A frank and open dialogue will always yield some results and a follow up. The main aim behind zuntier.com is to foster such a dialogue. A monthly editorial is now being introduced as a follow up to some of the themes discussed in the preceding month and as a commentary on some recent events.
Christian Colombo’s contribution for the month of September challenged us to think on matters related to gender equality. The article included a poll about gender equality in Malta. The results reveal that only 3% of the respondents think that there is no gender gap. This says a lot about Maltese society. A more troubling result revealed that harassment in public places was the most problematic of all problems mentioned. This was followed by sexist jokes, discrimination at the work place, and pressure to be a perfect housewife. These findings seem to suggest that the problem is very real and is not hidden behind walls – it is in our public spaces and we are comfortable enough to joke about it. Hopefully, this also means that a lot can be achieved by simply raising awareness and becoming more sensitive to the issue as a society.
Trouble in Syria
Anton D’Amato’s article was prompted by Pope Francis’ call for peace and prayer for Syria. The four-hour vigil on the 7 September brought together people from various faiths and non-believers. They gathered to express their genuine hope that a lasting peaceful solution for Syria may be attained.
The ensuing meeting between the US President and the Russian President; together with the will of other regional partners in seeking a lasting solution is a positive sign and one which must be welcomed. However, events must be followed very closely since it is still too early to determine whether any concrete outcome on the matter will be possible.
Points for dialogue
It is very encouraging to note that both Pope Francis and Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI are continuing to actively engage in dialogue between believers and non-believers. In a reply to an editorial piece on the encyclical “Lumen Fidei”, Pope Francis pays tribute to his predecessor who laid considerable ground work for the continuation of dialogue between believers and non-believers. He states that, for the believer, dialogue is positive and necessary. He says: “dialogue is not a secondary accessory of the existence of the believer: it is, instead, a profound and indispensable expression.”
Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote a letter in response to Pietrogiorgio Odifreddi’s book Caro Papa, ti scrivo. After addressing some of the criticism levelled against him and the realm of faith, Pope Benedict concedes that frankness is an intrinsic part of dialogue since it contributes to understanding. The Pope Emeritus concludes by stating that, despite the diverging opinions, the open and frank dialogue raised points which both sides seemed to agree on.