How are we living this pandemic? In our movements? What transformations are we seeing? How do we see the future? After the pandemic, how are we going to be careful not to leave as before?
Sarah (JOCI): The reality of young people. It is already very difficult for precarious young people. Many have lost their jobs. For those who work informally difficult to work. No unions, no job security. In the first week of May, we will ask our national movements and the young people themselves to share their concrete life experiences, by video. You could ask your members to do the same and, in June or July, we could share it all, summarize the most important points that we have found and write a joint document. We also have this reality which is the question of refugees with closed borders and also the increase in violence in the home.
Georges (FIMARC): Food producers are the most affected, farmers, fishermen, … Their lives are completely blocked. The closing of borders affects the most marginalized. Governments do not provide them with economic support. This is the situation for most of our members. Transport is no longer possible, especially for fresh produce. The closure of the schools has serious consequences because the meals it served were supplied by local producers. People see concerns for the economy and the banks but no government measures to improve their daily lives. In many countries, it is the poor who are most affected by the virus due to business closures (especially in India, Kenya, Pakistan and Indonesia). Government recommendations are not applicable (masks, etc.). If the virus were to spread further in the countryside, it would be a disaster.
Stefan (Cardijn international): Impossible to meet internationally but locally people get together and continue the activities. I cannot do an analysis at the international level but I can say that in Australia, luckily we had the fires. The government learned the lessons and got organized. Fortunately, as far as the virus is concerned, there are few cases. The government has taken economic measures, but it shows that there are many people who cannot afford one, two, three months. Big economic problems, no means, we have mortgaged the houses, people are left without resources and for the moment no solution. This pandemic reveals structural and economic problems.
Innocent (JECI): The situation is relatively similar in countries (containment). The first action is to promote awareness of protective measures. Another strategy is to combat false information through a partnership with UNICEF. UNICEF can provide all the information you need. We are consulting with our members on how the virus is affecting their lives and that of their loved ones. We also did a quiz which they can answer using Google form. We send one question a week. We are organizing a consultation on how to develop our strategy after the Covid to replace our pre-Covid programs.
Roy (JECI): Many consultations with the regions to see the influence of this pandemic on our members, their lives, their work. We support them, we share on the site, we give advice so that young people take precautions to fight against the virus. We bought “Zoom” to be able to plan meetings, seminars and training.
In Lebanon it is also a big financial, monetary and health crisis. We no longer find the necessities of life and especially no political stability. No real commitment to stay confined, very difficult to stay at home, they go out to work and eat (Tripoli, La Bekaa). Hospitals cannot respond to this situation. We lack information. It’s the same for Asia, Iraq, Latin America. We do not have a global vision of the situation at the moment.
Philippe (Pax Romana MIIC): The MIIC population is not the most affected by the virus. To start, an example: one of our members is a professor at the University of Milan. Since he gives online lessons, he has more students than before because obviously, there is nothing else to do so we go to lessons. And then another, Kevin, our President, a professor at the University of New York who says that online means allow us to have different contacts, including with people with whom I no longer had relations, who were not not necessarily comfortable among my students.
What we are trying to do are interviews between 2 countries from 2 different continents. Recently between someone who lives in Brussels and another a = in Libreville, Gabon.
We are also trying to ask the question: what is the somewhat original answer? I will mention 2: one from Korea: the Koreans reacted well to the virus because they had experience with SARS. They knew how to organize themselves in the face of an epidemic of viruses. They were surprised to see that the Europeans organized so little. Another example: in Hong Kong where people tell us: we have no confidence in our government. We organize ourselves. And it is by organizing ourselves that we are able to respond to these challenges.
One of the things that we have created is celebrations on line not on the models of the televised masses which became spectacles. The last celebration, we did it on Easter Sunday. These celebrations are essentially centered on the word: a sharing of the Gospel. It’s a pretty good experience to see yourself on a screen and the possibility for different people (out of 88) to be able to express themselves. The next celebration will be at Pentecost. For us it is an important day because Pentecost is considered as the feast of Pax Romana and to gather people of different languages that day is really to live Pentecost.
Clara (MIDADE): There are different situations depending on the country. Some are confined and have stopped all economic activities. For others like Brazil, government positions are not the best for the population. MIDADE movements stopped all activities where children had to be present.
There are national officials who continue to meet via social networks to offer fun activities but also proposals for further study (Italy, France, etc.). In African countries, they also use Facebook to disseminate preventive measures and useful information for children and their families on how to protect themselves.
At the level of Latin America, Brazil etc. they campaigned to help vulnerable families. In Peru (Manthoc) there are children who usually work to help their families. Of course it is difficult because at the moment they cannot work and the family is without their wages. It is the MIDADE which makes the campaigns of assistance to obtain money and other means to help the families.
The MIDADE World team sent an Easter message by email to all national officials to support them. She also contacted them so that they could find out what the children thought about their situation and reality. It also helps them to make a proposal and come together to collect this information and the voices of children through the movements. They had scheduled a meeting in April. They postponed it to November. They will see how to adapt their Action Plan decided to the last GA.
Regarding the issue of confinement, in some countries, for children at home, it is violence, harassment and sexual abuse. Manthoc Peru shares a campaign with Amnesty International. Today, after this meeting, the MIDADE team will also meet to share information and see how to continue their work remotely.
Ravi (Pax Romana IMCS). Discussion with national officials: information on precautionary measures does not reach village level, wash their hands … They are concerned with marginalized communities, and seek money, especially to help those who have lost their jobs and are already hungry. They are also looking to raise funds online. There are no more online courses because there is not enough internet access.
We must review our action plan. there are new cases and we don’t know how the future will be. We are looking for other possibilities for online formation, in the area of Church social teaching, or how to create new groups online. We have to invent because we can no longer make visits to the regions.
Maryse (MIAMSI): Africa is not yet too affected by the virus. The meetings are stopped. They are not really confined because to live, they are forced to go to work their little land near their house. There is great solidarity. They are all very scared. Treat with herbal teas that work or not. They go to their grandmothers’ books. Interesting to see how they organize themselves. Our members are executives. They are really worried about the situation of their children who are currently in other countries all over the world (USA, etc.). They are also worried about children who are already out of school and who are hanging out on the street. What will they become? They are trying to organize but it is not easy.
In Asia, we are in 5 cities. They seemed a little spared but more and more, the virus is winning them. In the islands of the Indian Ocean, they are victims of tourism which has brought the virus. Madagascar organizes many, many measures to help, be united. People go to the countryside, which protects them from the disease. Antananarivo has been contaminated by travelers arriving by plane. Lebanon is very affected, we have already discussed the situation. People are hungry (Tripoli). It is also a question of knowing that people close to us are hungry. This is surely also the case here in Europe.
In Europe, we are privileged because even if we grumble and go on strike, there is a government that is there to help economically. I would like to talk about a lot of solidarity.
Of course Italy was very affected and certain regions of France like us in the East are very affected. There are racist tendencies towards people suspected of having brought the virus to us: Evangelicals in Mulhouse, we have heard many very harsh things about them. It was not easy. And also the Chinese in Luxembourg, we avoid them, we no longer speak to them. These are things to note.
In relation to solidarity, this has been experienced very strongly in Africa, in Brazil. Doctors, in Africa, in Lebanon, etc. are exhausted by what they are going through. They are people from our community and Christians. They need a lot of support. We write to them. Even 3 words … We see those who are really passionate.
National Education: online work is going pretty well. For good students we see a follow-up of parents but for students in difficulty it is not easy. Families in some areas have no Internet or no equipment at all.
Currently the pollution has decreased, will we dare to propose solutions to pollute less in the future? We have to start on the future: how will it be politically, economically? In our movement, there are also people who “binge”, people who work in banks and who are always a little negative and shaken. They no longer know where they are. It is necessary to accompany them too. The Church accompanies us well.
We are provoked by actions which took place before and how to pass the course to change after? Some say that our environment will not change: take the plane, go back to finance and forget the poor as usual. The role of our movements is to prepare the future in the sense of saying what we discovered during this whole period and how can we change mentalities so that they progress and that we slow down our a way of doing just ecology. Everybody talks about it. Our planet right now, it lives again. We are affected but she lives again. These are fundamental questions to be seen and I believe that our movements must be courageous. It’s a fateful moment. You have to be brave and prophets. We transform, and tell the world everything that’s wrong. We speak easy and say that the world is suffering. We knew he was in pain, but this pandemic period was revealing. Poor housing conditions, workers sleeping on the floor (Singapore, etc.). For me, it is slavery. Knowing that they are sick like us, we must denounce these bad conditions. I think of Syria and Lebanon, it is up to us to assert ourselves so that there is a rapid cease-fire.
Finally, we are really at a turning point. Will we be able to take it so that the world is more beautiful and that there is real solidarity and living together?
Dominique (MIAMSI and CCIC): I am very struck by the current economic and employment emergency situation, in France or elsewhere in the world. I am worried about the economy to come. Currently governments, the European Commission are taking economic and social emergency plans, this by increasing the debt that will have to be repaid afterwards. What world do we want for the future? How can we improve the situation of caregivers but also of “invisible” workers who are essential to the economy? May all these people have more consideration and a better recognized place.
The CCIC is organizing, next November, at UNESCO, a great International Forum on just that. The title of the Forum is: “Metamorphosis of the world. How far can humans change humans? What compass for education? ”
Philippe suggests taking a tour so that everyone shares what is important in what has just been said.
George (FIMARC): The public health system has been shaken. A significant part is privatized and migrants do not have access to it. In India, the extension of Covid has been limited by the existence of a public health system. There are also selections among those treated: the elderly, migrants. The health system has a significant impact on society. All countries should have a public health system capable of blocking epidemics.
Carla (MIDADE): I enjoyed listening to everything you shared. This question is not only a question of health, but has consequences at the level of families, economic and social consequences which have effects at the level of poverty, unemployment and also which leaves poor people with even more difficulties. and that is a challenge for the next times when the question of the disease will be more controlled and the consequences, too, for the children.
Philippe (Pax Romana MIIC): The question I ask myself: what are the ideas that are currently present and that can be strong enough to be put forward? On the construction of the new world, in reference to European history, Jean Monnet could make the proposals for the declaration of May 9, 1950 because of his 20 years of experience in the League of Nations. He could develop an already existing idea. The question is: what ideas exist today for this world? What are the strong points to rely on for this world?
Roy Ibrahim (JECI): The world is starting up again. As a young person and a student, we have a great role to play. We all know that it is education that is the key to any change in the world in terms of inequality, of poverty so it is up to us, really, to support, to advocate what we want and so that ‘we can change everything we want and achieve sustainable development, we need global and universal solidarity from all young people and everyone, too.
Innocent (JECI): Fight against “infodemia”, bad information, that our members are properly informed, because it creates fears, panics. The impact of Covid will have to be assessed at the end of the epidemic. And, also, share the solutions that our movements offer. The collaboration with Unicef allows us to receive the correct information on the Covid. The link is on the JECI website.
Ravi (MIEC): MIEC is doing an evaluation questionnaire to define a document on public health policies.
Maryse (MIAMSI): We can also share it with the UN, the Council of Europe… We must extend to a larger group in order to share our reflection. We have to show our face as a different Church, as Christians, we have to ask for a certain policy. Our role is to trick real life. The life of Christ is also real life. There are good priests who really accompany people in this area. We need courage to be different. How to alert our Churches, politicians etc … to avoid the same development in the future? This virus takes us back to action. Do not forget faith and hope. Maybe we also need a position vis-à-vis the Church, we are always talking about missing information, maybe we can work on it.
We meet on May 23 at 2:00 p.m. to take stock of the reactions of our movements to the epidemic. And we are reflecting on a common text, a kind communicated to draw attention to the progress to be made for a better living together.
Report from Maryse and Dominique
Present: Sarah (JOCI), Georges Dixon (FIMARC), Innocent (JECI), Roy Ibrahim (JECI), Ravi (Pax Romana MIEC), Philippe (Pax Romana MIIC), Clara (MIDADE), Stefan, Maryse (MIAMSI), Dominique (MIAMSI and CCIC)
Absent: Marilea (MMTC), Sylvain (ACO), CIJOC, MIJARC