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Day of Families Observed in Libreville

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Libreville, Gabon - The Universal Peace Federation of Gabon organized on May 22 a conference on the International Day of Families in one of the meeting rooms of the city hall of the 3rd district of Libreville. To give impetus to the conference, Rev. Taty Ntoko Nelson used the theme chosen for this year by the United Nations: “Confronting Family Poverty and Social Exclusion.”

There were around 50 participants, mostly youth and dignitaries, including a mayor, former mayor, the President of UPF-Gabon, pastors, politicians, and labor union leaders.

This year’s theme had two clauses: poverty and social exclusion. In our nation, it is surprising to state that some of our compatriots who are stripped of resources find their daily meals in the dustbins.

Nevertheless, in reporting on our poverty, in our humble opinion, we list first the poverty of affections which have their source in the dislocation of traditional values, the disregard of customs and habits, the rejection of the quintessence, the base, in brief, the very foundation of the family. Here we are speaking of the family in the African sense of the term.

In effect, the outrageous imitation of cultures from elsewhere, because of an inferiority complex which is expressed in the rejection and the shame which some people feel when they use the vernacular language, express their cultural values and, in brief, their identity, when they teach and transmit it to their descendants—all this contributes to the impoverishment and exclusion.

In regards to religion, which has the mission to link people to the supreme Being by universal principles expressed in the great religious currents such as Christianity, the primary religion of Gabon, their universal law-giver, Jesus Christ, solemnly affirmed that he “did not come to abolish the law and the Prophets (in other words, tradition) but to fulfill it” (insinuating that this was his mission).

What this signifies, in our understanding, is that it is enough to show adequate respect for tradition and the demands that God makes upon us, through Christ, when he said, “what ever you do, whether you eat or drink, do it for the glory of God.”

In other words, we should seek to give value to our culture, our tradition, our reserve of being in accordance with the requirements of divine law.

Regarding the other phrase, concerning social exclusion, this is a consequence of insufficient love or lack of love in the relationships among family members.

In the traditional family, social exclusion hardly ever existed; only in isolated case, for example, vermin children in societies being sold into slavery. In spite of this, there existed altruism, a sense of community, mutual aid, where the infant was not the exclusive property of its birth parents but of the clan, the tribe, the village, thus filling in the gaps or insufficiencies, either in material or in affection, of the parents. Indigent people were taken care of, notably in the fulfilling of their primary needs.

Individualism has taken hold in our community, and exclusion arises as an import of foreign cultures. Therefore, what is needed is a return to our sources where equilibrium entered into our family and our societies by osmosis.

 

Conclusions of UPF-Gabon

Considering the pertinence of the theme, “Confronting Family Poverty and Social Exclusion,” of the International Day of Families of the United Nations, May 15, celebrated on May 22 by UPF-Gabon, after debate, the conference reached the following conclusions:

1. The dislocation of traditional values, the lack of respect for customs and habits, is the driving force that impedes the development of a society and a nation. In brief, the loss of identity leads to poverty of all forms.

In addition, UPF recognizes the efforts of the government of Gabon to reduce poverty in the families of Gabon. Gabon has granted to indigent people by means of CNAMGS (the structure created by the government of Gabon for indigent people) the nearly free fulfillment of the needs of people with weak economic resources. Family allocations offer a premium to young mothers who return to school.

2. The family, which should be the school of true love, has at its bosom the hearth of tension, rejection, and exclusion. Thus conflicts arise among generations; this gap leads to the failure to transmit cultural and family values to the younger generation. Thus, what is needed is a return to our sources, to  seek equilibrium in our families and our societies, holding onto the universal principles preached by UPF.

3. UPF takes responsibility as a social NGO, with the support of leaders and international organizations, to carry out activities to educate and raise up young people and families to value marriage and assure its protection.

Libreville, May 22, 2011

  Obame Essone Pierre-Claver
President, UPF-Gabon

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