In English the word Minister is used for both Ministers of State and for someone ministering a church (like a Bishop or a pastor or deacon). The word minister actually means "one who tends to the needs of others".
According to the framework of Defourney and Pestoff, on top of providing for security and protection, an important role of the state is redistribution. For some time now people see this mechanism mainly working for the resourceful rather than the resource-poor. Consequently there is a reluctancy to spend funds abroad as people no longer trust their governments for having the right priorities. This seriously undermines the redistribution mandate of the Minsiters of Development Cooperation, often connected to their diplomatic and economic missions. It may be questioned whether a connection to the trade agenda is very helpful in this regard.
Central African Republic
In the meantime the other type of ministers, bishops and pastors, with the support of NGOs and FBOs are providing basic protection in the Central African Republic in absence of a state provider. They have been calling for international protection amidst the unprecedented violence. Will Ministers of Foreign Affairs take their collective international protection mandate (chapter 7 of the UN charter) to use in time? In a hearing in November the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in the US shared between the lines how the international protection mandate failed in the past both in Darfur and in the Balkan and is likely to fail again in the Central African Republic if action is not taken in time.
War Lords instigating religious tension
The parties in the conflict itself supposedly include Janjaweed from Darfur and Lord Resistance Army. The Central African Republic still counts five million inhabitants. During the hearing an employee of an international NGO Search for Common Ground points to three drivers for the millitancy: a sense of opportunism, a sense of marginalisation and a common faith. Basically the conflict boils down to brutal war lords from neighbouring countries (Chad and Sudan) joining Seleca to instigate religious violence for personal gain. With Chad joining the security council on January 1 the US delegate probably will have some issues to resolve with his colleague from Chad.
Today as I drove down to the Cinema to pick up my daughter, I listened to the radio and heard that the streets in Bangui are 'catching fire', people lynching each other, the UN peace keeping mission not being fielded yet. Apparently some banks are too big to fail, but some countries are too small to save. Despite Human Rights Watch even playing the card that prevention is cheaper then cure. Towards the end of the hearing two other drivers of the conflict were exposed: Gold and diamond export to London and New York as well as China, coupled with corruption exposing other forces probably having a keen interest in not resolving the situation.
For more info see also updates from OCHA at reliefweb
Most controversial photograph of the memorial week that just passed is very likely the above picture with the PMs of Danmark and the UK and the President of the USA making a selfie together. However, somehow it matched the humbleness Mandela showed during his presidential years. He wanted to be known as a leader of the people, not as a President of a country. The latter just fell on him while taking office after the most celebrated election victory that once and for all discredited all racial seggregation and discrimination all over the world.
The humanity of these powerful people was shown by this very act of enjoying a moment together while celebrating the life of the personification of humbleness and care for everyday life of all South-Africans. Was it inappropriate as some say? I don't know. I think it was just human. Some powerful people enjoying the company of one another, knowing to some extend they are each others peers sharing similar burdens.
Yesterday I attended a concert of The Messiah performed by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir lead by conductor Tom Koopmans. The piece was conducted in its most rudimental form as it was firstly played in Dublin, Ireland with a small number of instruments and a limited number of singers. Even the venue had a sober outlook, neatly fitting the story narrated in this magnificant piece of art. The most powerful one, sending His son to earth to live and die for humanity carrying our burden. If Jesus would have attended in South-Africa, he probably was not in the stadium, but could be found in one of the townships. And if he had a smart-phone he would probably have made a selfie with those still excluded, despised and rejected and not even interested to watch the ceremony.
My name is Reinier van Hoffen.
Click here for a summary.
Also find the text of a lecture Dr. Achterhuis held at the 2012 Bilderberg conference.