Matters of Prayer from Global Headlines
Several elections are happening this weekend.
- France is holding first round presidential elections. There are 12 candidates and if no one of them wins a majority, there will be a run-off between the top two candidates. Since French foreign policy is set by the president (not the prime minister), the outcome could affect many outside of France. France is not the powerhouse it once was, but it is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the G-8, a powerful member of the European Union, one of the 5 declared nuclear powers, and one of the few nations in Europe that still has the ability to intervene militarily outside its borders. And it is a powerful force in the Middle East and played a crucial role in the Lebanese peace process. So, a significant shift in French foreign policy would affect many.
- Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, is voting for president and parliament this weekend, only a week after massive voting irregularities in Nigeria’s regional elections. The results will likely be more suspect than than the U. S. election of 2000. Pray hard for Nigeria; since independence it has yet to have two democratic governments in a row without a military dictatorship in between. The peaceful transfer of power is as important as the voting process.
- The tiny, rich, and beautiful Himalayan nation of Bhutan has been an absolute monarchy. Yet the king wants it to become a parliamentary democracy. A few years ago, he severely limited his power, then abdicated in favor of his son. Now, voting is underway in a nationwide mock election to teach the nation the mechanics of elections and voting. Next year, they are to try the real thing. The people are doing this for their beloved king. Seeing the instability of many of their neighbors, the majority of Bhutan would prefer the monarchy!
- Ukraine and Romania are having constitutional crises.
Other global headlines that should lead us to prayer:
- The people of Bethlehem, West Bank, Occupied Territories, are continuing a series of nonviolent protests to the wall that Israel is using to seal them in like a gigantic open-air prison (and not just Bethlehem). But they do so in solidarity with all the world’s suffering. This week, their protest included a vigil for the killings at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA!
- The U.S.-led “surge” in Iraq is not working. It is decreasing the violence in Baghdad, but only by displacing it to the rest of the country. Body counts higher than that at VA Tech are happening several times per week.
- U.S. Republican Senator John McCain, a presidential candidate, has made jokes in public this week about bombing Iran.
- Columbia’s president Ulribe has been accused by many human rights organizations of having ties to right wing death squads in his nation. Therefore, when Ulribe arrived yesterday in Miami, FL for a regional conference on global warming, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore cancelled his participation in order not to condone such massive human rights violations by his presence. George W. Bush’s White House spokesperson announced in reply that though this administration still denies the threat of global warming and catastrophic climate change (being proud members of the Flat Earth Society), it has the highest respect for President Ulribe. Sure, why not? After all, the military prison at Guantanemo Bay was modelled after those of brutal regimes like Ulribe’s.
- More fighting has broken out in the Rwandan capital of Mogadishu and those members of the interim government who invited in Ethiopian troops to help put down rebels now regret it and some are calling for the Ethiopian troops to go home.
- Carnage continues in the Sudan.
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