[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#52:Re: Cooperation & Liberation Theology : Kozyn comments

From: John C. Kozyn <jckozyn@mnsinc.com>

From: drgill <markgill@clas.net>

 > *****of course my statement [cooperation between individuals and 
 groups is not a characteristic of the Haitian personality] is a 


What this little exchange between Gill and White et al indicates to me
is that when you look for good will you'll find it, and when you look
for malice you'll find that too. Attitude counts :^)

--> snip <--

> regardless of what happened to Ortega, the facts regarding liberation
> theology are clear......a "shooting star of an idea".....went up quick
> and fell just as quickly.....in fact, this form of theology has already
> become "passe" among the intellectual classes in Central and South
> America......and, i might add, this disillusionment with LT began before
> the Soviet Union caved in.......

I really don't understand what the former S.U. had/has to do with
Liberation Theology. Clearly, Gill wants to locate LT within an
East-West or communist/capitalist paradigm. Many of LT's rightist
critics have attempted the same thing for almost two decades, but they
fail first of all to recognize that LT - to be authentic, insofar as I'm
concerned anyway - must necessarily come from the grassroots; a local
community. (I promise I'll try to stay on Haiti Bob, but you started
this thread ;)

If academics no longer wish to discuss or research the topic, who cares?
Does that notion impact on the people who still appreciate that? I don't
think so. Anyway, the job of academics (sociologists anyway) is to
explain reality credibly and not to create it ;) 

Maybe Mark Gill's example (current Nicaraguan Minister of Education)
Humberto Belli) finds LT passé, but that doesn't mean that LT is not
apparent all over world in varying degrees of commitment and involvment.
The Nicaraguan experience was unique because it crystallized the
confluence of three ideals informing that revolution: nationalist,
Marxist and Christian (read Catholic). But it was not reflective of what
was going on elsewhere. That being said, you don't have to be a Marxist
to see class discrimination in action. You only have to be aware of the
society in which you find yourself. 
> in fact, Nicaragua is not a good test for LT....in that the use of the
> phraseology of LT by some within the Sandinista group was sham.....
> the Ortega boys were never committed to this form of theology and
> those priests who originally sided with Ortega were soon to leave when
> Ortega came to power.......the priests were quickly shunted off
> to unimportant positions......i mean, look, the story is public about all
> this........

The Cardenal brothers (both priests) held ministerial portfolios,
Foreign Minister Déscoto was a former Maryknoll priest. Anyway, enough
of Nicaragua...
> what still attracts people to LT is social justice.....

I wouldn't disagree with that.

> Mr. Aristide, who
> seems to still represent Ti Ligliz, does not, at least to my knowledge,
> discuss marxist methods and i dont hear much about land reform.....

Mark Gill's obsession with "marxist methods" remains to be defined (and
this is at least the second reference to that idea.). Why should
Aristide be talking about a dead German philosopher anyway...? I think
there are more important concerns in Haiti these days... 

> land reform under LT requires nothing more than tryanny.....forcing
> whomever to give up ones lands.....in the name "of the people"....this is
> the usual rethoric of authoritarianism.........so that, if one professes
> the entire package of LT, one is actually saying that one is either
> authoritarian or totalitarian.......

I don't know what the "entire package" of LT is supposed to mean. Does
anyone else? Nor do I think anyone "professes" LT. It's really not that
difficult to grasp; it's simply a way of interpreting Scripture in a
proactive way to lend a bit of (material) dignity to one's life and to
ground that activity in religio-cultural ways that give meaning. That's
it. I think the most important idea here is that religious activity
based upon precepts of love for one's fellow man gives meaning to
peoples lives. You cannot divorce such activity, pastoral or social,
from spiritual and religious beliefs.

> we need to at least be realistic about what LT actually means if it
> were implemented......

Well, I don't know about the subjunctive tense, but I would assert that
LT cannot be implemented. It is not a doctrine by fiat to be handed down
from above. It can only be lived - I think the term that old-fashioned
academics used was "praxis". I also think such a term may be found in
various writings by the long dead Karl Marx, or maybe one of his
revisionist interpreters, who knows?

BTW gang, I have a little Haitian joke to share (!) No, sorry it's not
in Kreyòl (but that was how it was told to me several months ago when I
was up in the Caho mountains visiting a parish that my church here in
the US has a sister relationship with).

In the diocese of Gonaïves they don't refer to TKL (Ti Kominote Legliz)
as that, but rather, church-based organizations engaged in pastoral
activity there are known as TFL (Ti Fraternite Legliz). So, I asked the
pastor why the difference. 

He replied that the Diocese of Gonaïves changed the appelation following
a vote among all the priests in the diocese in order for the Church to
distance itself somewhat from politics. (I wondered who submitted the
agenda item and why the Sisters didn't participate, but whatever...)
Father then went on to say that when the people learned that the acronym
had been changed from TKL to TFL, they promptly re-baptized the acronym
as Ti Fanmi Lavalas! (Yeah, I laughed too :^D

I then asked Father if there was any difference between TKL in the rest
of the country and TFL (Gonaïves) in terms of the work they do and he
replied there was none. End of story.

(BTW, most of this work combines the pastoral with the material -
praying together, finding solutions to common problems, etc. Does that
make these people Marxists? I don't think so. I also think we need to
find new language, new paradigms maybe, to describe socio-religious
activities that rely much less upon tired, passé labels from a bygone

John Kozyn