Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Easter Experience by Fr. Cedric Prakash sj

                                                                                                                  THE EASTER EXPERIENCE
                                                                                                                                                                     -           Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*


As the Easter Triduum approaches, a disciple of Jesus is necessarily seized with His suffering, death and resurrection.

The highlight of this season is definitely God's willingness not merely to identify with us sinners, but to provide us with that Hope of eternal salvation,

 through the death and resurrection of His Son.


However, there are certain other dimensions that we need to pay attention to, if we intend to maximise the blessings which this season brings. These include:


Solidarity – All through the way to Calvary, Jesus demonstrates a tremendous solidarity with people from all walks of life. Simon of Cyrene is an outsider,

 a migrant who has just come in and Jesus provides him with an opportunity to be a part of His journey to the Mount.

There are the women who weep as they watch the plight of Jesus, but in the end it is Jesus who provides them with strength and support.

Then there is the good thief who shows signs of repentance and Jesus assures him of salvation.

The message throughout is obvious – be it the poor, the migrant, the women, the repentant sinner – Jesus is in solidarity with them.


Service – From the moment Jesus kneels down to wash the feet of His disciples, there is a paradigm shift in the meaning of discipleship.

At the heart of being a follower of Jesus, is our ability to serve others in humility. This service is epitomised in the post-resurrection incidents

 where Jesus constantly serves His followers. For Jesus there are no pre-conditions in service.

Service therefore is non-negotiable.  It is manifested in very concrete acts of love.


Standing up for – Throughout His life, Jesus took a stand for Truth and Justice. He was unwavering in this.

 When Pilate asks Him, "What is truth?" He preferred not to respond, which was meant to make Pilate realise that he was not on the side of truth.

The very suffering and death of Jesus is a classic example of what is meted out to one who takes on the establishment.

 Jesus however is unflinching and lives out the prophecy of Isaiah to the fullest. He courageously takes a stand on behalf

of the poor and the marginalised of His times. There is no denying the fact that the powerful and vested interests of

 His time killed Him because He spoke and lived the truth.


The Easter event therefore provides us with a charter of how we can make Jesus truly alive in a world where so many are confined to

 untold pain and suffering. We need to accompany them on their journey. Millions in our country are dispossessed of what is rightfully theirs. 

 The Adivasis are denied their identity.  The Dalits are still regarded as outsiders. The mining lobby in Orissa, in Karnataka (Bellary) and in other parts of the country

 carry on with impunity, regardless of the laws of the land.


Jesus always respected and supported the women of His times. In one of its first apparitions, He commissions Mary Magdalene to be

His first Evangeliser. As disciples of Jesus, how do we respond to the Women's Reservation Bill or for that matter, to the new Gender Policy of the CBCI?

Do we have the political will to ensure its implementation or is it mere lip service to be confined as a glossy document to decorate our dusty shelves?


Then we have political ideologies that discriminate against others on the basis of religion and ethnicity.  

The Gujarat Carnage of 2002 saw the Muslims attacked very viciously and recently in Bombay, the North Indians had to face the wrath of the Sena gangs. 

Christians have also been at the receiving end in Gujarat, Karnataka and Orissa.


As disciples of Jesus do we take the side of the victims? Too often we enter into our comfort zones and are afraid to take on

 those in governance and speak the truth to them for fear of falling out of favour. Jesus clearly tells us that this is not His way.

 While we do need to give ourselves a pat on the back for our services to others, Jesus also emphasises that our service should transcend

 the benefactor approach and reach out towards empowering the other.


The Pascal Triduum definitely provides many challenges to each one of us. We need to squarely face these challenges

 and to live them out in our daily life, if we truly believe that Christ has died, Christ is risen and Christ will come again.

The Easter experience is not a-once-and-for-all but in fact, the manifestation of true Christian discipleship.


 (* Fr. Cedric Prakash sj is the Director of "Prashant", the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)


PRASHANT   (A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)
Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad – 380 052
Phone:   27455913,  66522333
Fax : 27489018
Email: sjprashant@gmail.com     www.humanrightsindia.in




Saturday, March 27, 2010

Join Indefinite Mass Action of Narmada Andolan in Indore


• 62 M.G Marg, Badwani, Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Telefax: 07290-222464; E-mail:nba.medha@gmail.com
•Maitri Niwas, Tembewadi, Behind Kakawadi, Dhadgav, Dist. Nandurbar,
Maharashtra - 425414 – Telefax: 02595-220620



The struggle of people in the Narmada valley against its 'planned'
destruction by Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) enters in its 25th
year. The valley has been in turbulence and continues to reverberate with the
slogans of ladenge jeetenge (We shall fight ! We shall win !), even though
people are constantly under a threat of submergence and displacement due to
Sardar Sarovar, Jobat, Goi, Indira Sagar, Omkareshwar, Maheshwar Dams and its
canal networks. Continuing with their resolve to struggle and defend land,
rivers, forests, livelihood and cultures, hundreds of adivasis, farmers,
labourers, and fish workers will begin their march from Badwani (the district
place in the valley) on April 11th and reach Indore on the 13th to embark on an
indefinite action until justice is guaranteed.

'No Land, No Dam' is a slogan that always resonated in the valley since
eighties. It's now been proved on innumerable occasions that the government
and project authorities and even the monitoring agencies have failed to ensure
land-based rehabilitation, with the entire 'rehabilitation' process
infested with the virus of corruption. The authorities have also been
responsible for serious environmental violations and willful non-compliance of
law. The violation by the Government of its own Policies, Narmada water
Disputes Tribunal Award, the Supreme Court's Judgements has also occurred in
almost every area, showing the State's incapacity to safeguard the
constitutional and human rights of the people.

We, the adivasis from the hilly areas, who have been losing our land and houses
to these giant projects for years now, but still continue to occupy our place
in higher reaches of the hills, express our continued and stronger resolve to
fight for our rights. Others in the densely populated village communities with
the best of agriculture and horticulture can't be "ousted" and
"drowned" and doomed as well. We are not leaving our homeland and will
continue to struggle against the injustices foisted on us. Our share in the
development must be assured, including land, houses and livelihood to those
eligible as per law and the principles of justice.

People of the valley can't wait any more! Those of us, who were compelled to
climb up the hills and mountain ranges of Satpuda and vindhyas can't remain
hanging when our lands and houses have gone under water. While the Narmada
struggle enters the 25th year of its journey, men, women and children will
continue to move ahead. Dam height can't be furthered nor can the living
communities be drowned and their rights trampled. While SSP is the only dam
where about 11,000 families have received land for land, thousands still remain
to get their entitlement and Government of M.P, Maharashtra and Gujarat can't
continue to remain callous and disown any responsibility. Right to fisheries in
the reservoir must be granted to the displaced fish workers. Potters must also
get their share of land to ensure ther livelihood. The canal-affected families
must also be ensured full rehabilitation, as per the R&R Policy.

Displacement, destruction of livelihoods and environment not only by dams but
by other infrastructure projects too, has become a major state-sponsored and
corporate-induced national disaster today. Narmada Bachao Andolan earnestly
invites all like-minded people in the struggle for their rights to land, water,
forest, minerals, fish, life and livelihood and supporters of these struggles
to join in this march for justice.

Join us with your banners, songs and slogans as participants, as supporters in
solidarity and be the soldiers of the life long struggle – past and future.
Let us, together, demand an immediate review of the costs and benefits of the
Sardar Sarovar Project, which has delivered just 10% of the promised benefits
and has costed 10 times the approved estimates, with irreversible the social
and environmental losses.

Yours in solidarity,

Kailash Awasya   Ghokru Bhilala Ratanbhai Khemabhai Kamla Yadav   Ranveer Tomar
(Bhilkheda)         (Bhadal)    (Sugat)   (Jobat) (Chhota Barda)    (Semalda)

Siyaram Padvi  Ramanbhai  Pinjaribai  Punya Padvi  Shanta Yadav  Mohan
Patidar(Danel)   (Parveta) (Sikka)       (Somaval)  (Pipri)      (Bhavaria)

Details of the March:

•       The Indefinite action of hundreds of the displaced is to begin from
Badwani (the district place) in Madhya Pradesh on the 11th of April and shall
traverse a distance of 200 kilometers and reach Indore by road on the 13th.

•       At Indore, we shall undertake a mass sit-in before the Narmada Control
Authority until our demands for justice are met.

•       You may either plan to reach Badwani on the 10th or directly Indore on
the 13th.

•       Badwani is 5 hours by road from Indore, Khandwa, Dhule and Baroda

Your involvement in any manner in the upcoming action is indeed welcome and we
hope you will BE WITH US in this challenge that has fallen upon us.

For further information kindly contact:

Ashish Mandloi   Yogini Khanolkar Geetanjali Chavan Chetan Salve  Medha Patkar

(07290-222464)  (09423944390)   (09423965152)   (09420375730)   (9424076624)

Other Contacts:

 Madhuresh: 09818905316 (Delhi)
 Philip: 09446456616 (Kerala)
 Simpreet: 09969363065 (Mumbai)
 Shrikanth: 09179148973 (Narmada)
 Pervin Jehangir: 09820636335 (Mumbai)
 Shyam Patil: 094239496020 (Dhule)
 Suniti S.R: 094235717854 (Pune)


-  A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace

Street Address : Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052, Gujarat, India
Postal Address : P B 4050, Navrangpura PO, Ahmedabad - 380 009, Gujarat, India

Phone : 91  79   27455913,  66522333
Fax : 91  79  27489018
Email: sjprashant@gmail.com

Sunday, March 07, 2010





  - Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*



There will be much to cheer on March 8th when (hopefully) the Women's Reservation Bill is passed in Parliament.  A giant leap indeed after a delay of almost fourteen long years!  A wonderful present on the hundredth anniversary of International Women's Day. 


There are added reasons to cheer: the 'Save the Girl Child Campaign' has indeed highlighted the stark reality of the widening gap in the female – male sex ratio.  Laudable efforts by several, are definitely in place.  However, any radical change needs radical action; such concrete action will emerge only if and when we are willing to change the patriarchal attitude and mindset that exists in society.


A significant majority of girls in our society are still not given the opportunities to complete their formal schooling, leave alone going in for higher or professional studies. A little over a year ago, the Gujarat Government had identified 85 of 225 talukas of the State as Educationally Backward Blocks (EBB).  These 85 talukas covered almost 40% of the State and the literacy rate of girls, in this area was below 50%.  In spite of a Central Government scheme on the anvil to construct and run girls' hostels in these areas, practically nothing was done by the State Government to address this reality.


Domestic violence against women continues unabated.  In Gujarat, according to official statistics, one woman is raped and fifteen die unnatural deaths daily.  A good percentage of these deaths take place inside their homes.  The State, however, invests precious little in ensuring the implementation of the Domestic Violence law. 


Religion continues to play an important role in discriminating against women.  Most institutionalized religions are controlled by men.  It goes without saying that women exercise little or no influence in the decision making processes, be it in the Church, Masjid or Temple. Unfortunately, sometimes Sacred Scripture is also selectively quoted in order to legitimatize male domination over women. Several other instances can be highlighted making it an endless list. 


It is great to have a more gender-balanced Parliament! We do need it. The fact, however, remains that if we have to truly go beyond cosmetic changes, we need to break through mindsets and attitudes which are heavily patriarchal. A difficult step – but a must!



(* Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ is the Director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace.)


8th March, 2010    



PRASHANT   (A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)
Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052
Phone :  79 27455913,  66522333
Fax : 79 27489018
Email: sjprashant@gmail.com     www.humanrightsindia.in



"WHY WE OPPOSE 'GREEN HUNT'"....by Fr. Ambrose Pinto sj

This is what I published in Mainstream Weekly, a national secular journal. It would be interesting to have your comments

Mainstream Weekly

Home page > 2010 > Why We Oppose 'Green Hunt'

Mainstream, Vol XLVIII, No 11, March 6, 2010

Why We Oppose 'Green Hunt'

Saturday 6 March 2010, by Ambrose Pinto

For the tribals and the poor, "Green Hunt" is nothing else but a united front of state and mining corporations to grab their land and rich natural resources by silencing the voices of those who fight for their homeland rights. The state, the tribals and the poor believe, is in nexus with the designs of the multinational and Transnational corporations. The Honourable Home Minister, P. Chidambaram, had said that sacred hills do not give people food to eat or clothes to wear. That is why he explains that the state has decided to modernise and industrialise the tribal belt to provide food, clothing and employment. The only question the tribals are raising is whether they have any say over the model of development that the state has decided to impose on them. Can the state along with the corporations decide what kind of development they should adopt in a democracy? What has happened to the tribal self-rule law?

Should we Modernise the Tribals?

They do not buy the arguments of the Minister or the state that they need to be modernised or industrialised. What does modernisation and industrialisation mean for them? It is a mechanism to dry their water bodies, to pollute their environment and poison their air. Their forests and fertile fields have provided them employment and livelihood and they have been able to establish an intimate relationship with nature. They may like the Minister and the hostile state to go and check out the biodiversity of the hills of tribal India and how the food and medicine from these forests have sustained human civilisation for thousands of years. It is not the tribals and their livelihoods that matter for the state but the desire to mortgage the country to the multinationals and transnationals that has made the tribals angry.

Operation Green Hunt

How do they understand "Operation Green Hunt"? They look at it as an abominable and dangerous device to pauperise them further and hence they are prepared to resist it at all costs. The state has made statements that "Operation Green Hunt" is against Maoists/Naxalites. But the tribals think since Maoists and Naxals are armed, they can defend themselves. It is they who are unable to protect themselves. Since they hail from the oppressed, exploited, deprived masses and they have nothing to gain but everything to lose, they are willing to align themselves with the extremists since they have no other alternatives for protection and to main-tain control over their resources. Militancy will exist as long as poverty and deprivation of the rural masses exist. Given the increasing poverty, they are an animated and motivated force who will lay down their life for their livelihoods. They are equally aware that the police and para-military forces are placed in their territory to help the Corporates grab their economic resources.

Green Hunt is Loot and Plunder of Tribal Resources

Green Hunt, therefore, is actually a hunt for the green forests, green fields and water sources, rivers and springs, where tribals live and do agricultural work as the only source of suste-nance. It is actually a hunt by industries for the rich minerals in tribal land, denying the tribals the right over their natural resources. It is a public robbery by the state. The state desires to turn these areas into waterless deserts and pollute the air, water, vegetation due to the national and international corporate houses who are exerting tremendous pressure on the Indian Government to open up the country's natural resources for industrial exploitation. With state patronage, several corporations have looted the tribals and the poor already. There are examples of Enron responsible for the Bhopal gas tragedy, the Coke group in Kerala and several other MNCs who have polluted the environment and already robbed the tribals of their legitimate resources.

Green Hunt is a Head-hunt of

Tribal Leaders

Green Hunt is also a head-hunt for those young tribal leaders who are spearheading the People's Resistance Movements against the displacement of the tribal people and alienation of their ancestral land with all its rich mineral resources. The state's position that Green Hunt is actually a hunt for Maoists/Naxalites is simply not accepted by the tribals. The operation is a massive hunt for ordinary, rural, tribal people and their young leaders who are resisting the MNCs/TNCs. The heartland of India has been witnessing massive displacement of adivasis partly because of violence by the security forces deployed by the Central Government and vigilante groups such as 'Salwa Judum'. In Chhattisgarh alone, over 2,00,000 adivasis in 644 villages have been displaced while this resource rich land is being sold off to mining corporations, both Indian and foreign. Accom-panying this displacement is an equally brutal violation of human rights, through perpetration of torture, rape and physical violence against the adivasis. Does the state expect the tribals to be silent in the midst of these brutalities? When the state takes away their right to live by denying them access to their land and resources, what other alternatives do they have?

Greater Good Argument

The Maoist/Naxal uprising may not be a spontaneous uprising of the indigenous peoples. But when attempts are made to totally exclude the tribals from their cultural and environmental life, there is bound to be total alienation. Why should the adivasis and Dalits give up their homelands, livelihoods and forest access "for the greater good" as defined by the state? The problem with the greater good argument is that resources and nature are always handed over to an elite model of development that has nothing to do with the Dalit or tribal way of life and civilisation. In the early days of economic liberalisation, they had to give up their homeland, livelihood and forest access for more water and land to people of the plains. At the second phase of the opening up of the economy, they are being asked to give up their homeland, livelihood and forest access for mining aluminum and other rich resources of the forests for companies like POSCO and Vedanta.

Repression is No Answer

If the state is honest, it should ask itself whether state repression can solve the issue. Can state violence be a solution for the tribal problems in a democracy? The answer is a clear no. It is unfortunate that India is increasingly becoming a repressive, armed state. The Salwa Judum is an example where a nation-state arms people against people encouraging civil war in its own territory to further the designs of its development model. The only group that the armed forces are protecting is the greedy mining companies. Through repression, the people being killed, murdered and repressed are the poor and the already impoverished. Instead of lifting them from their poverty, the state's decision to wipe them out cannot be accepted as a solution in any humanitarian state.

Dialogue with All including the

Tribals is the Answer

For a dialogue the state may have to re-look on its development policy, the root cause for the present violence. In a democracy, people have to evolve their own model of development. The state cannot impose one from above. Such models have to be plural and include the culture and civilisations of communities. That would mean that no meaningful dialogue is possible without rejecting the present neo-liberal model of development and revoking the dubious licences that have been issued to loot and plunder the tribal resources. There is a need to include the alienated tribal communities in the whole process of dialogue. Maoists and Naxals are no represen-tatives of the tribals though they may be concerned of their wellbeing. Without the inclusion of tribal leaders, no meaningful outcome would emerge from dialogue. The Central Government has decided to pour in a lot of money in the regions. But such money invested in the area without any reference to the people of the region may prove to be counter-productive. There is another group that has encouraged violence in the area: the arms manufacturers. They would likely be against any kind of dialogue since they would have to close down their lucrative business. They need to be isolated. Some of them may be connected with the Salwa Judum. The promoters of this local weapons industry may include Ministers, bureaucrats and some respected corporations. It is equally important to keep out the Mahapatras and Misras and the likes who are seen as enemies of the people by the tribals. They have looted the tribal wealth for years and attacked tribal livelihoods. While violence can never be a solution, a genuine dialogue with those who are crushed by the present model of development with a desire to include them with their own model of development in building the nation will surely end the violence and a new era of development, as defined by the tribals, may bring peace and prosperity to the area.

A former Director of the Indian Social Institute, New Delhi, Dr Ambrose Pinto SJ is currently the Principal of St Joseph's College, Bangalore.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

In our judiciary, anybody can be bought, says Gujarat CJ

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/In-our-judiciary-anybody-can-be-bought-says-Gujarat-CJ/articleshow/5649335.cms

AHMEDABAD: Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhyay expressed concern over the
future of Gujarat judiciary when hearing the case of termination of ad
hoc fast-track court judges. The high court and the state government
discontinued services of 56 judges last November.

Discussing charges of corruption in cases of some of judicial officers
on Friday, Justice Mukhopadhaya said: "We are concerned about the
future of Gujarat judiciary, where money has become the main source
and where you can buy anybody with the power of money."

Justice Mukhopadhyay insisted on maintaining transparency in judiciary
in order to uphold its credibility among people. He asked the lawyers
representing the FCT judges how else the high court could have reacted
to allegations of corruption levelled against the judicial officers.

The FCT judges were relieved from service last year with a remark in
their termination letter that they were found 'unsuitable'.

The judge was of the opinion that issuance of a show-cause notice to
the judges concerned would have served no purpose. He also made it
clear that he was discussing the issue in the context of the judiciary
across the nation, and not strictly pertaining to Gujarat.


-  A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace

Street Address : Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052, Gujarat, India
Postal Address : P B 4050, Navrangpura PO, Ahmedabad - 380 009, Gujarat, India

Phone : 91  79   27455913,  66522333
Fax : 91  79  27489018
Email: sjprashant@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The end of impunity by Teesta Setalvad



The end of impunity


The struggle of man (or woman) against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. — Milan Kundera

It was not simply the number of lives lost, though the number — perhaps 2,500 — is not insignificant. It was the cold-blooded manner in which they were taken. It was not simply that 19 of Gujarat's 25 districts burned while Neros watched, fiddled and smirked but the sinister similarity in the way they were set alight. Militias were armed with deadly training, weapons, technology and equipment; with a lethal brew of deadly intent, inspired by constructed tales of hate, using the February 28, 2002 edition of a leading Gujarati daily that urged revenge; all combined with a deadly white chemical powder that seared to burn and destroy already killed bodies. And, of course, truckloads of gas cylinders, in short supply for cooking, were used instead to blast mosques and homes. Mobile phones and motorcycles made communications easy and movement swift.

Part of the plan was to humiliate, destroy and then kill. Another was to economically cripple. But at heart the desire was to construct a reality whereby a whole ten per cent of the population lives (and a few even prosper) as carefully whipped into shape, second-class citizens. Most incidents that racked the state, except the famed Best Bakery incident, took place in the glare of the day, not the stealth of the night. Critical to the plan to mutilate and humiliate was to subject women and girls to the worst kind of sexual violence. Tehelka's "Operation Kalank" records victorious testimonies of rapists and murderers who claim to have received personal approbations from the man at the helm. Over 1,200 highway hotels were destroyed, more than 23,000 homes gutted, 350 large businesses seriously damaged (and are still unable to recover) and 12,000 street businesses demolished.

Genocide is about economic crippling as much as death and humiliation. The Concerned Citizens Tribunal — Crimes Against Humanity 2002 called the happenings in Gujarat a genocide, because of the systematic singling out of a group through widely distributed hate writing and demonisation, the economic destruction, the sexual violence and also because over 270 masjids and dargahs were razed to the ground. The bandh calls on February 28 and March 1 by rabid outfits and supported by the party in power enabled mobs free access to the streets while successfully warding off the ordinary citizen.

Eight years on, it is this level and extent of complicity that is under high-level scrutiny. The involvement of high functionaries of the state in Gujarat did not begin, and has not stopped, with the violence. It has extended to destruction of evidence that continues until today, the faulty registration of criminal complaints, the deliberate exclusion of powerful accused and, worst of all, the utter and complete subversion of the criminal justice system by appointment of public prosecutors who were not wedded to fair play, justice and the Constitution — but were and are lapdogs of the ruling party and its raid affiliates. The proceedings in the Best Bakery case in the Supreme Court and the judgment of April 12, 2004 strips our legal system, especially lawyers, of the dignity of their office.

The hasty granting of bail to those involved in the post-Godhra carnage remains a scandal. While over seven dozen of those accused of the Godhra train arson have been in jail, without bail for eight years — and today face trial within the precincts of the Sabarmati jail — powerful men, patronised by the state's political hierarchy who are accused of multiple rapes and murders roam free in "vibrant Gujarat" even as the trials have resumed. The few that are in jail — ten of the 64 accused in the Gulberg society carnage, eight of the 64 accused in Naroda Patia massacre, two of the 89 in the Naroda Gaam killing, eight of the 73 in the Sardroura massacres (all the 84 accused of the massacre at Deepda Darwaza roam free on bail) are those with no political godfathers. A vast majority have lived in freedom even after committing unspeakable crimes. All this and more is being investigated under the orders of our apex court on a petition filed by Zakia Ahsan Jafri and the Citizens for Justice and Peace. For the first time in our history criminal conspiracy and mass murder are the charges, the chief minister and 61 others the accused. Will the wealth of evidence be matched by the rigour of investigation? Will the will to prosecute surmount political considerations? Will the Indian system throw a spotlight on what surely must be its darkest hour? As we stood, remembered and prayed in painful memorial, with lit candles at the Gulbarg Society this Sunday we did so in both faith and hope.

The writer is the secretary of |Citizens for Justice and Peace

Monday, March 01, 2010

Seven new behaviours for the Internet Age - 1 by Allwyn Fernandes

The Internet has changed the whole paradigm of communications. The
Church is not the only organization to feel lost, bewildered and
befuddled. Many organizations that prided themselves on being rock
solid on communications, have floundered. Some have died. Even a
computer company like Dell got hurt badly.

In the last few weeks, I have studying "Seven new behaviours for the
Internet Age". Starting today let me share them with you:

1.  Listen with new intelligence to the "buzz" and "conversation"
around you. "Buzz" and "conversation" are two current words in

Yesterday's Gospel provides a good starting point – "Who do men say
that I am?"

Was Jesus doing market research? Or was he asking for feedback? He
wanted to know the "buzz" or the "conversation" about him in the
environment of his time. He was keen to know EVEN THOUGH HE KNEW!

Unfortunately, today we don't want to know! And we want to silence
even those who tell us by accusing them of being "rude"," "impolite"
or "lacking charity". If only the Church worldwide had listened, it
might have saved itself the billions of dollars it is paying out in
the US, Ireland, England, Austria and Australia for the crimes of
child abusers.
The Pope is worried because new scandals are emerging, the latest
being in his home country, Germany.

Listening and the courage to speak up are important – and the Internet
provides an opportunity to do so for both.

On the Internet, there are several new layers of communications. There
are the idea starters who kick off new "conversation". And there are
the "amplifiers" -  the bloggers, the people who express themselves
freely, the Google Group and Yahoo groups like "mangalorean.com" and
"daiji.com" who increase the ripple effect by spreading the
conversation to their own audiences.

Interestingly, even though the official Church has failed to move with
the time and use the Internet, I find priests like Claude Saldanha and
Juze Vas using Internet groups very effective for giving people a
daily dose of spirituality. They constitute the Church on the
Internet. What is most interesting is that this is a bottom-up
development, not Top-Down, not from the hierarchy.

It is in line with what Fr Henri Boulad wrote to this group recently:
change will come from below. Yes, change is already coming from the
people of God who are more in touch with Him and themselves than those
who claim to speak in His name. ###

Responses to: allwyn.fernandes@gmail.com


-  A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace

Street Address : Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052, Gujarat, India
Postal Address : P B 4050, Navrangpura PO, Ahmedabad - 380 009, Gujarat, India

Phone : 91  79   27455913,  66522333
Fax : 91  79  27489018
Email: sjprashant@gmail.com