What touches us on Christmas? What touches us at all? I pick out three topics that challenge us in all European countries and which also affect the work and programs of the members of Oikosnet Europe.
Migration: "One out of ten made it to Europe, seven out of ten were picked up and one in five died or disappeared." In his catchy Twitter-quoted formulas Matteo Villa from the Italian Institute For International Political Studies ISPI summarizes his shocking experiences about the migrants. They try to come across the Mediterranean from Libya to Europe, were taken back to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard "or others" die or are considered missing.
Climate Change: After just two weeks of deliberations, the UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, recently came to an end. One of the goals was a set of rules for the practical implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015. At that time, it was agreed to limit global warming to less than two degrees, if possible even to 1.5 degrees. The promised measures of the states are far from sufficient.
Shrinking Spaces: What is means are dwindling spaces in democracies, restrictions on political, civil society or institutional development and development opportunities in democratic societies. "Democracy is experiencing its worst crisis in decades," the non-governmental organization Freedom House warned in its 2018 annual report. This finding fits in with a study commissioned by the Bertelsmann Foundation, which estimates that 3.3 billion people live in autocratic regimes.
What touches us on Christmas? What touches us at all?
The three topics mentioned are only a small part of the current events that surround us. But already they are connected with many concrete and shattering pictures, with pictures that touch and do not let us go. In this reality, we celebrate Christmas. And we hear it again and again in a variety of ways: "Do not be afraid!" (Luke 2:10).