Newsletter of the Berlin Philippine Community (December 2005)



The Spirit of Christmas

      Christmas brings us to mind about the child Jesus who was born poor: symbolic in a stable for farm animals. One can imagine a dark cold place, the smell of hay and straw, and the pungent odor of animal manures. The scenario of Christmas and the child Jesus makes us pause to think about the struggle for more social rightfulness for children forced to labor at an early age in scrupulous business establishments. This is no kind of life for a human being specially children.
       In India, children from Nepal are sold and used to work in carpet weaving and street prostitution. In many metropolitan cities like St. Petersburg, Bangkok, and Manila child prostitution continues to flourish openly. In the mountains of Columbia, the makeshift gold mines are constructed so narrow to pass that only children are used to crawl through. In Africa, children are used in trafficking drugs and hunted through the mine fields. If lucky, the child could survive with just a blown leg or worse lose both. In Afghanistan, children know only about killing. For them, an everyday life in the midst of violence means merely the survival of the strongest.
       In Germany, children sit under the Christmas tree singing joyful christmas songs. In principle, there is nothing wrong with that. On the contrary, one should not easily give up the orderliness of society. The child Jesus did not grow up in a palace and that is how we should accept him.
       We need to poke more on the people controlling the world economy to abide rigidly to the rules of the game on human rights. Different forms of protests could be brought up against these businesses using child labor however helping these SOS children is not that easy.
       Inspite of the tremendous work of many prominent human rights organizations like the ILO (International Labor Organization) and UNICEF very little has been done to control labor conditions for children.
       As individuals, we can help by boycotting products that use child labor. Helping children would take more than just understanding. When one lives only on counting his advantages, children in this kind of family and like other families are merely considered burdensome. Those who consider children only a burden and not as wealth would not care about them.
       Money alone can not solve the problem to provide a start for a better existence. The root of all problems is living a poverty life such that even parents consent fully to abandon their own children.
       The struggle for human rights is only believable when it is taken in one sense: consideration for other people!! The situation of how the Russian military handles the children and civilians in Tschetschenia continues merely unnoticed.
       The sufferings in the whole world can not be fought on the conference table. One must drive the devil out of the house. We can only say to ourselves that christmas is love, harmony, and the best time to reflect in our senses when we think of the child Jesus as a poor child.

    Alan Valdez