Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Somalia: Ahlu Suna New Proposals for Peace in Central Regional State Formation

Somali Sufi armed group Ahlu Suna Waljama’ that recently took over Dhusamareb town from government forces have suggested new proposals to end the standoff and pave way for new regional central state establishment. According to sources the group put forward number of what looks like conditions for peace and end to conflict with government in the area.
The group wants the federal government to recognize the religious movement, include it in the central regional state formation and name overall leader as mufti of the country.
Ahlu Suna which clashed with Somali government several times before has also fought rival armed group and Al Qaida affiliate Al Shabaab in 2008 while taking over key areas from them.
Somali government and its neighbors see the group as unavoidable as far as the fight against Al Shabaab is concerned but its political challenge to central government is not also going well with some of the Somali politicians especially those from the central region. (Source: Dalsan Radio (Mogadishu) 19 JUNE 2015)

Saturday, 27 June 2015

St. Francis of Assisi

Original text in Umbrian dialect:
Altissimu, onnipotente bon Signore,
Tue so le laude, la gloria e l'honore et onne benedictione.
Ad Te solo, Altissimo, se konfano,
et nullu homo ène dignu te mentovare.
Laudato sie, mi Signore cum tucte le Tue creature,
spetialmente messor lo frate Sole,
lo qual è iorno, et allumini noi per lui.
Et ellu è bellu e radiante cum grande splendore:            
de Te, Altissimo, porta significatione.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per sora Luna e le stelle:
in celu l'ài formate clarite et pretiose et belle.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per frate Vento
et per aere et nubilo et sereno et onne tempo,
per lo quale, a le Tue creature dài sustentamento.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per sor'Acqua,
la quale è multo utile et humile et pretiosa et casta.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per frate Focu,
per lo quale ennallumini la nocte:
ed ello è bello et iucundo et robustoso et forte.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per sora nostra matre Terra,
la quale ne sustenta et governa,
et produce diversi fructi con coloriti fior et herba.
Laudato si, mi Signore, per quelli ke perdonano per lo Tuo amore
et sostengono infirmitate et tribulatione.
Beati quelli ke 'l sosterranno in pace,
ka da Te, Altissimo, sirano incoronati.
Laudato si mi Signore, per sora nostra Morte corporale,
da la quale nullu homo vivente pò skappare:
guai a quelli ke morrano ne le peccata mortali;
beati quelli ke trovarà ne le Tue sanctissime voluntati,
ka la morte secunda no 'l farrà male.
Laudate et benedicete mi Signore et rengratiate
e serviteli cum grande humilitate.

English Translation:
Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.
To You, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and You give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens You have made them bright, precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which You give Your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of You;
through those who endure sickness and trial.
Happy those who endure in peace,
for by You, Most High, they will be crowned.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing Your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve Him with great humility.



Thursday, 25 June 2015

Laudato si
            ‘Laudato si’ (Italian for "Praise Be to You") is the first encyclical of Pope Francis. The encyclical has the subtitle on the care for our common home. In this encyclical, the Pope slams attacks against human life such as abortion, embryonic experimentation and population control — saying that respect for creation and human dignity go hand-in-hand. The encyclical, dated 24 May 2015, was officially published at noon on 18 June 2015, accompanied by a news conference. The Vatican released the document in Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, English, Polish and Arabic.
The title of the encyclical is an Umbrian phrase from Saint Francis of Assisi's 13th-century Canticle of the Sun (also called the Canticle of the Creatures), a poem and prayer which praises God through elements of creation like Brother Sun, Sister Moon…..
The first chapter, “What Is Happening to Our Common Home”, looks at the various symptoms of environmental degradation. The second chapter, “The Gospel of Creation”, considers the world the way that God intended it. The third chapter, “The Human Roots of the Ecological Crisis”, examines the twin notions of what it calls the “technocratic paradigm” and a “modern anthropocentrism” born out of a view that sees nature as a mere given, devoid of any spiritual or transcendental value. In the fourth chapter, “Integral Ecology”, the encyclical charts a path to recapture awareness of the interconnectedness of creation. The fifth chapter, “Lines of Approach and Action”, sets out various international collective actions needed. The sixth chapter, “Ecological Education and Spirituality”, shifts attention to the individual believer, families and communities, and invites them to make a difference in small but tangible ways.
The pope explains that “a sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings”. “How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?” he asks.
            The pope also addresses the highly debated topic of population control, a proposed solution to problems stemming from poverty and maintaining a sustainable consumption of the earth’s resources. “Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate,” Francis laments.
In the encyclical, Pope Francis also speaks of the importance of accepting and caring for one’s body, since it is through the body that man relates to the environment and to other living things. Accepting and caring for our bodies in their truest nature is essential for human ecology, he says, and stresses that this acceptance includes “valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity”. In acknowledging differences, “we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment,” the pope observes.
The pontiff also points to the important role that families play in educating about true integral human and environmental ecology; family is where children first learn how “to show love and respect for life; we are taught the proper use of things, order and cleanliness, respect for the local ecosystem and care for all creatures,” as well as how to be grateful for what they’ve been given and to ask for forgiveness when they’ve caused harm, he explains.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

African Leaders to Discuss Joint Piracy Response

            African leaders will meet later this year in Togo to discuss drawing up a continental charter against maritime piracy, the country's authorities have announced. Foreign minister Robert Dussey said on Tuesday night that heads of state and government from the African Union would be in the capital Lomé in November to discuss the problem.
            "The Lomé summit aims at defining a common strategy against maritime insecurity in Africa," Dussey told reporters. "At least 205 attacks on ships were registered in the Gulf of Guinea between 2005 and May 2015. Togo's coasts saw eight attacks, of which seven were foiled by the country's navy." The minister said the successful adoption of Africa's first ever strategy against pirates would be put before the United Nations Security Council.
            At present, only a handful of national, bilateral and regional initiatives are in place to fight piracy, which has taken off in West Africa in recent years. Unlike in east Africa, where pirates have demanded ransoms, pirates in the Gulf of Guinea generally steal cargo, especially oil.
            In June 2013, central and West African leaders agreed on a regional strategy against pirates to tackle the problem. Military chiefs from Benin, Niger, Nigeria and Togo decided to set up a centre for maritime coordination in August that year.
            Nigeria is the worst affected by piracy on the high seas. In 2012, 45 percent of attacks recorded in the Gulf of Guinea were in Nigerian waters. In 2011, it launched an operation with neighbour Benin to conduct patrols off the countries' coasts. (Source: Shabelle Media Network, Mogadishu)

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Message from the "Silsilah" movement: a Ramadan of peace in Mindanao

Zamboanga, Philippines  - "In a time when people are being killed because they belong to a religion or a specific group, it is important to remember the value of life, and reaffirm our common origin that gives us the same dignity as creatures of the same God": this is the message released by the Islamic-Christian dialogue "Silsilah" movement, present in southern Philippines for 30 years, on the occasion of Ramadan, the holy month of the Islamic community (18 June to 18 July 2015).
            The text sent to Agenzia Fides says: "We urgently need to reflect on new and alarming problems of violence in the world, in the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao. The presence of radical movements who support religious violence, leads us to reflect and ask: “Why is there so much violence?’’
            The message recalls the "Open Letter" signed by 126 Muslim leaders in the world in September 2014, condemning the "Islamic state" (IS) and is a "proof that the Islamic world is reacting to this new form of violence that adds prejudice and fear among people of different cultures and religions, even in the Philippines".
            The movement launches an appeal to "authorities, Muslim religious leaders in particular, so that they move with more determination against all forms of extremism emerging here and there, in the name of Islam. This is urgently needed to protect the identity of the Islamic religion and save the peace process in Mindanao".
            "Building peace on fear - it says - does not help the peace process. Silsilah continues to build, together with all people of good will, a culture of dialogue and respect". The text continues. "We hope that the month of Ramadan is indeed a time of "great jihad" which is a "fight of purification" of hearts and minds from all forms of violence. This is the spiritual path that Islam aims at, in particular during the month of Ramadan, and that Christians appreciate and respect". "World peace can only be built on love and mutual respect", it concludes. (Source: Agenzia Fides 02/06/2015)

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

'I Thank Our African Brothers for Supporting Us, and I Hope That Somalia Will Soon Be Playing Its Full Role in the Continent'

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia attended the African Union Day celebrations in Mogadishu. The ceremony was attended by diplomats, commanders of the Somali National Army and the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and other dignitaries.
The President addressed several issues regarding the role of the African Union (AU) in Somalia and other efforts the AU was actively involved in across the continent. "I draw attention to and congratulate all African countries on this occasion. Somalia will not forget the support of African countries. Today, with the help of our African brothers and sisters, the international community and the United Nations (UN), Somalia knows where it came from and where it is heading to. I am sure without that support we would not have made it this far. AU's support will be part of Somalia's history forever," the President said.
The President also talked about the African vision of 2063, in which all African countries are required to promote and empower the full inclusion and participation of women in all walks of life. He said that the Federal Government was actively empowering women, including the appointment of women to high positions within the Council of Ministers. He added that efforts are underway to enhance women's participation in politics, the economy, security and all other national activities.
The President also reiterated the commitment of his government to ensure the political transformation of Somalia through Vision 2016, so that all Somalis will have a peaceful and unified country to call home. (Source: allafrica.com, 25/05/15)