Bishop Matthew Kukah’s Foreword to an upcoming book: FORGIVENESS: GOD’S PERFECT GIFT TO HUMANITY


Mr. Mathews Otalike’s work, Forgiveness, could not have come at a better time. Our society has not been able to escape the ravages of war, crisis and conflict that have become part and parcel of life for millions of our people around the world today. Crisis, conflict and war today have multiple causes. The gifts of God, meant for our common good have turned into causes of war. Driven by human greed, bad politics, misuse of resources, a total lack of a sense of fairness and equity have turned our world into a cauldron of hate and violence.

 

St. James addressed this question when he poignantly asked, where do these wars from among you start? (James 4:1). James gives us the answer in the following verses when he suggests that it is unrestrained human greed and the wish to have our way at all cost that is at the root of war. Whatever the causes, the central question is; how do individuals, families, communities and societies finally heal? We have not found a cure to end war and that is because such a cure does not really exist. The challenge therefore is for human beings to design mechanisms for survival and for coping with war and conflict.

 

Every human society has a sense of right and wrong. Every human heart has a sense of pain arising from the brokenness caused by injury. So, whether we injure an individual or a community, these injuries often register deep scars that often invisibly remain in both the heart and in thought. Different societies have different methods and mechanisms for achieving wholeness. The wounds of injury often remain until a process has commenced to ensure their healing. And, healing comes by different names, wholeness, restoration, reconciliation, appeasement, pacification, mending, and so on. Reconciliation occurs at different levels, depending on the causes of the injury. The circumstances often determine the methods or the processes.

 

In the last few years, especially after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, many countries resorted to Truth and Reconciliation Commissions as the means of achieving national reconciliation. Thus, South Africa coming out of apartheid, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, among others adopted this methodology. On the whole, what citizens remember is that these processes may not have brought about absolute healings, but they set individuals, families, and communities on the path of self-discovery. They also helped them move forward. But, central to the entire process was the issue of truth telling/confession and the quest for forgiveness by both victims and perpetrator.

The late eminent Jurist, Justice Chukwudifu Oputa once stated that to be effective, justice/reconciliation has to be seen as a three dimensional issue: justice for the perpetrator, justice for the victim and justice for the society. In my reflections, I added a fourth leg, namely, justice before God. My argument was that in the end, if Justice does not bring reconciliation to God by any party, it will not have achieved its purpose.

Mr. Otalike’s excellent and penetrating insights into the theme of reconciliation are as edifying as they are a source of hope for many. He both teaches and counsels the reader. The book wrestles with the difficulties surrounding forgiveness especially given the depths of injury and accepts that it is not an easy path. He draws attention to the murderous excesses of Boko Haram, the Fulani herdsmen, armed robbers, kidnapers and accepts the challenging difficulties of dealing with forgiveness.

In spite of these difficulties, we, as Christians remain joyful and thankful to God that He has given us Jesus Christ, the ultimate source of our reconciliation to God. St. Paul tells us; it is through Him that we have been reconciled to God (Rom 5:2). He has given us consolation, and this consolation now enables us to have the courage and confidence to console others (2 Cor. 1: 3).

Every Christian must be ready to forgive, not because it is easy or comfortable. But, this is because we are the first beneficiaries of God’s mercy and forgiveness too. The Psalmist says that: God has not dealt with us according to our sins nor dealt with us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are far above the earth so great is His mercy to those who fear him (Ps 103: 10ff).

Jesus did not only speak about forgiveness. The sum totality of His life was illustrative of all that He preached. He suffered and died for us and as such, it is by his stripes that we have been healed (1 Pet. 2:24).

The only reason why God will forgive us is because we have forgiven others (Mt. 6: 14). The only reason why God will listen to our prayer is because we have forgiven those who have offended us (Mk 11: 25). That is why He says; we must set aside our gifts and seek forgiveness before approaching His altar (Mt. 5:24).

 

We owe Mr. Otalike a debt of gratitude for the painstaking care he has taken to research for this book. It is an eloquent testimony of his commitment to the faith and a source of encouragement. I highly recommend this book to all Catholics, young and old, married and single, priests, seminarians and all of us who believe in the healing power of forgiveness.

 

Bishop Matthew Hassan KUKAH

Catholic Diocese of Sokoto

50 Workers Fired for Refusing Flu Vaccine


The Most Revolutionary Act

By Heather Callaghan | NaturalBlaze

And so it begins… A healthcare system has literally fired 50 employees – in one fell swoop  – over a draconian flu jab policy

They can’t fire us all if we stand up, right? That might be the inner wishful thinking of those who refuse vaccinations while working in the healthcare system.

But as WGN9 reports:

A Minnesota-based health system has fired about 50 employees who refused to get a flu shot.

Essentia Health announced last month that employees would be required to get vaccinated for influenza unless they received a religious or medical exemption.

The system claimed that it was trying to “keep patients from getting sick at its 15 hospitals and 75 clinics in Minnesota, Idaho, North Dakota and Wisconsin.”

From WGN9:

Essentia says 99 percent of the company’s 13,900 eligible employees had gotten the shot, received an exemption or were…

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The odious in American media: FIRM BEHIND FAKE TRUMP-RUSSIA DOSSIER PAID JOURNALISTS FOR WORK


Fusion GPS withheld 112 transactions pertinent to Russia probe, say House lawyers.

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Fusion GPS, the liberal research firm that funded and distributed the anti-Trump dossier, has paid three journalists for work related to Congress’ Russia probe, according to court filings.

Lawyers representing the House Intelligence Committee made the assertion in a bid to force Fusion to turn over additional bank transactions involving reporters, law firms and a media company.

“The committee seeks transactions related to three individual journalists,” stated the House general counsel court filing, “each of whom have reported on and/or been quoted in articles regarding topics related to the committee’s investigation.”

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US and South Korea Announce Plans for Massive Air Force Exercise Aimed at North Korea


The early December drill comes as tensions continue to rise over North Korea’s nuclear program and Trump’s persistent antagonization of the nation’s leader

Region: 
In-depth Report: 

Featured image: A Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor fighter takes flight at a Joint Services Open House airshow at Andrews Air Force Base. (Photo: Rob Shenk/Flickr/cc)

The U.S. and South Korea announced Friday they will conduct a massive air force exercise over the Korean Peninsula next month as a notable show of force targeting North Korea—despite warnings that the Trump administration’s decision earlier this week to add North Korea to the United States’ list of state sponsors of terrorism could further provoke the isolated country.

Six F-22 Raptor stealth fighters—which are among the world’s most advanced warplanes—will be sent to South Korea for the drill, a U.S. Air Force spokesman told AFP, which reports:

The massive five-day annual exercise comes as Washington pushes what President Donald Trump has called a “maximum pressure campaign” against Pyongyang over its nuclear program.

The exercise, named Vigilant Ace, starts on December 4 with 12,000 U.S. personnel and an unspecified number of South Korean airmen flying more than 230 aircraft at eight U.S. and South Korean military bases.

Reuters reports that U.S. Marine Corps and Navy troops will also participate in the exercise.

Although the drill is conducted annually, it comes as U.S. President Donald Trump continues to antagonize North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on the world stage.

As Common Dreams reported this week, after Trump designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism on Monday, the North Korean Central News Agency called the decision a “serious provocation,” and warned that “our army and people are full of rage and anger toward the heinous gangsters” who made the decision.

Concerns about the escalating conflict, and the Trump administration’s vocal opposition to engaging in diplomatic discussions with North Korea, continue to rise in the U.S. as well as among North Korea’s neighbors, particularly South Korea. When Trump visited Asia earlier this month, South Koreans greeted him with massive protests—denouncing him as a “war-threatening, weapons salesman”—while Pyongyang claimed the president “begged for war” during his trip.

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India’s Growth and spirituality 🇮🇳🙏😇✨


Everyday Wisdom ✨

India was under foreign rule for many centuries.

After going through all that, with a population that is three times that of America, with only one-third of their land mass, with 600 dialects and 28 languages, the country is the equivalent of a continent, and yet, it is progressing. Why don’t you see this positive side?

If you go to any village today, even in the slums, they have televisions.

When we came to this area in Bangalore, there wasn’t a single tiled roof.

Everywhere, in all the villages, there were only thatched roofs. (I also liked the thatched roof but when it rains, it would leak.)

Today, do you see any thatched roofs at all? No!

India is growing very fast. In spite of seven religions in this country and so many languages, yet there is harmony. We have relatively less number of mental hospitals or even cases of…

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Ousted Zimbabwe Finance Minister in Court Over Corruption Charges


This picture taken on February 19, 2014 shows Zimbabwe acting Minister of Agriculture Ignatius Chombo inspecting a leaf as he officially opens the annual Zimbabwe tobacco marketing season in Harare at the Tobacco Sales Floors. AFP PHOTO / JEKESAI NJIKIZANA (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)
JEKESAI NJIKIZANA AFP/Getty Images
By Reuters

10:56 AM EST

(HARARE) – Former Zimbabwe finance minister Ignatius Chombo, among those detained by the military when it seized power before Robert Mugabe resigned, was charged on Saturday with three counts of corruption in offences that allegedly occurred more than a decade ago.

This was Chombo’s first public appearance since being detained almost two weeks ago after the military launched “Operation Restore Legacy”, which it said was meant to remove “criminals” around ousted president Mugabe.

Several members of a group allied to Mugabe and his wife Grace were detained and expelled from the ruling party, including Chombo, the ousted head of the influential ZANU-PF youth league Kudzanai Chipanga and a deposed leader in the party’s youth wing, Innocent Hamandishe.

Some supporters of new President Emmerson Mnangagwa have been calling for unspecified action against the so-called G40 group that backed Mugabe and his wife. Chombo, Chipanga and Hamandishe were allied to the G40.

Before his inauguration, Mnangagwa on Thursday urged the country’s citizens not to undertake any form of “vengeful retribution”.

Chombo was charged with attempting to defraud the Zimbabwean central bank, among other offences allegedly committed in 2004, the state prosecutor said.

Chombo was local government minister at the time.

He was not asked to enter a plea at this first court appearance and the state asked the court to remand him in custody until his trial on Dec 8. Chombo showed no emotion while the charges were read out.

Chombo told the court that he was kept blindfolded for nine days after being arrested at his home on Nov. 15.

“Some force struck the door to the bedroom” where Chombo and his wife were, he said of his arrest.

“While we stood in the room, there rushed in between five and six people wearing masks and all of them had guns. The guns were pointing at us,” Chombo said.

Chombo’s lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku, said on Friday Chombo was admitted to hospital with injuries sustained from beatings he received in military custody.

Chombo did not say he was beaten, had no visible injuries and appeared calm, chatting with the police guarding him when the court took a break. He was dressed in a dark blue suit.

The police have said they had no information on Chombo when asked to comment.

A former university lecturer and Mugabe’s ally, Chombo was promoted in an October cabinet reshuffle from the interior ministry to the finance portfolio, against the backdrop of a severe hard currency shortage that has dealt a fresh blow to the southern African economy, which uses the U.S. dollar.

In his main act as new finance minister, Chombo told parliament on Nov. 9 that Zimbabwe’s budget deficit would soar to $1.82 billion or 11.2 percent of gross domestic product this year from an initial target of $400 million.

Chipanga appeared at the court to face charges of making statements aimed at undermining public confidence in the defence forces. Hamandishe faced six counts of kidnapping and one of publishing falsehoods and was detained in custody until Dec. 8.

MDC DEMANDS ACTION

Mugabe’s fall after 37 years in power was triggered by a battle to succeed him that pitted Mnangagwa against Mugabe’s much younger wife Grace, who is 52.

Mnangagwa, 75, the former vice president sacked by Mugabe this month, was sworn in as president on Friday.

The 93-year-old Mugabe, who had led Zimbabwe from independence in 1980, stepped down on Tuesday after the army seized power and the ruling party turned against him.

On Friday, Zimbabwe’s Judge President George Chiweshe nullified Mugabe’s decision to fire Mnangagwa as his deputy – a move that triggered the military intervention.

In his inauguration speech, Mnangagwa laid out a grand vision to revitalise Zimbabwe’s ravaged economy and vowed to rule on behalf of all the country’s citizens.

The main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said Mnangagwa’s speech “sounded like he was reading from the MDC policy documents”, it said in a statement.

“As a party, we are flattered to note that President Mnangagwa seems to have radically departed from the usual ZANU-PF drivel such as hate-filled language, empty sloganeering and the rabid promotion of racism and retribution against perceived political foes, both domestically and internationally,” it said.

The MDC demanded concrete action to investigate human rights abuses, steps to tackle corruption, plans for free and fair elections next year and assurances that the military would return to their barracks and stay out of politics.

In the early hours of Saturday, armoured vehicles and soldiers that had been stationed outside government buildings, parliament and the courts returned to Inkomo Barracks outside Harare, one of the soldiers manning the vehicles said. (Additional reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Dale Hudson)