Monday, May 22, 2017

Leonardo Boff on Inequality, Poverty and Ecology in South America

ARCWP Bishop Olga Lucia in Colombia, translated by ARCWP Janice S-D. 

Theologian Leonardo Boff spoke on inequality, poverty and ecology at the Centro Cultural Parque de España.
"You can not talk about poverty without an ethical, political, spiritual dimension, a deep human feeling for all those brothers and sisters who suffer and are doomed to die prematurely from hunger," began Leonardo Boff, a former priest Franciscan, philosopher, writer, professor and ecologist. The Brazilian theologian gave a lecture on poverty, social water scarcity and environmental damage, invited by the Water Chair of the UNR.

Accompanied by the vice-rector of the National University of Rosario (UNR), Fabián Bicciré; The Dean of the Faculty of Political Science, Franco Bartolacci and the director of the Water Chair, Aníbal Faccendini, the dissertation took place in the Centro Cultural Parque de España.

Boff referred to international policy discussions that set out two key lines of poverty: the absolute, which includes people living on less than two dollars a day and affecting primarily the most vulnerable, children. And, on the other hand, that of those who access the basic food basket and some public services but in a very insufficient way. They live with two dollars and can not adequately meet human needs since "it is not just about killing hunger but about being able to live with others, having an area of ​​freedom, pleasure, meeting."

Lack of will

"We are condemned to live in a system that to survive has to make money with more money, which is not for production but for speculation. If we took 0.2 percent of all that wealth that produces nothing and is circulating in the economic banks, it could create a fund to kill the hunger of all human beings, provide a ceiling, health and a way of living minimally worthy "Analyzed the Honorary Doctor of the UNR.

"We have the means but not the will, the sensitivity. We have lost the sense of the human being, of seeing the pain of the other. As they are poor they are economic zeros, they produce nothing, they consume very little, but they are two thirds of humanity, "he emphasized and added that the relation of capital to labor is" deeply unequal "and that poverty is not on the periphery At the heart of the system.

Faces of poverty

Boff was present at the beginning of the reflection that sought to articulate the indignant discourse before the misery and marginalization with the discourse of the Christian faith, that generated the known Theology of the Liberation. In this sense, he commented that the Liberation Churches in Latin America analyze poverty from different perspectives.

One is the look that the rich makes of the poor, like a person "who does not have." "Sometimes they humiliate them, they say they are poor because they do not want to work or because it is God's will." The other reflection is that the poor have skills and can be inserted into the system, be a worker and out of poverty. "A lot of those who are poor today are in this situation but they continue to be dependent because the worker does not have bargaining power against the employer with power that imposes its laws."

The third interpretation is that "the poor have the capacity to look for alternatives to the system. Poverty is not poverty, it is impoverishment. Once they are organized, they develop a project and articulate with other allies, they can have historical strength to start something new that comes from below. " "This is the option we support to help them overcome their levels of misery," he said.

The theologian said that poverty has many faces. "There are the socioeconomic poor and the socio-cultural, such as blacks, indigenous women oppressed by patriarchy, those discriminated against LGBT, refugees who suffer marginalization and also entire countries that are led to a new colonization." He explained that these countries are those who refuse to have a national sovereignty project, a path of their own with their values ​​and traditions to become appendages of the great system, through deindustrialization, privatization of public goods and the sale of land ".

Finally, he said that "the other great poor is mother earth, because we have exploited it so much that it takes a year and a half to replenish what we take away from it for a year." "What we have to overcome," Boff said, "is the system that produces poverty, change the way we produce, distribute, consume, and treat nature, not as someone who dominates it, but as someone Which belongs to her. "

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