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The Sleeping Man at our Feet. How a religious reflex might help solve a political problem

zondag 11 februari 2018
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  • Photo: Gabriel Palacios.


“Capitalism, socialism, communism... It's all the same.

Por algo gobierno rima con infierno.” it read, the message that the photographer gave along with this image he made in a street in Venezuela. "Because all forms of governement rime to infierno (hell)" he mused, clearly in pain about the man he had come across, lying unconsious on the sidewalk in the city.


 

I had to answer that melancholy challenge, hadn't I?

This is what I wrote, spontaneously.

 

Well, no.


We must try and see the difference.


History has proved things can and will change.


Hell is not a permanent state of any nation.


Democracy is not heaven, but it is different from tiranny.



I remember I was in Russia, in a suburb of Novgorod, in 1994, with a group of international members of a world wide group of ngo's for youths, supporting UNESCO, the Unesco Clubs and Associations.

We came across such a foothpath. A man alongated, asleep.

HIs one leg in a plaster.

 

I stopped, thought fast about what I could do, might be able to offer, I

shook the man awake,

took it out and held the  big bar of Belgian chocolate that I happened to carry in my backpack in front of his eyes.

 


He woke after a few shakes, looked at me and at the gift, 

and made the sign of the cross a few times

over his chest,

and he blessed me in that way too.

The man was in his fifties,he

took the food present carefully, and spoke softly, repeatedly

words of benediction and gratitude.

 

I was moved,

of course,

even if I could not understand the exact meaning of the words he spoke,

but I was glad I had done what I could do,

 



 

I was moved,

and I was glad I had done what I could do,

even if the fate of this male person would not change in depth, for sure.


The other members of the delegation, though most of them really rich in money and real estate,

did prefer not to see.


 

I walked up to the group, and felt I deserved a smoke.

 

The Egyptian high official, a lady in her late fifties,

tried to lecture, to mother me about smoking tobacco,

 

I was jolly, I laughed, and belittled her in a friendly way...


Some things are more of existential weight,

then doing the utmost to save one's own health

in the present minute...


In the eye of what just had happened,

in realizing the extend of the Misery of the life that fellow man had to live... ....

 

And in the reflection,

in realizing what a normal, good, comfortable life I had in the end, even if I was rather poor and without the normal number of two parents....


I felt blessed.


No matter   what harm that sigarette would do to my inner body.


God is in our heart.


The challenge is to let him act and speak.


Especially when

"we are "in hell".