unequal treaties imposed on China by the West. The Chinese delegates pointed out that while the missionary movement is different from colonialism, nevertheless, it emerged together with colonialism and served colonial interests, whether consciously or unconsciously. Thus, history of Christianity in China is not something the Chinese Christians are proud of. As an institution, the Church sided with the powerful, the exploiters and the colonizers of the Chinese people. As a "foreign" religion, it alienated Chinese Christians from the Chinese people. Its association with the colonial powers and with the reactionary government of the Kuomintang further alienated Chinese Christians from the struggles of the Chinese people and from their aspirations. Hence, the theme of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement that was launched by Christians soon after Liberation in 1949 was and remains "Reconciliation with the People".
For those Christians who participated in the Three-Self Movement, it was "an act of repentance." Their realization of how the Church and Christianity had been used as a tool of reaction, as an opiate of the people, as an instrument of oppression and colonization of the Chinese people was a painful awakening. The "death and resurrection" of the Chinese Church was not easy nor painless. Sometimes, a tear or a break in the voice would reveal the deep, perhaps traumatic, emotional experience of that transformation for Chinese Christians as the Chinese delegates recounted the personal and collective metamorphosis that Chinese Christians had undergone and as they recounted their struggles to discover meaning in a Christianity that had become encrusted with Western culture and distorted by colonialism.
What the Chinese delegation seemed to be saying was that with the Liberation and the accompanying dissociation of Christianity from imperialism and foreign domination, Christianity, perhaps for the first time, stood a chance of becoming authentically Chinese and meaningful for the Chinese people. To be rooted in China, the Christian Church has to be for the people, administered by the people and expressive of the struggles and aspirations of the people.
In concrete terms, this means that:
a) the Church has to be administered entirely by the Chinese people themselves;
b) the Church has to be self-supporting, self-reliant and self-propagating; and
c) the Church has to concern itself with the fate and welfare of the people.
Politically, it means affirming the Churches' support for the building of socialism in China.
Chinese Christians today celebrate the self-hood and independence of the Chinese Church that has been achieved over the last 30 years and are asking that Churches abroad share in that celebration and affirmation.
To be an independent, self-administered and indigenized Church has not been without attendant difficulties. For the Chinese Catholics, reconciliation with the people often meant having to disobey Papal injunctions that disallowed participation in national, patriotic activities. The Vatican has not ceased even in recent years to assert its authority over the Chinese Church and dictate on religious and political matters without regard for the self-hood and independence of the Chinese Catholic Church. The continuing attempts of Churches outside China, both Catholic and Protestant, to interfere in the activities of the Chinese Church was uppermost in the minds of the Chinese delegates as they addressed themselves to conference participants. They made it clear that while they welcomed the solidarity and friendship of Churches elsewhere, they were opposed to the sending of material aid, missionaries or even Bibles into China without prior consultation and the approval of Chinese Churches.
The sovereignty of the Chinese Church should be respected. In this context, one outcome of the Conference was a letter to the Pope, endorsed by the majority of participants calling on the Vatican to re-examine its relations with the Catholic Church in China. Apart from problems in international relations, the Chinese delegates explained that internally, the Chinese Church had numerous problems to overcome. The restrictions on Church and religious activities during the Cultural Revolution meant that at present there is an urgent task of "Christian spiritual nurture and spiritual care," to use the words of K.H. Ting. For example, in some parts of China, there is still a mingling of Christian tenets with feudal superstitions. There is a compartmentalization between religious and social commitments and because of the practice of holding worship in homes (a practice that grew during the Cultural Revolution) there have been dangers of deviations. Given all of these problems, K.H. Ting indicated that Church leaders currently have to give more time and attention to
domestic needs, a preoccupation which will limit their ability to participate meetings and conferences.
For a non-theologian, the richness in theological experiences and expressions that poured forth during the Conference was difficult to digest all at once and much of it was probably lost on me. Nevertheless, the sincere and oftentimes very personal sharing that took place during the Conference enriched and touched me and many other participants, who were visibly moved. Someone remarked that he had never attended a conference where the noise level was so high! This only attested to the intensity of the discussions, debates and sharing that took place.
Certainly countless questions remain unanswered and I had to repack, and bring home together with my luggage, questions I had brought with me to Montreal - theological questions, political questions, questions about China. Given the unusually large numbers of people, it probably was difficult to deal with all of these questions. However, strong feelings of mutual respect and solidarity have been evoked and many of us left the Conference amazed at our own ignorance of China. As Cynthia McClean said: “The Conference has made me realized how mush the world has been cut off from China and how much poorer we are because of that”. It was her hope and her commitment (and that of many participants) that the conference will be the new beginning in the attainment of a “one hundred percent world”.
A light plane circled low again and again over the sports field chased by several police helicopters. On each sweep the pilot dropped flour bombs and other objects, once scoring a direct hit on a player. Each time it rose away from the field the plane was met with cheers from 6000 protesters kept at bay by 2000 police in the streets outside the park.
The third rugby test between the New Zealand All Blacks and the South African Springboks ended the most controversial sporting tour in New Zealand history. It was played behind an immense security screen - several lines of barricades and barbed wire, over 2000 police - and under continuous aerial bombardment.
As the game proceeded, the peaceful demonstration outside turned into a hostile confrontation between police and protesters and finally, a full-scale riot that left over one hundred people injured, two hundred arrested and a whole country gasping in disbelief.
New Zealanders have always been ready to believe the image we attempt to project internationally of a peaceful, multicultural society that is not distorted by class conflict or racial tension. New Zealand and its history have been kind to this people and they, in turn, are kind to each other.
This false complacency has been shattered at last, not by race riots or a general strike, but by a rugby tour. While many will still cling to their preconceptions and false analyzes, the majority have been forced to begin to learn some hard lessons about the realities of this “Pacific Paradise” we used to call Godzone (God's Own).
The tour had been announced by the Rogby Union a year earlier and anti-apartheid organizations were immediately on the attack. By the beginning of 1981, it was apparent that these traditional opponents of sporting contacts with South Africa were representing a much wider section of public opinion than ever before. An opinion poll conducted just prior to the tour revealed more people in opposition than in support. In retrospect the country remained divided on whether the tour should have occurred. A further poll indicated that support had remained consistent at just over 40% while events had increased the level of opposition to over 50%.
Payton is a student of Political Science and an active member of the
One way or another New Zealanders had formed strong opinions by the end of those eight weeks Not only were so many willing to acknowledge their opposition but in unprecedented numbers they were willing to demonstrate this. On May 1, 1981, over 75,000 people participated in public rallies around the country. In early July, more than twice that number inarched against the tour. It was a last minute bid to persuade the Prime Minister to stop it proceeding.
Conservative opinion was also organized. The society for the Protection of Individual Rights preached about freedom for sports players and that old adage about keeping politics out of sport. Such rhetoric failed to lead to any public debate. Opinion was already polarized and political leadership was lacking.
Although it had signed the Commonwealth Gleneagles Agreement on contacts with South Africa and despite obvious concern at home and abroad, the Government refused to make more than token gestures to discourage the tour. It ignored the significant changes that have occurred in domestic conditions and in the international context since the questions of sporting contacts with South Africa had last assumed such importance in the early 1970s. With an election several months away, the Government's policy was an electioneering gamble. The decision was left to the Rugby Union, which refused to consider any criteria other than the narrowly perceived short-term interests of rugby.
So the tour proceeded. It began in the provincial town of Gisborne on the east coast of the North Island. It was a quiet beginning away from the centres of protest and left the issue of disruption and conflict hanging untested. Anti-tour organizations talked confusingly of 'using non-violent civil disobedience tactics' but of only 'going to the edge of the law'. Police spokesmen emphasized their neutral stance and preparedness. But no one could be sure what events would lead to. There was a heavy atmosphere of uncertainty in a situation that was new for everyone.
Three days later at Hamilton, a larger centre and only one hundred miles from the country's largest city, Auckland, the tour was tested for the first time. Hamilton was a turning point. Before the game had even started, a spontaneous surge of protesters broke through police lines, park fences and spectators to occupy the middle of the field with a tight bunch of three hundred people. Police surrounded them but without, at that stage, the will and resources to shift so many people and with news of a light plane converging on the park, the game was called off.
A victory to anti-tour protesters, it was not won so easily. The angry crowd, deprived of their game, attacked demonstrators in the streets for hours afterwards. The media also felt public anger and from Hamilton onwards they were accused of biased reporting from all sides.
The possibility of a cancelled or shortened tour was raised briefly but as the Springbok team swung south on its full itinerary the tour settled into a determined routine accompanied by escalating tension. The police, continuing to claim neutrality, became guardians of the tour and turned against protesters. Their numbers increased and barbed wire, long batons, riot helmets and shields appeared. The armed forces provided back-up support as police resources were stretched to the limit.
Protesters adopted a variety of tactics on a broad front. The rugby games were not the only focus of opposition. In each major center, rallies were held on every ‘day of shame’ when New Zealanders played rugby ‘with apartheid’. Rugby Union offices were entered. Roads were blocked. Companies that assisted the tour were picketed. The Springboks themselves were pursued vigorously and denied any peace. Every game was played under siege.
After the Hamilton match, the games were not interrupted again. The police were able to contain the opposition to that extent and in the major centres where conflict was frequent frustrations grew on both sides. The number of arrests climbed towards 1000 and beyond it. Violence was becoming a common element at every demonstration.
Church and community leaders had received publicity for their early efforts to reach a compromise with rugby officials and protesters. But as the tour proceeded many moderates became alienated from the course of active protest. With confrontation escalating radicals increased their influence in the protest organizations, but wide public support continued. Only entrenched conservatives retained the stereotype of the protester as a 'young Commie stirrer'. Rallies drew together people of all ages from every corner of society. This coalition cut across old associations splitting families, work places and communities. In small centres, the division has been strongest and for some people protesting meant the loss of a job or continuing harassment.
The final weeks of the tour saw the Springboks return to the north. The continuing program of demonstrations had been more moderate in the northern city of Auckland than further south in Wellington and Christchurch where confrontation had characterized protests far more. A large demonstration from the second to last weekend of the tour involved very little violence but the final test, which coincided with the anniversary of the death of black South African Steve Biko, was the last opportunity for both police and protesters to vent their frustration.
It was too late for protesters to stop the tour. Emotions were confused. The unprecedented security operation required for the game was in a sense a victory for the protest movement. Yet the tour's schedule had not been breached since Hamilton. Anger was being focused more and more strongly on the police who were becoming less and less restrained in their handling of protesters. Arrests had given way to 'Move or you will be hurt!'
On that last day the groups of protesters with helmets and protective padding were joined by a large Biko Memorial March, which escorted a memorial coffin and laid wreaths at the barricades. A group of Actors Against Apartheid accompanied them, leading the chanting. Among them were some clowns who went dressed for peace and even tried distributing flowers to the police.
The sights of a bloodied, beaten clown in the hospital waiting room was bizarre. The rest of that day's events were just brutal. Neither police nor protesters had needed much provocation. The blood and bewilderment were a fitting end to the most misconceived sporting tour in New Zealand history.
The aftermath was no less confusing. As the full story of the tour's climax emerged complete with numerous allegations of police violence the Prime Minister launched a 'Thank the Police' campaign. Thousands of New Zealanders responded with donations. Thousands more responded to the Demonstrator's Defense and Aid Fund. The legal mopping-up will take several years and involves the legal system in a series of new issues. Police used photographs and video film of demonstrations as evidence but failed to gain access to news film for use in court. The system of internal discipline in the police force is being attacked for not allowing the public sufficient access for the laying and supporting of complaints.
Beyond these questions of civil liberties, the protest organizations face the question of 'What Now?' The tour brought together students, workers, radicals, middle class professionals, young and old, every type of ordinary New Zealander, in and unprecedented coalition. The church was unusually prominent at all levels of the protest movement. Though this coalition is unlikely to survive after the tour and court proceedings are finished one of the positive legacies of the whole experience is the network of associations that has been formed. Thus while Christians have been divided over the tour like everyone else, some within the church and outside it, have realized the contribution that Christians can make on the left wing of the political spectrum.
This contribution could be important as the protest movement turns to issues of domestic racism. This step is a logical and imperative one as New Zealand wakes up to a deteriorating racial situation, but in the process protest movements must endeavor to retreat from the precedent of violence that has been established. In the rapid escalation of events during the tour non-violent and symbolic tactics were superseded by methods of confrontation and their place in future protest is a major issue.
Finally, the question for the whole country is 'Why did it happen?' We know how it happened. We can trace the progression of political mistakes and reconstruct the confusion, but the events of the tour point to deeper realities in New Zealand society that must be faced. Those who allowed the tour to happen and did not attempt to stop it did not understand the changes that are occurring.
Several decades of rapid urbanization have brought the two major ethnic groups, Maoris and Pakehas, (the indigenous Polynesians and the European majority) together in the cities. As Maoris have articulated their demands for equality, the possibility of conflict has grown. In the 1970s, the prosperity that papered over the cracks has gone. New Zealand has also become far more aware of the demands of race and minority issues worldwide.
The government failed to take account of these changes and violence resulted. Unless social and economic policies change to reflect new realities and New Zealanders begin to take individual responsibility for change this country faces a violent future.
This is the first time in the past thirty-two years that Hong Kong
churches paid an official visit to the
Since most of the Hong Kong delegates have been in and out of China a number of times, the significant contrast between the social reality of Hong Kong and China is no longer a cultural shock. The main concern, rather, was on the renewal of human relationships. As old colleagues and new friends from both sides embraced each other, what was said was not so important. What was unsaid in the friendly gestures really created reassurance and hope.
What has been said was a step forward in the consciousness of Hong Kong Church leaders. The Hong Kong team repeatedly exchanged toasts with church as well as mid-level Communist leaders, to a "United Front" through which churches in Hong Kong could work together with Christian and Communist authorities for the common good of the Chinese people.
Besides ceremonial remarks, there was no communiqué, no joint statement. Nor was there any secret agreement. Yet this visit laid the ground for possibilities of further exchange between the two areas.
Details of the itinerary are available in the official report of the NCC of Hong Kong. Here I shall only briefly share the general impression that the group received, plus two matters of personal concern.
First the general impression. The Church in China insisted upon the principles of the Three-Self Movement (Self-determination, self-maintenance, self-propagation), which was started thirty-one years ago, but was later disrupted by the Cultural Revolution. The Church also succeeded in wiping out denominations, and in simplifying rituals. All Hong Kong delegates were impressed by these achievements. And the warm reception left lasting impressions.
Next, the two matters of concern.
First, as I was the only student in the entire group, I anticipated making acquaintances with Chinese students. But through out the whole trip, seldom did I find any youth or student representative in any but one official gathering. I raised the question of the whereabouts of youths and students. The answer was, "There are quite many of them around." But most church leaders are aged. In their sixties, they still play an active and decisive part in the development of the Church. These elders no doubt shared the experience of the Chinese Revolution, and consequently they have sufficient reason to affirm with authenticity what they say and what they do. However, youth leaders between the age of twenty to forty-five, who should be the contemporary voice in China, are missing. They should have stronger participation and bear responsibilities in rebuilding the church of China. But they are not there as emerging leaders.
Second, the climate of the Chinese Church is basically evangelical. The church congregations are attentive and pious during Sunday services - that impressed most of our delegates. Besides worship, church activities include bible study and prayer meetings. This created the impression that the Church is preoccupied with salvation of the individual's soul, rather than participation in the struggle for a more just and humane society. To care for the spiritual growth of the people is no doubt important. And from another point of view, such emphasis is the natural outcome of the particular historical situation. Yet, if the Church on the one hand claims to be patriotic, and on the other hand practice "spiritual exercise" only, there would appear to be conflicts between the word and the dead. How could a Church that chose to participate in building a Socialist China be contented with devotions only?
No one has any doubt about the determination of the Chinese Church leaders in reaching out to build the nation. The challenges that I discerned are two fold: the first is the transition from spiritual nurture to concrete patriotic actions; and the second is the sharing of this commitment with laymen on the grass-root level. It is at times alarming to observe that most lay people are - predominantly occupied with devotional services.
I left China with a prayer of thanksgiving, for having such a good opportunity to learn, and to get to know brothers and sisters in China who have a unique experience to share. I believe that it takes a long road to effectively care for China and her Church. May I call upon all brothers and sisters in the Lord to pray for the growth of the Church of China, as well as the early recovery of her prophetic voice, for the good of all Chinese people.
Cynthia Lam, a student of the
The 28th session of the General Assembly of the WSCF met in
The concluding message titled "Message of Hope" was addressed primarily to those in the movement in repressive regimes offering the continued support and solidarity, and to friends in the ecumenical community re-affirming the ecumenical vision of the renewal of the church and society."
The Assembly elected Juan Antonio Franco, member of the United Church in Peurto Rico, doctoral candidate in sociology, as Chairperson for the next quadrennium. Lidy Nacpil, student at the University of the Philippines and general secretary of the PSCM has been elected Vice-Chairperson. Tarik Mitri, outgoing staff member of the WSCF for Middle East Region is the newly elected Treasurer Emidio Campi has been re-elected General Secretary to serve another term. In the Executive Committee are Marshal Fernando (Sri Lanka) and Cho Young Ock (Korea) representing the Asia / Pacific Region. The next issue of the WSCF journal will cover the detailed aspects of the Assembly.
The old and new leadership – picture on the left: from left to right Emidio Campi, General Secretary, Betsy Anderson (Canada) Vice – Chairperson; Juan Antonio Franco (Puerto Rico), Chairperson; and Tarik Mitri (Lebanon), Treasurer.
We come from different lands and cultures, confronted with diverse realities of oppression, struggling with our people, sharing their sufferings and hope.
We gathered at the 28th General Assembly of the World Student Christian Federation at San Francisco, conscious that the critical differences of our involvement bear upon the life of the assembly.
We confess that as we gather, frustrations grip our will, weaknesses and human failures try to dampen our fellowship and commitment.
But as we gather and are sustained by the Work of Life, the call is to transcend our differences. We are confronted today by the words of the prophet -- Come let us rise up and build together --. We know that this was said to a people whose memory of being the people had been destroyed, who had lost their national identity and whose religious centre lay ruined.
The prophet said - "let us build that we may no longer suffer disgrace".
We witness a "build-up" in the world today - dictators, military juntas, authoritarian presidents are building up their political power through deception and repression; building up military and nuclear capabilities to crush and destroy the bearers of liberation.
Like the days of old, the people have suffered disgrace for long years of domination and oppression.
We must then rise up today as a people who want to change our own path and claim the future with justice, peace and love. Workers, peasants, students, professionals, the new social movements are also rising up and building to emancipate themselves from disgrace and suffering.
It is in this context of people rising up and building that we locate our witness and presence as members of the federation.
It is with great joy that we share the message of hope that in the last quadrennium our membership has increased. Nine movements have been admitted to the federation, the program priorities have been determined, and we have confidently elected a new leadership. We have set ourselves on a course to renew our structures so that they may be more appropriate to meet the demands of the federation in the coming years.
As we move forward in this quadrennium, we are strengthened by the promise given by the Liberator of past, present and future, as expressed by the prophet Nehemiah - "so they strengthened their hands for the good work".
We believe in the promise that our God calls us and will strengthen us. To our SCMers in repressive regimes who are struggling with your lives and future, we humbly offer our solidarity and are continually impressed and inspired by your living witness. To our friends in the ecumenical community, we share with you the ecumenical vision of the renewal of the church and of a renewed society. We invite you in this journey of faith and struggle to rise up and build together.
1. The 28th General Assembly of the World Student Christian Federation declares its support for the stand taken by the Evangelical Church in New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands on the question of Independence. The Assembly resolves to write a letter to the Evangelical Church supporting it in its stand.
2. The 28th General Assembly of the World Student Christian Federation resolves to write to President Marcos of the Philippines, and other appropriate authorities, presenting the evidence available of the abduction of Romeo Crismo and demanding his immediate release.
3. The 28th General Assembly of the World Student Christian Federation resolves to write to the government of South Korea demanding the release of two KSCF staff members detained there.
4. The 28th General Assembly of the World Student Christian Federation resolves to recommend that the WSCF and all national SCMs:
i) establish fund raising campaigns to support the families of political
ii) send books about social analysis and religion to such detainees.
5. The 28th
General Assembly of the World Student Christian Federation resolves to
recommend that the WSCF, at inter-regional, regional, and national levels,
invite KSCF members out of
6. The 28th General Assembly of the World Student Christian Federation resolves that the WSCF Journal should report about the rights of the low-income citizens of Hong Kong to participate in the formal and informal negotiations that determine the political destiny of Hong Kong.
The Asian presence at
The new Executive Committee met in Berkeley at the Pacific School of Religion from August 24-25, 1981. The business sessions was were chaired by the newly-elected Chairperson, Juan Antonio Franco. After a brief evaluation session on the General Assembly, Working Groups were constituted to effectively articulate the thrusts and priorities in the Federation for the next quadrennium. The Working Groups, which is mainly constituted from among the ExCo members will collect detailed information on the four areas of concern, viz:
Latin America Office has been given the responsibility to coordinate the collection of information on Human Rights issues; and Europe and Africa will take the responsibility for Theology and Education respectively. Lidy Nacpil has been named to coordinate the group on Women's issues. These Working Groups are expected to submit their reports to the next ExCo meeting.
A Finance Committee and Personnel Committee were also constituted. Marshal Fernando (Sri Lanka) and Kentaro Shiozuki (Japan) will serve on the Finance Committee. Cho Yung Ock (Korea) and Lidy Nacpil (Philippines) are members of the Personnel Committee. The next meeting of the EXCO will be held from March 12-20, 1982 and the Finance Committee from March 10-12, 1982 at La Habana, Cuba.
The Regional Committee of the Asia / Pacific Region met in
Dr. Feliciano Carino, speaking on “Asian People's Theology” challenged the WSCF to “recapture the ecumenical vision in the Asian struggles”, while outlining the analytical tools that could be used in the search for an authentic theology of the people. Rev. In Ha-Lee (whose paper is included in this issue elsewhere) led two sessions ion the theme attempting to relate the gospel in the minority context, a live issue in the Asian people's struggle. Prof. Sumiya Mikio spoke on the "Economic situation in Asia" and Kang, Moou Kyu on the "Process of Regionalization in the Federation" The Business sessions that followed prioritized the areas of concern for the Region. All concerns and priorities are now consolidated under four program clusters:
1. Movement Building and Leadership Development:
- The ASFOR program will now be enlarged to be called the Human Resources Development Program to include a wide network of people in the leadership training process. Inter - Movement Exchange, Women's concerns and leadership, and visitations are also an integral part of this cluster.
2. Faith and Justice in Asia/Pacific:
- Education, Human Rights,
4. Ecumenical Relations and Wider Fellowships:
The Committee positively responded to an invitation from the CCA to hold a joint consultation on the question of ministry to the university world.
Tokyo meeting in session: l to r: Tiur Loebis, Robinson Asghar, Peter McBurney and Fely Carino.
National Movement Representatives from the Asia/Pacific Region.
The Regional Committee elected a standing Committee to carry out the interim business. Rev. Dave Rodriguez continues to be the Chairperson, while Linda Sunilat, a student from Indonesia is elected as the Vice-Chairperson. Ms. Ishii (Japan) and Stephen Payton (NZ), are elected to the standing Committee. Cho Young Ock (Korea) and Marshal Fernando (Sri Lanka) members of the Executive Committee from Asia are ex-officio members in this Committee.
The Regional Committee expressed its solidarity and concern on various matters brought to its attention, some of the resolutions were also discussed at the General Assembly. A full-length report on the meeting will be published shortly.
The Committee adopted a resolution of thanks to Mr. Kentaro Shiozuki and the National YMCAs of Japan for hosting the meeting at Tokyo.
The next meeting of the Regional Committee will be hosted by the SCM of India at Bangalore in 1983.
The theme chosen for this year was "Development, Traditional Values and Christian Responsibility in the Asia/Pacific context". The group of 23 persons sponsored by national movements and fraternal organizations assembled in the Centre for Society and Religion, Negombo - a fishing village 25 miles from Colombo city in Sri Lanka, on the 28th of February 1981 for a month long program. Thirteen of the 18 member national movements in the Region were represented. The Asia Forum on Human Rights, the UMCAs Asia and the Mission Intern Program of the BOGM were also represented.
The Program was "formally" inaugurated on the morning of March 1 by Mr. Ainsley Samarajivia, former Chairperson of the Sri Lanka SCM. The inaugural talk was not a speech, which laid down expectations from a group of young people, but a meaningful personal reflection of a person who has been with the SCM for over three decades. He chose the Gospel text of Luke 4:18 to explain his personal involvement in the struggles for justice and how the SCM in the past helped people like him to grasp the situation in their country. Soon after, the group adopted a Resolution moved by the Korean participant, Choe Hyndok, expressing solidarity with the March First Movement in Korea and proceeded to draft a declaration in memory of this Movement.
The representatives from the national movements presented their reports for the next four days. Each participant was allotted a slot of time where he / she was expected to present a brief overview of their national situation and activities of their movements. All participants later conceded that preparations for presenting this brief but cohesive report was in itself an education process. Heated arguments and discussions that followed the presentation concentrated mainly on the priorities and strategies engaged in their respective movements.
LECTURES AND DISCUSSIONS:
Following the national reports were the theoretical input from one of our resource speakers Samuel Ho, Executive Secretary, Asia Forum on Human Rights. His lectures, spread over three days were on "the Concept of Modernization and Traditional Values", "The Politics of Modernization and Development", and "The Bureaucratic State and the Rights of the People." His papers posed a challenge to the common understanding of certain concepts of the participants and identified in very deal terms the role semi-feudalism, bureaucratic capitalism and neo-colonialism plays in the obstruction of genuine development with people as subjects of their own history. An afternoon session was devoted to enable participants to identify violations of human rights in their countries.
Sri Lanka, fast moving into the grips of neo-colonial process, is officially following a policy of developing on the Singapore pattern. This is euphemistically referred to as the 'Singapore
Model' in academic circles. The opening of the Free Trade Zone and the tourism 'industry' are just two examples of how a government has willfully by official acts of parliament, sold the country to the hands of foreign investors. Centuries of tradition and culture is forced to give way to the earning of a few dollars. A country which is agro-based is quenching to be 'industrialized' at the expense of its vast majority of people. Workers and peasants have no longer the rights they enjoyed and power is being centralized in the person of the President of the Republic. This is the reality of Sri Lanka as exposed to us by various speakers from Sri Lanka. Mr. Bernard de Soysa, Secretary General of the Lanka Sama Samaj Party talked on the Worders situations; Prof. Celun Kadiragamar, Professor of History at the University of Jaffna, talked on 'The Christian Community'; Ms. Sunila Abhayasekara, a research scholar, on the "Womens' Situation", Dr. Mano singham of the Univeristy of Colombo on the 'Student Situation' and Mr. Newton Gunasinghe, a Social Scientist, on the 'Peasant Situation.'
This elaborate session on Sri Lanka was afforded to point out the harsh realities in our Region where the rulers, by deliberate economic planning marginalize the people to mere objects of development.
The Theological Sessions were led by Rt. Rev. Dr. Paulose Mar Paulose, Bishop of the Chaldean Church of the East, Kerala. Reflecting on the theme, "Development, Traditional Values and Christian Responsibility," the Bishop stressed that unless, we as Christians, shed our minority consciousness in pluralistic societies like Asia, we will not be able to work for a genuine transformation of the society where all peoples matter. Quoting Numbers 13:33, he urged the group to get out of the "grasshopper neurosis" and forge ahead to take the risk, because it is only the taking of risks that ultimately forms the major part of the peoples' struggles. His lectures spread over three sessions were interspersed with group discussion.
Mr. Michael Tharakan, Research Associate at the Centre for Development Studies , in India led three sessions on "Theoretical Premises of development," "Development as Human Development" and “Critical Analysis of Development models in Asia”.
Ms. Teresa Chong, Faculty member of the De La Salle University, Philippines spoke on the Asian Political Scene.
BIBLE STUDIES AND WORSHIP
One Bible Study Session was led by Sevaka Yohan Devananda on the theme "Birth-pangs of the New Age" based on Mathew 24:8. Eight worship sessions were conducted by the participants themselves. Emphasis was laid on experimental forms of worship and some of the participants led the Biblical reflections at these sessions. Folk songs and other art forms were widely used in the worship sessions.
Apart from group discussions that followed every presentation, the participants were divided into three workshop sessions for three days towards the end. The Workshops were an attempt to synthesize and crystalize certain key issues raised in the lectures and group discussions earlier, and to suggest follow-up actions. The workshops were on:
1. Structures of Domination and Peoples Struggles.
2. Church, Faith and social Justice.
3. Peoples' Struggle for Justice - A Student Christian Response.
The Groups, after having spent long hours in deliberation have been able to bring out specific recommendations for the WSCF.
The Working Group dealing with "Structures of Domination and Peoples Struggles" declared that, "we need to see the difference between a struggle for civil and democratic rights and the struggle for human rights. The struggle for human rights is one which involves the questioning of the structures of domination and calls for a radical reorganization of society." It also clarifies that as Christians, our task is to seek an alliance with all the forces that are working towards change, and also recognizes the limitations that a student body like the SCM has, in being in the leadership of a liberation movement. Hence, it urges all student groups to be an integral part of the struggles for liberation recognizing the fact that it is the masses - the workers, the peasants, the urban poor and the cultural minorities - that has to lead the liberation struggles.
Looking at the question of "Church, Faith and Social Justice," the working group expressed concern over the attitude of the churches in Asia towards liberation struggles and stated that "the church should shed its minority complex and join hands with all oppressed peoples - that the church must be a living and dynamic body of people sensitive to the aspirations of the masses". Addressing itself to the question of Faith and Social Justice, the Working Group stated that "Faith is our response to God's action in this world....... our response is manifested as continuation of Jesus' mission: creation of the conditions both material and spiritual to attain the "wholeness" of persons to become their best. We must situate our self-understanding within the context of the people struggle for a just and humane society.
A concrete recommendation that was made from the working group on "Peoples Struggle for Justice - A Student Christian Response" was to engage in theological reflections and to develop a theology that is relevant to the lives of the people. The group also reiterated the role of the SCMs to be a prophetic voice within the church challenging the church to be prophetic itself in its action.
core group of HK-SCM
The local scene in Hong Kong has not changed much since the last AGM in July, except that more and more local people have expressed their anxiety about 1997 and the destiny of Hong Kong. The big business shows no hesitation in allowing a major portion of their capital to flow out of the colony. This is illustrated by plans to de-nationalize the Kowloon and Canton Railway, and various land developers selling their profit-making estates. The SCM-HK sees this unique historical situation as one in which the people of God is called to rise up and build the future together with the people, not only for the people.
In this context, the Taskforce I of SCM-HK has worked very hard in collecting and processing data on 1997 and the destiny of Hong Kong. The group is beginning to spin out its own theological perspective in its weekly meetings, in published tracts, and in community forums that will stimulate grass-root people by shaking off their political apathy and "refugee mentality" through conscientizing dialogues and reflections. The taskforce has just produced a 25-minute slide to enable SCMers to spark off political as well as theological discussions in many forums that are to come.
In comparison with Taskforce I, Taskforce II (Global Human Rights Concern) is not so productive in terms of its output. Besides regular meetings to study the history of the Chinese Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and theology in support for human rights campaign, the taskforce has not taken its first step in penetrating the local community. To be fair, members of the taskforce have edited and published tracts for Romeo Crismo (Philippines) and Wang Hsi-Chieh (China), and have written letters to governments in Asia where human rights are being violated. It keeps SCM sensitive to human rights issues by building connection with the Hong Kong Group of the Amnesty International (AIHK) of which SCM-HK has become a group member.
The crucial problem to which Taskforce II addresses itself is: whether the SCM in Hong Kong should be outspoken in criticizing the Chinese Government for suppressing the Democratic Movement in China at this point in time. There is absolutely no question about SCM's commitment to human rights, although the authority in Peking likes to discredit human rights concern as a western bourgeoisie product. There is again no question about SCM's commitment in supporting the Democratic Movement in China. We see it as an authentic, patriotic voice uttered by the powerless people in searching for the historical destiny of China, although the authorities concerned like to dismiss it as the grievance of a tiny minority. The SCM-HK is firm in asserting human rights, but any move made by the SCM could be seen by the Chinese Government as a sign of Christian subversive action. In consequence, the Church in China would not be happy to welcome any action that would jeopardize the newly established Church-State relationship. Likewise, church leaders in Hong Kong who are eager to win the confidence of the Church of China would not feel happy to see local Christian groups making any statement that would irritate the Chinese Government. Such is the dilemma that SCM Taskforce II faces. That is also the reason why the taskforce has been very cautious in taking public actions, despite its hard work.
Recently, Taskforce II has come to the conclusion that, as a particular taskforce, it has three functions to fulfill:
a) to promote Asian solidarity on Human rights by supporting the campaign in the region;
b) to promote China Concern after taking up the human rights issue as primary concern;
c) to witness Christian faith, hope, love and courage to the student world.
If the third function implies priority of students over local churches, then Taskforce II is now in a much clearer scene in which praxis could happen. SCM-HK looks forward to the development of Taskforce II with confidence.
Taskforce III meets not so often as the other two taskforces. But it is productive. It has written and published 6 liturgies for use in particular occasions. The one on Shin Hai Revolution and the one on 1997 and the destiny of Hong Kong have won appreciation from members as well as fraternal organizations. The taskforce is going to edit and publish pamphlets on Christian Feminism, and Peoples' theology of Hong Kong in the near future. It is also raising funds to write and publish a handbook of contextualized doctrine, rituals, prayers, and songs.
The three taskforce each addresses itself to a particular area of concern. There are times when members of different taskforces sit together for a common concern. This happens when the Operation Team convenes meetings to respond to special challenges. For instance, the Operation Team has written a long essay to express SCM's concern about the Nuclear Energy Plant to be built across the border on the Chinese side. So far, this has been the only voice showing Christian concern of nuclear development in a community, which is virtually ignorant of the cost and danger of nuclear energy. The essay was published in a leading local newspaper in October. And in November, an evening newspaper interviewed SCM-HK when the electricity company concerned announced its plan to raise the fares. SCM-HK has every reason to believe that the fare rise is connected with the nuclear plant. Therefore, the Operation Team was invited to participate in a united front to oppose the fare rise.
Another mini-project done by the Operation Team is to respond in public to Professor Hsu Fu-Kuan's criticism of Brother Andrew International's Project Pearl. This Project Pearl is a US$6 million venture to smuggle one million copies of the Bible into Mainland China. The form of action was quasi-military. Such action no doubt offended the Peking authority, the Church of China, and even local churches in Hong Kong. Professor Hsu, a well-respected champion of neo-Confucianism, criticized the Project in a leading local newspaper, and in so doing, criticized Christianity and Communism as well. SCM-HK is the only Christian body to respond to Professor Hsu publicly, in the same newspaper. In a long essay, the Operation Team reviewed the history of the Church in China since the colonial days, and affirmed the Three Self Movement in China today. Therefore, SCM-HK agrees with Professor Hsu that Project Pearl is a colonialist move done against the will of the Chinese people. SCM-HK also acknowledged that Bibles are needed and the Chinese Government should permit registered groups to print their own materials.
Membership is now over 60, which is double of the figure recorded in July. It is still a small number, but the significant fact is that our recruitment campaign has not started yet. Once it gets started in mid-December, many more people will be expected to join us. Movement building inside the campus will start in January, when Professor Richard Preston from Manchester will speak in a SCM-sponsored lecture on Christian Socialism. And in March, the SCM-sponsored Forum on Asian Theologies will pave the way to building contact groups in each university campus.
SCM-HK is also privileged to have one member in the official delegation of Hong Kong Church Leaders visiting the Patriotic Church in China. This is a historical event since 1949.
Taskforce III: Church Renewal
Notes: Taskforce I: 1997 and the Destiny of Hong Kong.
Taskforce II:Global Human Rights Concern
Staff of SCM of
Burma S.C.M. has come through roughly 3 periods.
1) The Pre-War Period (or) Colonial Period.
2) The immediate post-war period (or) The Independence Period.
3) The Revolutionary Period.
The pre-war period was a period of relative calm. It was an easy time for everyone, a period of little political education with S.C.M. being dependent on the local missionaries and that of India and Ceylon.
The immediate post war period was a period of National Independence, of optimism and nationalism, of growing up into nationhood, of moving forward, and experiencing the Pyidawtha schemes and constant education planning.
The third period is the present Revolutionary period beginning roughly in 1962. This is the period of more changes. It is expected to be a period of structural change of all phases of society, of nationalism, Burmanization and socialism and one way or other, the future will be different from the past.
In all these periods of History, Burma S.C.M. had the same basic purpose, the same vision to be guided by and the same goals to be reached. The structure and composition of the S.C.M. of course have changed but our objectives remain the same.
PRESENT SITUATION OF BURMA S.C.M.
In the year 1962, General Ne Win overthrew the government and came to power. The following year on 7th July, students struck against the Education system. This incident ended in a sorrowful scene. Tension arose gradually among the students and government. The Education System changed from one to another and the students became the instrument for the experiments.
In 1964, the government abolished all the Unions and Organizations of students in the Universities and Colleges. Although they have played an important role against Imperialism, Fascism and Capitalism in the past, their history came to an end in 1964.
Nowadays, except for Lanzin Youth and Cultural and Literature Committees, which are led and directed by the government, there are no Unions or Organizations of students in the Universities and Colleges. The students are limited within the framework of the ruling party's way of socialism.
As Burma S.C.M. is one of the Unions in the Universities and Colleges, the order of the government in 1964 has also affected it. In this case, the leaders of the S.C.M. negotiated with the authorities concerned. The result was to continue the program limited to religious affairs only and not to become involved in any socio-political issues.
Although the S.C.M. has functioned autonomously in the past, the situation today is different. We became a branch of the Burma Baptist Convention (B.B.C.) in 1968.We were very silent during this period not only to W.S.C.F. but also to the Asia-Pacific region. This did not mean that we were not active in our programs. This was the period when we re-established ourselves within our people. During this period:
1) With the grant of B.B.C., we purchased six plots of land in different areas where universities and colleges are situated and built centres for the recreation of students and staff.
2) With the grant of B.B.C., Leadership training was provided for the staff of each of the centres.
3) The expenses for the programs for students and the salaries for the staff were subsidized by B.B.C. from 1968 to 1976.
The B.B.C. had never interfered in the ecumenical programs of the S.C.M. and has always recognized its inter-denominational members. With the agreement of B.B.C. in 1976, S.C.M. became a department of the Burma Council of Churches. During this period, the following national programs were organized besides the local programs:
1) Annual Summer Camp
In 1979, the annual summer camp was converted into a voluntary work camp at a Buddhist area where a road and bridge were constructed to serve 10 surrounding rural villages. Seventy-four students and 8 staff members participated. There are plans for similar programs every year.
2) Monsoon Bible Conference
This is a forum for ecumenical studies. The theme varies from year to year and is chosen according to the need of our national situation.
3) Frontier mission recruitment course
This is a new program of S.C.M. New graduates will be recruited, mobilized and challenged into solidarity and integration with the rural people. The theme is 'Participation' in Rural Development'. The action-reflection method is used in their studies and exposure.
4) Leadership and planning seminar
Participants are selected from the most responsible students. The purpose of the program is to train them to coordinate through studying and sharing.
5) S.C.M. senior friends program
This program is to create a better relationship between the students and senior friends.
The Student Christian Movement of the
The Movement identified its major tasks based on its past experiences and current status and in the context of its continuing commitment to the struggle of the Filipino people, during the last General Assembly in May 1980, as the following:
1) to enlist the participation of youth and students in general and the Christian youth in particular, in the struggles of the different oppressed sectors of Philippine society;
2) to unify and promote the continuing study in theory and in practice, of the economic, political and cultural life of the Filipino people, to further the understanding of current socio-political conditions;
3) to engage in Biblical Studies and Theological Reflections to deepen our understanding of faith and effectively articulate the liberating message of the Gospel;
4) to unify and promote the SCM orientation among its leaders and members, and to equip them with skills and knowledge needed in effectively communicating this orientation to others, to go all out in expanding our ranks, building more chapters in student centers and strengthening existing ones;
5) to enhance the Movements financial self-generating capacity specially at the chapter level. These tasks are being accomplished through the following program:
Student Forum; Integration and Exposure Program; Leadership Training Institute; SCM Study Circles;
PUBLICATIONS AND RESEARCH:
Breakthrough; Statements on Relevant and Crucial Issues; Publications of Study Materials; Student Committee for Third World Concerns; Library; Publications & Research Communications; Philippines Research Committee;
Communications; Representations; Worship; National Consultations; Cultural Group; Orientation Seminars; National Expansion; Ecumenical Relations; Handbook & Brochures;
Membership Fees; Donations and Pledges; Other Fund Raising Activities.
In the 1978 General Assembly, Movement Building was identified as the main priority in the succeeding biennium. At present, although it remains as one of our major tasks, we have come a long way from our situation then.
We now have chapters in seven out of the ten regions we have divided the Philippines into, and organizing efforts in the rest. Based on reports given at the GA 1980 and the 1981 National Consultation, our chapters number twenty.
Despite these facts, however. Movement and chapter building and recruitment among the ranks of the Christian youth remains as one of our critical problems, due to the following conditions:
1) state harassment and repression
As most of you are probably aware of, the Philippine SCM has suffered countless arrests, detention and other forms of harassment since the declaration of Martial Law. Many SCMers have died.
This biennium alone, we have experienced the following:
a) 3 arrests in Manila (2 of them detained for more than 2 months, all of them 17-year-old
members of our University of Philippines Chapter).
b) 3 arrests in Cebu, 2 of them detained for a year (1 of these 2 was our Area Secretary for Eastern Visayas at the time of the arrest.)
c) 1 arrest in Davao.
d) 1 arrest in Central Luzon,
e) disappearance of a former education secretary; he has been missing since August 1980,
f) 9 arrests in Iligan City,
g) 5 arrests in Legaspi City, 3 of whom were detained for a week and 2 out of the 3 severely tortured, the other 1 was our Area Secretary for the Bicol Area.
This has led to temporary dislocation of movement work and restricted activities at the chapter level, especially at the areas outside of Metro Manila where institutional support is not as strong and where militarization is more intense.
Many schools refuse to recognize our chapters for various reasons related to our orientation and the repressive nature of the regime. Despite this, these chapters continue their work.
2) reluctance of some church institutions and hierarchy to support or acknowledge SCM to the effect that we find it difficult to approach youth in the churches and pastors whose help we need in chapter building.
3) proliferation and strengthening of charismatic groups in campuses, and the tolerance of some churches, and in some cases, even encouragement and support of these groups.
4) lack of skills and knowledge of some of our organizers in articulating our commitment and conviction in the language understood and accepted by church youth.
All of these reasons are related to each other.
Lack of leaders is not a problem as coping with the fast turnover of leaders and some organizational weaknesses this creates. Social political conditions of the country, the level of the Philippine struggle as well as the training and exposure SCM facilitates creates a situation where SCMers are compelled to respond to needs in other fields of work and participation or are quickly prepared for higher forms of struggle. However, these same conditions also facilitate the developing of dedicated and committed leaders to fill in for those who leave. Difficulties arise when SCM has to continually equip new leaders with specific skills and knowledge demanded by movement work and leadership, and also in ensuring continuity not in programs but in administrative concerns.
The SCMP's Senior Friends have recently started organizing themselves into a fellowship. This fellowship also includes and will recruit from amongst professionals who have not been members of SCM but wish to have a venue of their participation in the struggle for social change. The Senior Friends Fellowship does not come under the SCM Program but rather we maintain a fraternal link and a working relationship.
SOME STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
Perhaps, the greatest strength of the Philippine SCM may be attributed to the commitment and dedication of its members to the movement's avowed goals, as well as a very high level of unity among them.
Another strength lies in our method of work - that of collective action and leadership. We function through a system of working groups and committees rather than through individuals with specific functions and roles. This ensures a certain stability in our structure, greater effectivity of programs as they are subjected to thorough discussion and assessment by many, easier implementation of these programs, and development of potentials and capabilities among all members of the movement. This system is used from the national level down to the chapters.
A weak area in the movement's life and work is that of ecumenical relations, in particular with church institutions in the Philippines. When SCM first took a radical stance, it decided to move away from the institution. Later, the movement realized the importance of these relations in movement work, as well as the significant role SCM can play in church renewal. However, we find that these institutions are reluctant to accept us because of our orientation.
Another weak area is that of the bid for financial self-sufficiency especially at the chapter level. We have yet to make significant progress in this area.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Asia / Pacific movements and the regional staff for the support and encouragement you have given us in the past, and for sharing with us our sufferings and more importantly, our hopes and aspirations in seeing our people free, our society just and humane.
Bishop K.H. Ting, current head of China's more than a million Protestants was in Hong Kong early this year to participate in a Consultation. In an interview, he emphasized the principle of the "Three-Self Patriotic Movement" and said that the saying "One more Christian, one less Chinese" is no longer true.
Bishop Ting is President of the China Christian Council and Chairman of the Chinese National Christian Three - Self Patriotic Movement Committee. He served the WSCF as a staff person for Asia in 1948-49, and returned to China after the revolution to participate in the building of a socialist China. The Bishop who is also principal of the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary said: "The future of Christianity in China is promising as the Government upholds the policy of religious freedom."
The International Coordinating Committee of the FIM met in Geneva from Oct 28 through Nov 1, 1981 at the Centre John Knox. This is the first meeting after the structure of the program, was revised in 1980. The ICC adopted a set of constitutional guidelines for effective functioning of the program. It received, reviewed and approved project and candidate applications for 1982. Choi Wan, Mary from Hong Kong and Young Ju Park: from Korea are selected for placements in Rome and the U.S. respectively. Rev. Yuzon Lourdino, Secretary for Mission and Evangelism, CCA, and Koshy Mathew represented the Asia / Pacific at the meeting.
FIM-ICC MEETING. From l to r: Kathy Todd, retiring staff person; Sam Kobia, Emidio Campi, Co-Chairpersons and Koshy Mathew.
UNIVERSAL DAY OF PRAYER:
The Universal Day of Prayer for Students will be observed on the Third Sunday in February, 1982. The order of Service for this has been prepared by the Asia / Pacific region, on the theme “Solidarity, Human Rights, Minorities”. National Movements are requested to send the offerings for UDPS to the Ecumenical Solidarity Fund.
Kathy Todd, staff person for the FIM for the past seven years is returning to the U.S. She has left behind a legacy of an ever-widening horizon for new experiments. We wish her all the best in her new ventures and place on record our deep appreciation for her service to the world of young people.
Charles Ketekou from the Ivory Coast has been appointed Co-Secretary for the Africa Region. He will assume responsibilities from Jan. 1, 1982. Charles comes to the Federation with rich background of involvement in the Federation. Our Best Wishes to him for a fruitful term.
The National Ecumenical Students Conference (NESC) which brought together, 300 participants from all over the United States met in the campus of the University of California, Berkeley from August 21-25, 1981. It is the first ecumenical effort, since the late 60's, to bring together such a large group of young men and women to discuss and debate various social, economic and political issues that face America. Half the total delegation represented various ethnic minorities, and the representation of men and women were also equal in numbers.
Meeting under the theme "Come, Let us Rise Up and Build Together," the Conference heard a number of speakers on various aspects of American realities. Special efforts were taken by all to highlight and effectively address the questions of racism, sexism and classicism. A series of workshops on international issues provided, opportunities for the delegates to specifically, identify the role of U.S. in international relations.
The Conference, after a lengthy debate constituted a National Interim Committee with a long list of tasks. Specifically, the Committee was mandated "to support the efforts of student Christian movements which are committed to ecumenical participation and witness to the local, national and global mission in the proclamation of the Gospel." It will also take actions to form a national student Christian movement, and make efforts to relate to the WSCF and its North America Regional Committee.
The Committee comprises of 17 voting members drawn from the groups and caucuses present at the NESC and six advisers. Rev. John Moyer of California is named Staff of this Committee.
Stephen Payton, Standing Committee member from NZ upon the mandate from
the Committee visited
The Korea Student Christian Federation celebrated their twelfth anniversary in November and sponsored a public lecture on “Christians and the question of National Unification”.
CCA-WSCF JOINT STAFF MEETING:
In preparation for the proposed consultation on "the Ecumenical Task of Asian Student Movements", the staff of CCA and WSCF met in Singapore on October 19. Jane Leong and Ann Ng from Singapore SCM also participated at this preparatory meeting.
Following the CCA Assembly in May at Banga-lore, Ann paid official visits to the SCMs in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma. Koshy visited the SCM of Philipines in June. Both had opportunities to visit the SCMs of Singapore and Malaysia after the meeting at Singapore with the CCA staff in October. After the General Assembly, Ahn and Koshy visited many church related organisations in the USA.
Ahn represented the WSCF Asia / Pacific Region at the Assembly of the Christian Conference of Asia held in Bangalore in May,1981. He also participated in a WCC-CCIA sponsored consultation on "Militarism and Nuclearisation in Asia / Pacific" in October in Manila; and a consultation on China in Montreal sponsored by the Canada China Program of the Canadian Council of Churches.
Ms.Lidy Nacpil, of the Philippines SCM has been elected Vice-Chairperson
of the WSCF at the General Assembly in San Francisco. Lidy, a student of
Science in the University of the
THE ECUMENICAL TASK OF ASIAN STUDENT MOVEMENTS
WSCF-CCA JOINT CONSULTATION AT TAO FONG SHAN ECUMENICAL CENTER, HONGKONG
The World Student Christian Federation is a major founding force of the ecumenical movement and for several generations has provided ecumenical leadership and theological insight not least within the Asian ecumenical movement.
The CCA member churches were reminded of this relationship during a discussion on campus ministry at the CCA Assembly in Bangalore in May, 1981. The Assembly subsequently passed the following motion:
In 1966, at a joint consultation between EACC and WSCF, the EACC officially endorsed the WSCF as the official expression of the EACC in the University world. This assembly affirms the importance of campus based university ministry and feels it is now time to consult again on this agreement. Therefore, it encourages CCA and WSCF to hold a joint consultation early in 1982 to review the whole question of ministry in the university world.
In early August, the WSCF Asia-Pacific Regional Committee meeting in Tokyo endorsed the CCA resolution and made nominations and budgetary provision for a joint consultation.
In September, the CCA youth Program Committee met and resolved:
The Youth Program Committee strongly encourages the General Committee to ensure that the proposed joint consultation with WSCF in 1982 not only deals with ministry in the university world but examines the role of students in the emerging concerns of Asian societies.
Immediately after the CCA General Committee endorsed and moved to implement the above resolutions.
Thus on October 19, 1981, WSCF Regional staff, CCA staff and CCA youth Program Committee and SCM members from Singapore met to discuss and plan the consultation.
There was wide-ranging discussion on the history of HSCF and of the churches in Asia during the past 15-20 years. It became clear that much has changed since the 1966 concern for "a Christian presence in the university world". The altered role of universities, the effect of greater state control, questions of the role of students and the university in wider social issues, the need for Christian theologies and spiritualities adequate to present challenges, the response to conservative Christian student groups were all examined in some detail, in considering WSCF and CCA specifically, the history of the relationship between WSCF and the churches was raised.
To what extent has this relationship been a partnership? How do we talk of success or failure? With WSCF now concentrating on rebuilding its national bases what should be the level of WSCF / CCA cooperation from now on? How can the churches be more involved in such ecumenical endeavors?
This meeting realized that a consultation, which deals with the universities, student movements and ecumenical ministry will necessarily have implications for the future direction of the Asian ecumenical movement as a whole. WSCF's influence in the ecumenical movement may prove to be as decisive as in the past.
A RELEVANT MINORITY: historical glimpses of
the WSCF; pblished by the WSCF-IRO,
27 Chemin-des-Crets Grand Saconnex;
Though not a detailed historical sketch of the WSCF, “A Relevant Minority” updates the reader on the thinking and life of the Federation since the late 40’s. It is a valuable collection of documents and a paper on “a perspective on the WSCF” by the General Secretary where he seeks to outline the tasks of the Federation as ‘a relevant Christian minority….. which takes on itself the task of witnessing the full gospel by word and deed…. participating in His liberation of all persons and all things in hope for the final manifestation of the new heaven and earth’
… AND YET HAPPY – THE BEATITUDES REVISITED; edited by Emidio Campi. Published by World Student Christian Federation, Switzerland.
This compilation of studies on the Beatitudes was part of the preparatory material of the 28th General Assembly of the WSCF. The book is divided into two parts – the first part selects concise information about the Old and New Testament background to the Beatitudes; while the second part attempts to contextualize the theologians will be of great value to any serious scholar of the New Testament.
MINJUNG THEOLOGY – PEOPLE AS THE SUBJECTS OF HISTORY; edited Kim Young Bock. Published by the Christian Conference of Asia.
Korea’s foremost set out the substance of the faith as it is confessed in Korea to bring out the Korean character. It is a major breakthrough and a modest attempt at answering the question: “what is doing theology in Asia?” Preman Niles in his introduction sketches the theological scene in Asia to help the reader see the “Korean Theology….. in the context of a wider theological ferment”.
LIVING THEOLOGY IN ASIA; edited by John. C. England. Published by SCM Press, London.
This volume collects togather short writings by Christian writers from Asia. The collection of twenty – four theological reflections from eight Asian countries is unique for it arises out of a context of sufferings and struggles. Designed to be a “working manual”, it enables local groups to engage in serious theological reflections.