WE do not know yet about our new leadership and Parliament. We should develop our own ideas about our future and not leave it to people without vision.

Opinion: FR OSKAR WERMTER SJ

So I will try and throw some light into the “House”.

We want a leader who will give us bread, fill us with what we need in our lives and join us in our troubles, a man or woman who feels with us and walks with us.

We all know about “politicised food”. We know about food freely given, which we can pass on to hungry, starved people. We know about food that fills us so that we can survive. Supporters of the “wrong” party are starved and do not get emergency food. “They must not benefit from charitable food supplies”.

I remember that I survived the end of World War II, when food was scarce, but we survived because there was considerable compassion with the crushed hated foe, parcels from the American people who used to be our enemies, whose victory and triumphant mood made them generous. There was no point in starving. Hunger had already crushed us. People of a human frame of mind did not want to cause more suffering. The time had come to forget and redistribute, and let the starving multitude regain life and happiness.

I was a little refugee boy, threatened by malnutrition, who nevertheless survived: the US forces rained parachutes down on us, not for armed allied soldiers, but they were full of chocolates for the children. Only a few months earlier the “chocolate bombers” had carried a lethal load of bombs and dropped them on an absolutely terrified population.

If our leaders, the winners as much as the losers, opted for sweets, then violence was over. The chocolates were signs of peace. They signalled there was no more war.

The food that fell from the sky was also “politicised”; but in a different manner. It was saying, “No more sweets from the sky. Also no more bombs and grenades dropped on city centres, on women and babies, refugees escaping on overloaded motorbikes and horse drawn wagons.” We must recognise the folly of war games and stop production of guns and lethal weapons.

“Politicised” food is poisoned food, designed to kill and maim. This “poison” spoils and disfigures our thinking, which we ought to throw out. It should no longer be tolerated. It is for death merchants, not for lovers of life.

Another poison is hate speech. It can kill and maim. Servants of the State and Government are meant to spread Peace and sink roots of Reconciliation, make a new Start. What do we believe in: prosperity for our families or destruction of our country, ruined by arrogance and pride?

We need to be sharp-minded and calculate risks. Emotional hate speech does not lead anywhere. Stay cool and build a fair-minded government.

Respect our elders and keep the temperature down.

Presidents and leaders must embrace all the people, not only all their voters, as being in their care. Human life must be preserved among us all. If you feel you are a leader, you must feel responsible for all our citizens, workers, students and scholars, for all, I mean, which makes us one. Not only the ones who serve the State or feed public workers deserve our care, but everyone who throws his weight behind his neighbours and work colleagues to form one republic, one state and one united padre (parliament).

One head and one chief or traditional leader unite as one body. We stand united as one civil community in solidarity, in ‘sickness and in health’. Our children are ours and they are one. We care about our bodily health and have a nationwide healthcare system that cares for every man, woman and child.

And yet there is Freedom which is guarded for us as one great gift. There is the gift of justice and of love and the integrity of body and soul, of gifts like intelligence and education and artistic talents.

Let us respect our achievements as sportspersons, as scholars, authors, engineers, as mothers and fathers, as artists and musicians. Let nothing split us and divide us.

Church and State are not one, but live in one country and enjoy the fruits of one and the same environment and nature. Mutual respect for one another brings us together.

Let us sing the same tunes so that we take our achievements and artistic performances to our Creator, one and the same beauty, not to be missed — ever! This goes together with the endless gifts which we have received.

One of the greatest gifts is Life and Health, loving kindness and compassion, friendship and Trust in the one and only God who will never stop embracing us.

We deepen our friendship by forever walking in his steps, now and forever.

 Fr Oskar Wermter SJ is a social commentator