Flying the flag at half mast

Flying the flag at half mast

By Fr. Rif’at Bader

Here are some ideas that can be summed up in five points:

1. On the eve marking Independence Day, Caritas Jordan whose name means "love" celebrated its 50th anniversary. It was in 1967 when the Palestinian territories were occupied and waves of the displaced arrived in Jordan seeking a safe haven. At that time, Caritas came into existence to serve and support the people whose territories were occupied. Caritas welcomes nowadays brethren from Iraq and Syria. It, furthermore, provides aid to needy families in our society in wintertime. During the month of Ramadan, Caritas provides free meals through its affiliated restaurant, the Restaurant of Mercy. Pope Francis and several world officials have conveyed good wishes to Caritas on its golden jubilee, which boosted the morale of its director Mr. Wael Suleiman and his work teams.

2. Marking Jordan’s Independence Day, at a time when all places were festooned with Jordan flags and various celebrations were held, we say that Jordan, thanks God, is stable and safe. As Jordan supports the excelling youths and children, this leads to the emergence of a mentality that sets the bases for creativity. On the other hand, we say that the extremist and fanatical thoughts which thrive on the views of violent and extremist organizations and groups cannot be fought with speeches, but rather with the refinement of talents and the development of artistic and creative movements. At this year's Independence Day, I realized the emergence of a great national cultural and artistic project titled, “We fight extremism with enlightened thoughts, noble art and sublime culture.”

3. The euphoria marking Independence Day was marred by one of the most horrible crimes that rocked and saddened the Arab and human families through the attack on a bus carrying children and families heading to pray at Saint Samuel Monastery in Minya, south of Egypt. Speeches of condemnation ensued with the Egyptian flag drawn on the façades of many of the world's landmarks. Jordan was the only country that flew the Jordanian flag at half mast for one day. The first day of the holy month of Ramadan--whose holiness includes fasting, prayers and alms giving--urges people to maintain the dignity of humans, beyond every consideration, as well as respect the doctrines and rites of the other “brethren” which are the core of genuine religious teachings. The Jordanian flag was flown at half mast as a sign of solidarity. This gesture, which is a sign of solidarity, will make the citizens feel proud of being affiliated with the flag that will always remain flying high.

4. The Vatican's annual congratulatory message to Muslims around the world marking the advent of Ramadan is focused on the care for the common home of humanity, namely the environment, being a common ground for challenges facing the entire human family. The message says:"Our relationship with God should be manifested increasingly in the way we deal with the world around us. We are called upon to be guardians of God’s creatures, since this is not an optional issue with regards to our religious commitment as Christians and Muslims, but rather an essential one.”

5. The graduation ceremonies which include kindergarten, high school and university students are numerous these days. These are bright events in the life of students during which gratitude and appreciation is conveyed to educational institutions, to families and parents as well. Our wishes go to them to attain further educational achievements, for with education as well as with sublime art we can confront the reactionary forces of evil and look forward to the future with pride having made strides in the field of education.

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