Justitia et Pax Europa

 


Uttalande av Justitia et Pax Europa

”Fråga folk vad de behöver”


Att fråga folk vad de behöver är ett första steg att bygga ett välkomnande samhälle, ett samhälle som växer när vi respekterar alla människors värdighet. Detta blev lärdomen som representanter från Justitia et Pax kommissioner i Europa gjorde när de mötte olika socialt engagerade rörelser under sitt årliga möte som den här gången hölls i Köpenhamn och Malmö.

Den Europeiska Konferensen av Justitia et Pax kommissioner höll
generalförsamling och internationella studiedagar i Köpenhamn och Malmö 25 – 28 september 2015. Temat ”Europeiska modeller för att leva tillsammans – erfarenheter i Köpenhamn och Malmö” samlade delegater från ett tjugotal europeiska länder där frågor kring migranter, asylsökare och integration behandlades. Detta fokus var särskilt angeläget i ljuset av de livshotande politiska kriser som har drivit miljoner människor att fly till Europa från Syrien, Irak och Eritrea.

I Köpenhamn talade vi med en representant från det danska parlamentet, besökte det danska institutet för mänskliga rättigheter och mediaföretaget Politikenshus. Vi lyssnade också på en paneldebatt med temat ”Danska statskyrkan och främlingar” där medlemmar från olika danska samfund och en imam deltog. I Malmö besökte vi Islamiska Centret och den muslimska Ögårdsskolan i Rosengård, representanter för svenska lutherska kyrkan i samma område liksom den katolska folkhögskolan Sankta Maria och Dialogforum, ett av Malmö stads antidiskrimineringsprogram. Därtill träffade vi representanter från ett flertal kulturer och religiösa traditioner på kvinnokooperativet Yallatrappan som integrerar invandrarkvinnor i arbetslivet i Rosengård.

De danska och svenska modellerna överensstämde med de lokala erfarenheter som de nationella Justitia et Pax kommissionerna gjort i andra europeiska länder. De danska och svenska exemplen reflekterade på så sätt en allmän europeisk erfarenhet när det gäller frågor om migranter, flyktingar, asylsökare och integration. Tre utmaningar framstod tydligt utifrån de möten och samtal som vi hade med företrädare i Köpenhamn och Malmö: att bemöta rädsla liksom att ge hopp, moraliskt ledarskap och en långsiktig vision för samhället.

Rädsla var ett återkommande tema under våra besök och samtal. Rädslan uttrycktes på åtminstone tre olika sätt: rädslan för att förlora sin kultur och identitet, rädslan för att välfärdssamhället ska kollapsa under trycket av ett stort antal nyanlända och rädslan att de nyanlända ska ta arbetstillfällen från lokalbefolkningen. Vi mötte också hopp. Hoppet tog sig uttryck i projekt som förstärkte kvinnornas situation, arbetsträning för arbetslösa, skapande av mötesplatser och dialogfora för människor från olika kulturer. 

Ett annat tema som vi tog upp i våra samtal var att politiker och andra opinionsbildare, enskilda medborgare liksom religiösa samfund och frivilligorganisationer kan vara väsentliga aktörer när det gäller etiskt förhållningssätt och trovärdighet. Under våra olika studiebesök påmindes vi om att opinionsbildare och sociala aktörer är avgörande om ett samhälle blir välkomnande eller ogästvänligt.

Det är alla demokratiska och mänskliga rättighetsorganisationers och rörelsers ansvar att bygga ett välkomnande samhälle i den mån de vilar på ett etiskt fundament som utgår ifrån att alla människor har samma värde och värdighet. Som medlemmar i Justitia et Pax Europa anser vi oss själva ha ett ansvar att främja välkomnande samhällen. I sitt tal till den amerikanska kongressen 24 september 2015 beskrev Påven Franciskus det goda samhället som ett som ” … målmedvetet söker att tillfredsställa gemensamma behov genom att stimulera alla människors växt, särskilt deras som är mest sårbara och utsatta.”

För att leva upp till denna kallelse som Justitia et Pax Europa är det vår uppgift:

•    att ta fram konkreta fakta och ge ett bredare perspektiv för att bemöta rädsla och argumentera för ett välkomnande samhälle;
•    att främja ett välkomnande samhälle genom att i första hand fråga sårbara och utsatta människor vad de behöver och tillfredsställa dessa behov;
•    att stödja och uppmuntra trovärdiga politiker och opinionsbildare att göra otvetydiga uttalanden och främja politiska riktlinjer som stödjer utvecklingen av välkomnande samhällen i Europa.

Justitia et Pax Europa



Den europeiska konferensen av Justitia et Pax-kommissioner (Justitia et Pax Europa) är ett nätverk bestående av 31 kommissioner i Europa som arbetar för att främja rättvisa, fred och respekt för mänskliga rättigheter och mänsklig värdighet. Justitia et Pax Europa bidrar också till att öka medvetenheten om den katolska socialläran i europeiska samhällen och institutioner. Dess generalsekretariat ligger i Bryssel.
Kontakt: secretary@jupax-europa.org
www.jupax-europa.org
I Sverige: Justitia et Pax, Kommissionen för Rättvisa och Fred i Stockholms katolska stift
Kontakt: justitia.pax@katolskakyrkan.se
www.justitiaetpax.se





Den Europeiska Konferensen av Justitia et Pax kommissioner samlas till generalförsamling och studiedagar i Köpenhamn och Malmö 25 – 28 september 2015.


Årets tema är ”European models of living together – experiences in Copenhagen and Malmö”. I Köpenhamn kommer man att besöka det danska institutet för mänskliga rättigheter och samtala med politiker och media om integration av flyktingar och migranter. I Malmö träffar konferensen företrädare för olika religiösa traditioner, den katolska folkhögskolan Sankta Maria i Rosengård och Malmö stads Dialogforum.

Generalförsamlingen kommer att utbyta erfarenheter av de olika kommissionernas arbete och utmaningar och samtala om FN:s nya utvecklingsmål.

Den Europeiska Konferensen av Justitia et Pax består av 31 nationella kommissioner under ledning av Ärkebiskop Jean-Claude Hollerich från Luxemburg. Det europeiska generalsekretariatet är förlagt till Bryssel men varje kommission är självständig i sitt arbete. Justitia et Pax arbetar för social rättvisa, fred och nedrustning samt mänskliga rättigheter och sprider information om den katolska socialläran.


Kontakt:
Justitia et Pax, Kommissionen för Rättvisa och Fred i Stockholms Katolska Stift: Generalsekreterare Madeleine Fredell OP, justitia.pax@katolskakyrkan.se
www.justitiaetpax.se

Det europeiska brysselsekretariatet:
secretary@jupax-europa.org
www.jupax-europa.org










Conference of European

Justice and Peace Commissions

 


Justitia et Pax Europas generalförsamling och studiedagar ägde rum 3 - 7 oktober 2014 i Aten och Korinth. Temat var Protecting Human Dignity at a Time of Economic Crisis. Justitia et Pax Europa har gjort följande uttalande:


Protecting Human Dignity at a Time of Economic Crisis:

Final Statement of the International Workshop of Justice and Peace Europe


October 2014

The Conference of European Justice and Peace Commissions, representing 22 national commissions of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences, has come to Greece for an International Workshop on theme of Human Dignity and Economic Crisis. In Greece the impact of the crisis has been particularly stark and visible, with people taking to the streets to protest about the widespread unemployment and its consequences. We have come here to reflect on the threats to, and offences against, human dignity that have emerged, and learn about models of good practice for the protection of human dignity.

During the workshop we spent time with the NGOs Praxis and Klimaka, which are providing valuable social outreach initiatives. We visited the Amigdaleza detention centre for people seeking asylum and the Society for the Care of Minors, which looks after under-age migrants. We met with representatives of political parties and the proceedings were opened with a lecture from Prof. Vassilis Karydis, Deputy Ombudsman, who outlined current challenges with reference to the relevant human rights legislative framework.

In an address to the United Nations in May 2014, Pope Francis called for an end to the “economy of exclusion” through actions that will have “a real impact on the structural causes of poverty and hunger, attain more substantial results in protecting the environment, ensure dignified and productive labor for all, and provide appropriate protection for the family”.  Similarly, the experience of the NGOs we visited underlines the necessity of ensuring that the basic needs of all members of society are met. People cannot access employment and successfully integrate into society when they are homeless, have no income, or require treatment for physical or mental health issues. These organisations have adopted a person-centred approach, which recognises that our initial response to the most vulnerable must be based on need. In the short-term, the community and voluntary sector plays a vital role in supporting the most marginalised and excluded. The sustainability of these initiatives, in the context of sharp increases in requests for assistance, is a major concern.

While NGOs make a crucial contribution to the alleviation of pressing social need, the structural and systemic factors that trap people in cycles of poverty and deprivation can only be addressed by a change of policy at government level. Policy responses should be informed by the holistic approach to complex needs exemplified by the organisations we visited. Investment in models which empower people to integrate in society and make their contribution benefits the whole of society. During our workshop we saw positive examples of social economy initiatives. These should be further developed and explored as a way of helping individuals and communities to become actively engaged in improving their situation.

From the political representatives we learned about the depth of political alienation that has emerged in Greek society. The crisis has been experienced not only as a political crisis, but also a moral and social crisis, which requires a fundamental change in direction. Those who are suffering the consequences of the economic crisis are frustrated at the systemic failures of leadership and policy that have prioritised financial considerations over basic human rights and wellbeing.  The challenge for political leaders, at both a national and EU level, has to be to rebuild trust, by clearly prioritising the needs of people above the demands of the market, thereby inspiring people to re-engage with democratic processes in order to build a Europe of democracy and solidarity. The experience in Greece highlights the need for fairer taxation and investment policies, ensuring that the tax burden is distributed in accordance with the principles of social justice, that tax evasion is effectively combatted and that regulation of the financial sector ensures that financial institutions serve the common good.

Lasting solutions to these problems will need to be supported by policies at European level that put the needs of the most vulnerable at the centre. In ten days’ time, on 17th October, high-level government representatives from the 47 members of the Council of Europe will meet in Turin to critically examine the progress towards the implementation of the European Social Charter. Together with other NGOs, Justice and Peace Europe will take part in a parallel meeting to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. These meetings provide a valuable opportunity to reinforce our commitment to the protection of social and economic rights, enshrined in the Social Charter.

A further priority area identified during our workshop is the area of immigration policy and asylum. In Greece, as in many other EU countries, migrants and people seeking asylum are being kept in conditions that fall far short of our responsibility to protect human dignity. The practice of keeping these people, including victims of violence and trauma, in detention in conditions of imprisonment, is a grave injustice. In such conditions, provision for physical and mental health and wellbeing are glaringly inadequate. The right to family life is not respected. The experience is particularly damaging for young people during critical years of their development.

Solidarity and shared responsibility need to be the defining values of our immigration policy at EU level. In practice, this would mean additional supports for those countries which, for reasons of geographical location, are receiving a higher volume of migrants. Dialogue and engagement with countries of origin will be of central importance. In the case of Greece, an important contribution would be to exempt the Greek Government from the obligation to co-funding that is attached to the EU Refugee Fund. As a result of this condition, valuable initiatives that are supporting the integration of migrants risk losing their funding in the near future.

At the conclusion of our workshop, we wish to express our sincere gratitude to our hosts, the Justice and Peace Commission of Greece and the Greek Catholic Church for their willingness to share their experiences. We thank all the organisations that hosted our workshops for giving us an insight into their work. We take back from this experience many valuable insights for our own national contexts and our work at European level. In the community and voluntary and faith-based sectors in Greece we have seen inspiring examples of people who, in spite of limited means, are making a significant difference to the lives and wellbeing of others. This encourages all of us to begin with what we can, as even small initiatives can make an important impact.

The participants of the International Workshop and General Assembly first met in Athens and went on to Corinth. Thus, the gathering became a pilgrimage as well. On Saturday 4th October they celebrated Mass at Areos Pagos Hill at the foot of the Acropolis, where the Apostle St. Paul gave his famous sermon to the Athenians. The Mass, the first public Mass in modern times for Catholics, was presided by Bishop William Kenney, the outgoing President of Justice and Peace Europe. After Mass participants unfurled a banner which read: “Change life now: all and everywhere”, which was the key phrase of St. Paul’s sermon. Re-tracing the footsteps of the Apostle, on the following Sunday, the group celebrated another Mass on the site of the ancient Corinth.

 











Biskop William Kenney CP, avgående ordförande för Justitia et Pax Europa, firar mässan på Areopagen i Aten.



Justitia et Pax Europa har en ny ordförande, ärkebiskop Jean Claude Hollerich från Luxemburg.















Justitia et Pax Europas studiedagar och generalförsamling äger rum i Aten och Korinth 3 - 7 oktober 2014. Temat är i år Promoting Human

Dignity during an Economic Crisis. Från Sverige deltar Madeleine Fredell, generalsekreterare för den svenska kommissionen, och Henrik Alberius, ledamot i den europeiska exekutivkommittén och i den svenska kommissionen.


Här kan du läsa mer om mötet!


Under Justitia et Pax Europas generalförsamling leder Madeleine Fredell OP en Open Space kring Andra Vatikankonciliets pastoralkonstitution Gaudium et Spes. Här kan du läsa inledningen till Open Space:


Open space – General Assembly – Corinth October 2014

Gaudium et Spes - The Church in the Modern World


For this open space, I am of course not going to give any background of the formation nor of the contents of the pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes, On the Church in the Modern World of the 2nd Vatican Council. That would demand a seminar of several days and I take it for granted that all of you have studied it in one way or the other in your work for Justice and Peace. As you already know, the document lays the foundation of the Justice and Peace organisation which Pope Paul VI then establishes in his Motu Proprio in 1967. In GS the Council expounded the Church’s reflection on the modern world and the human being. The perspective, although not always that visible, was that of the poor people, the Church should serve the interests of the poor. It was also asserted that the church in itself, as an institution, had to take on a more simple life-style to be trustworthy. In fact, the concept “the church of the poor” was coined by a group of bishops already during the first session of the Council, and not a few of them wanted that concept to be the overall hermeneutical key for everything the Council was to say. Two other keys to the reading of GS is the Council’s mantra “unity in diversity” which returns in almost every document and Pope Paul VI’s favourite concept, “dialogue”, which he expounded in his encyclical Ecclesiam Suam, published in August 1964.

GS has a very complex theological background and many different hands contributed to its final stage which all in itself makes up a very interesting reading in church politics. However, no one can deny that one of the more influential theologians and thinkers who put his mark on this document was the Dominican Marie-Dominique Chenu (1895 – 1990). GS encourages us to read the signs of the time in order to translate and realise the message of the Gospel in our own socio-political context. Chenu claimed that “reading the signs of the time” was one of the most prominent sources for doing theology. To understand God’s revelation, God’s ongoing relation with the whole of creation, we must be completely immersed in the pluralism of human cultures, in modern sciences, not least in our cosmological research, in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, in our daily professional work, families, political engagements … It is in the midst of where it happens today that God reveals God’s real name, “I will be what I will be.” Chenu asserted that Christian doctrine, or more correctly, Christian faith, was not to be expounded in dogmatic principles but as the living word of God, as a continuous revelation in each person’s heart, in each person’s intellect, in his or her act of faith.

When reading the signs of the time, and thereby trying to understand Gods words to us today, we also have to be aware of our subversive memory, as Chenu called it. We have to take into account our faith history, or as Chenu said in an interview: “To recall the past, to return to the sources is always a revolutionary act as we are then returning to the basic creative force. Doing so challenges all the superstructures, one put on the other, during centuries. Not all of these structures are worthless, but we have to relativize them: to return to the original intuition transforms the present structures at hand. Each time we have returned to the Gospel, we have also returned to the ideals of the first Christian community.”

The original intuition or even a seemingly insignificant historical event may have been a marginal phenomenon but by time it can become fundamental for our self-understanding. The liberation from slavery in Egypt was such a marginal historical event, but it has become the overall symbol for all kinds of liberation, for liberation from all kinds of oppression. But Chenu is very clear when he says that we are not called to remain there. We are not called to build an archeological construct, but to change oppressive structures in our own context. And by the way, we can see from where our present Pope Francis has got his inspiration.

I think that the mission of Justice and Peace is to be this subversive memory and to remind ourselves, our partners and our societies of the “christic paradigm” in politics, economy, culture and not least in our own ecclesial institutions. What is this paradigm? Just to mention a few hints
- God gives the same salary to the one who worked one hour as to the one who worked twelve …
- who feels or is excluded from the world’s most revolutionary and open feast, the Eucharist …?
- what would happen if a man, or a woman for that matter, turned up at the forthcoming synod and told the high-priests and elders, the cardinals and bishops, that “whores and tax-collectors would enter the kingdom of heaven before them?”
- “Among you this is not to happen. Anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all.” What does it actually mean?

We are not here to “study” GS, but to reread it in a creative way. What can inspire us to this creative reading and action today? How to contextualise the christic paradigm today? Or how to be “a pilgrim of the future”, as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin is often called as he was said to be in love with the future. Before leaving the floor open to our sharing, let me give you some quotes from GS:

§4: To carry out such a task, the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel. Thus, in language intelligible to each generation, she can respond to the perennial questions which men ask about this present life and the life to come, and about the relationship of the one to the other. We must therefore recognize and understand the world in which we live, its explanations, its longings, and its often dramatic characteristics.

§7: Finally, these new conditions have their impact on religion. On the one hand a more critical ability to distinguish religion from a magical view of the world and from the superstitions which still circulate purifies it and exacts day by day a more personal and explicit adherence to faith. As a result many persons are achieving a more vivid sense of God. On the other hand, growing numbers of people are abandoning religion in practice. Unlike former days, the denial of God or of religion, or the abandonment of them, are no longer unusual and individual occurrences.

§22: All this holds true not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way.(31) For, since Christ died for all men,(32) and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery.

§62:  Although the Church has contributed much to the development of culture, experience shows that, for circumstantial reasons, it is sometimes difficult to harmonize culture with Christian teaching. These difficulties do not necessarily harm the life of faith, rather they can stimulate the mind to a deeper and more accurate understanding of the faith. The recent studies and findings of science, history and philosophy raise new questions which effect life and which demand new theological investigations.
(…)
May the faithful, therefore, live in very close union with the other men of their time and may they strive to understand perfectly their way of thinking and judging, as expressed in their culture. Let them blend new sciences and theories and the understanding of the most recent discoveries with Christian morality and the teaching of Christian doctrine, so that their religious culture and morality may keep pace with scientific knowledge and with the constantly progressing technology. Thus they will be able to interpret and evaluate all things in a truly Christian spirit.

§93: Not everyone who cries, "Lord, Lord," will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but those who do the Father's will by taking a strong grip on the work at hand. Now, the Father wills that in all men we recognize Christ our brother and love Him effectively, in word and in deed.





Rapport från Justitia et Pax Europas studiedagar i Berlin 20 – 22 september 2013


"Att bearbeta ett våldsamt och tungt förflutet och diktaturens efterverkningar som en utmaning för de europeiska samhällena"


Följande rapport är ett komplement till den pressrelease som gavs ut gemensamt av de europeiska Justitia et Pax kommissionerna och som du kan läsa lite längre ner på sidan.

Studiedagarna inleddes med en föreläsning av Dr Jörg Lüer, som arbetar för tyska Justitia et Pax kommissionen med rubriken Memory, Truth, Justice, Recommendations on Dealing with Burdened Past.  Temat har varit centralt för den tyska JP-kommissionen under första hälften av 1990-talet. Deltagarna hade i förväg fått ta del av ett förberedelsematerial som du kan läsa här.

Syftet med studiedagarna var att bättre förstå orsakerna till och följderna av det våld Europa, och i synnerhet Tyskland, upplevt under 1900-talet. Fokus låg på de två diktaturerna av nazistisk respektive kommunistisk färg som Tyskland haft. Det underströks att det aldrig finns några givna program för att arbeta med försoning. Varje enskilt fall av våldsövergrepp är i sig unikt och måste bemötas så samtidigt som vissa frågor och utmaningar finns generellt.

För att studera de olika typerna av politiskt våld och metoder som de två regimerna stod för delades konferensen in i mindre studiegrupper som besökte olika platser, bland annat:
-    Koncentrationslägret Sachsenhausen, som också användes som sovjetiskt fängelse efter kriget
-    Muséet Topographie des Terrors som är beläget i Gestapos och SS före detta huvudkvarter dokumenterar de övergrepp som skedde under nazismen, främst förföljelsen och utrotningen av den judiska befolkningen
-    Hohenschönhausen, före detta Stasi-fängelset, som också var fängelse under Nazi-tiden. Det användes också som fängelse av sovjetregimen direkt efter kriget.
-    Stasihögkvarteret där 180.000 tjänstemän var anställda och ungefär 200.000 informanter. Knappast någon som arbetade här har blivit åtalad.














Hohenschönhausen, den äldsta delen av fängelset under jord, som användes ända fram till 1960. Det kunde vara upp till tolv personer i varje cell.


















Ett av vakttornen i Hohenschönhausen. Fängelset låg mitt i ett bostadsområde där många av fångvaktarna bodde, och några av de allra äldsta fortfarande bor.


Studiegrupperna tittade på både offrens och förövarnas situation. Offren, vars självbild krossas, värdighet förtrampas och den totala isolering som de utsätts för. De utsätts för både psykisk och fysisk tortyr och är helt försvarslösa. Men också förövarnas värdighet skadas genom det våld som de självmant utövar eller tvingas att utöva. Det bör inte utdömas generella straff för förövarna utan de bör åtalas enligt gällande brottslagsstiftning.

I Hohenschönhausen framkom det tydligt hur stor del av befolkningen som var indragen i ett komplext angiverisystem där den grundläggande tilliten till medmänniskan helt raderades ut. Det som också var iögonfallande var att det rättsliga systemet rättfärdiggjorde övergreppen, ”alla bara följde lagen”. Dessutom visar dessa platser på att även mycket välutbildade människor också inordnade sig i systemet. Åskådarna (bystanders) spelar kanske den avgörande rollen för att grupper eller individer kan förföljas och kränkas av ett politiskt system. Majoriteten åskådare kan räknas in bland såväl offer som förövare och måste handskas med den skam som blir följden. Det ligger i orättfärdiga våldsregimers logik att göra vanliga människor till medbrottslingar.

För att uppnå försoning måste offren vara i centrum för vår uppmärksamhet, offrens behov för att återfå mänsklig värdighet och en mänsklig självbild. Men en äkta försoningsprocess måste också vila på faktiska analyser som pekar på vilka som varit ansvariga för övergrepp och också utkräva ansvar. Majoriteten av dem som gjort sig skyldiga till övergrepp under nazist- och kommunistregimerna har inte åtalats för sina handlingar, vare sig det handlar om krigsbrott, brott mot mänskligheten eller övergrepp mot mänskliga rättigheter. En försoningsprocess kommer också att arbeta med motstridiga tolkningar av det historiska skeendet. Det underströks att det var centralt att försöka se verkligheten utifrån offrens perspektiv för att hela deras värdighet och att det ofta behövs skyddade områden och grupper för att offren ska kunna berätta vad de varit med om. Våldsoffer förnekar ofta det som de varit utsatta för och kan även ha sådana skamkänslor att de inte utan vidare kommer att berätta om övergreppen.

Försoning handlar också om att återfå tilliten, människor emellan liksom i samhället som sådant, att komma över alla former av rädsla och fruktan för den andre. Kyrkorna kan spela en viktig roll i detta arbete, men måste också själva erkänna vilken roll de spelat under de olika diktaturerna. Här måste vi också våga se vilka brott vi själva åser eller är direkt inblandade i idag. Vilka minnesplatser kommer framtida generationer att bygga över vår generations övergrepp?

Under lördagskvällen hölls ett panelsamtal mellan Dr Robert Zurek (Institute for National Memory, Poland) och Uta Gerlant (Stiftung ”Erinnerung, Verantwortung, Zukunft”). I samtalet problematiserades det som kan kallas en ”minnets kultur” i Europa och vikten av att genom att minnas se det lidande som många människor utsätts för idag. Men det är också viktigt att vi vågar lyssna på olika tolkningar av det europeiska förflutna. Vi talar om många olika saker när vi talar om våldet i vår närhistoria. Uta Gerlant tog t.ex. upp de barn som ”kidnappades” och adopterades bort i Spanien något som pågick från 1936, men även fortsatte efter Franco-regimens fall. Även kyrkan var inblandad i detta. Dessa barn söker idag efter sina riktiga föräldrar. Uta Gerlant påpekade också att om vi låter bli att minnas kommer vi att lida av demens (”without memory we suffer from dementia”). Om vi inte vill känna till fakta om det förflutna kan vi lätt bli manipulerade. Vi måste också inrätta platser där människor kan få sörja.

Robert Zurek uppehöll sig främst vid den polska historien. Ockupationsmakterna, den tyska såväl som den sovjetiska, har båda försökt krossa polackernas nationella identitet genom terror och deportationer. Alltsedan 1989 har Polen varit tvunget att omdefiniera relationen till sina grannar. Zurek konstaterade att Polen har haft lättare att minnas och försonas med Tyskland än med Ryssland sedan 1989. Ett stort problem är att historieskrivningen i Polen ofta tillåtits bygga på propaganda också efter 1989, man har t ex haft svårt att komma till rätta med synen på den judiska befolkningen under andra världskriget.

Att bara se till den aktuella situationen och till framtiden går inte. Det historiska skeendet finns närvarande i nästan alla politiska beslut. En avgörande fråga är hur det aktuella samhället ska förhålla sig till de människor som var inblandade i den tidigare kommunistregimen. Nästan alla har varit inblandade på ett eller annat sätt …

Studiedagarna avslutades med en pilgrimsvandring i Plötzensee där de tyskar avrättades som protesterade mot nazist-regimen. Vid själva avrättningsplatsen kom vi ihåg Fr Alfred Delp SJ och Helmuth von Moltke (protestant) som gav sina liv i kampen mot nazistdiktaturen och våldet. Minnesplattor över dem båda finns i kyrkan Regina Martyrum.




 







Avrättningsrummet i Plötzensee där de dömda hängdes i tvärbjälken. Här avrättades de båda vännerna Helmuth von Moltke och Fr Alfred Delp SJ.


                                  









Pietà i kyrkan Regina Martyrum i Plötzensee.



Pressmeddelande från Justitia et Pax Europa

Press Release  Berlin, Germany 25th of September 2013

Conference of European Justice and Peace Commissions

Final Declaration of the International Workshop in Berlin
20th to 22nd of September 2013

 

Dealing with a Violent Burdened Past and the Aftermath of Dictatorship as a Challenge to European Societies


The work of peace calls us to courageous engagement with the reality and threat of violence – past, present and future. In Europe today the violence of our past weighs on the present and continues to cast shadows over our future. Seeking to better understand the causes and consequences of this violence, the Conference of European Justice and Peace Commissions has come to Berlin, from 20th to 22nd September 2013, for a reflection on these issues informed by the concrete experiences of Germany.

 

Our particular focus has been the violence of dictatorship, the political instrumentalisation of terror and oppression and the appalling consequences of the war of aggression unleashed by the Nazi regime. The analysis spanned different types of regime, ideology and methods. This has taken us to the former concentration camp of Sachsenhausen, the Topographie des Terrors exhibition in the former Gestapo headquarters, the Stasi museum, the former Stasi prison at Hohenschönhausen, and the site of the future Flight, Expulsion and Reconciliation exhibition on the plight of refugees in Europe during the 20th century. Through these visits, and contributions from leading experts in the field, we have deepened our understanding of the nature of this kind of violence and its impact on those affected. This in turn has led us to consider the implications of this past for today, and the lessons to be learned from it for the future.

 

During our days here, re-tracing the steps of both victims and perpetrators, the inescapable conclusion has been the centrality of human dignity to peace, justice and reconciliation. Reflecting on terror and violence through the eyes of victims the brutal effects are evident – the shattering of a person’s self-image, security and connection to society. Challenged to reflect also on the perspective of the perpetrators we have seen too how the practice of violence is detrimental to our human dignity, obliging us to retreat behind uncritical acceptance of rules and systems, becoming part of the machine.

 

It follows then that, human dignity, the foundation on which all human rights rest, needs to be the guiding value in our approach to the challenges of the past, present and future. Restoring the dignity of victims requires that we listen with compassion and openness to their needs and keep them at the centre of any proposals for reconciliation. All societies moving out of conflict owe a great debt of gratitude to those who bear their suffering with dignity and work for the common good of society.  There is need to ensure that this suffering is not exploited by those who wish to prolong conflict or exacerbate divisions within society or between nations, using the past as a battleground for the present.

 

In this process we have been confronted with the uncomfortable truth that most of those responsible for the genocide against the European Jews have not been brought to justice. The majority of the Nazi, Communist and other perpetrators of crimes of war, crimes against humanity and human rights abuses have also not been held to account for their actions.  Although nothing can adequately compensate victims for what they have suffered, the work of reconciliation cannot remain abstract. It needs to be grounded in concrete analysis, which exposes and takes account of different levels of responsibility, always with close reference to the needs of victims and the communities involved.

 

While there can be no blueprint for reconciliation, some clear safeguards against the abuse of the term can be identified. Processes founded on forgetting the past or blocking the victims’ search for truth and recognition represent a further assault on their human dignity. Also to be avoided is the generalisation of blame without due regard for different levels of responsibility and the context in which specific actions took place.

 

Addressing these wounds from the past presents a challenge to all of us on a personal, societal and national level. An openness to self-critical analysis is vital to this process. Reconciliation requires us to overcome the breakdown of trust and restore and renew relationships on the basis of mutual respect. Fear is often a significant obstacle in this process. As individuals and groups we can be afraid to expose our own weaknesses. We may hesitate to claim responsibility for our part in past violence in the absence of the certainty that others will do the same.

 

Churches have a valuable role to play in providing the moral framework within which the truth about the past can be explored and understood. Churches need to lead by example in this regard, engaging in self-critical analysis on their own role in the time before, during and after dictatorship, grounded in the values of truth, justice and solidarity. Above all, churches can point the way to forgiveness, which offers an opportunity for a new freedom and a deep renewal of relationships. We recognize that the learning process we have undergone here in Berlin is part of a wider learning process in the Church about history, memory and reconciliation. One of the strongest expressions of this process came from Pope John Paul II in the homily for the Day of Pardon (12 March 2000) when he called us to recognize “our responsibility as Christians for the evils of today”, asking forgiveness for our part in injustice and offering forgiveness for those injustices inflicted on us by others. At Plötzensee Prison we remembered the sacrifice of Fr. Alfred Delp SJ and Helmuth von Moltke who were executed because their Christian values were incompatible with the practices of the Nazi regime.

 

Our experience here has confirmed the value of the contribution made by the different memorial sites and historical projects we visited. Such educational opportunities are of particular value for future generations who may not otherwise have the opportunity to gain an understanding of these events. Crucially, they offer a space where we can educate both hearts and minds. The experience of dictatorship and war, where highly educated people merely followed the logic of the system, is a powerful illustration that a formal education will not necessarily provide all the tools we need for a deep appreciation of the humanity of others.

 

Our experiences in Berlin during this workshop have challenged all of us as participants to self-critical analysis of our reactions to offences against the dignity of the human person today. We recognize that there are places in our societies where people are kept on the margins, places that may, in the future, become memorials to human rights abuses.  Are we merely standing by while the dignity of others is offended and ignored?

 

Finally, it must be recognized that remembrance of this past is not only painful. We have been inspired by the example of those who fought to preserve their dignity and that of their fellow human beings in the most inhumane of conditions. We are reminded that even seemingly impenetrable dictatorships can fall and that new relationships can be built in their wake. This can be seen, not only in the history of individual nations, but also in the wider project of the European Union itself. These experiences should give hope to other countries currently experiencing, or emerging from, violent conflict.

 

The Conference of European Justice and Peace Commissions wishes to express sincere thanks to all those who made this experience possible: our hosts, the German Commission for Justice and Peace, the military chaplaincy of Germany for its generous support for our programme, the Maximilian Kolbe Foundations and all our dialogue partners, especially the community of Regina Martyrum, where we celebrated the central symbolic moment of our workshop.

 

For more information please contact:
Madeleine Fredell, Secretary General, Swedish Justice and Peace Commission
justitia.pax@katolskakyrkan.se
tel: 070 – 54 52 144

 


Note for Editors
The Conference of European Justice and Peace Commissions (Justice and Peace Europe) is a European network that today unites 30 national Justice and Peace commissions. Each one is established or recognized by its Catholic bishops’ conference. The secretariat of Justice and Peace Europe is situated in Brussels (Belgium).

 

 

 

 

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