Christmas is about living peacefully and in solidarity

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BY ANDREAS PESCHKE

For Christians all over the world, Christmas is a fortune and for all of us, no matter of our religion, the coming festival season should be a time of peace, rest and meditation. The spirit of Christmas is peace, love of your fellow human beings, and solidarity. All these are universal values which any society should follow.

The last year has not been a year of peace in many parts of the world. Kenya has been shattered by terroristic attacks. All of us must unite against this evil of terrorism. All of us must unite to stand up for peace and against terrorism. Germany supports Kenya in its efforts to defeat terrorists and also to address root causes of terrorism.

Solidarity should be an essential principle for any society. It should also be the guiding principle for the relationships between nations. The friendship between Germany and Kenya is guided by solidarity. Our development cooperation in the areas of water, agriculture, health and energy is guided by solidarity. So is our cooperation in the areas of culture, sport and economy.

In the past year, Germany offered 7 million Euros to refugees in Kenya who belong to the most vulnerable group in this country. For the implementation of the Medium-Term Plan (2014-2017) Germany provides 294 million Euros to fight poverty and support sustainable growth.

Germany offers Kenya a strong and sustainable partnership in order to achieve prosperity and welfare. German companies have realized it is time to tap Kenya’s big potential as a regional hub. The German-East African Investment Forum which took place in Nairobi in June 2014 has underlined that German companies stand ready to invest and create jobs in Kenya. At the same time, we have launched a program that supports vocational training to increase young Kenyans’ chances on the job market.

The spirit of Christmas is also about living together peacefully and in solidarity. This also means working for national coherence. Even highly industrialized countries, with a long tradition, like Germany must make sure its nation feels as one and united. Kenya has embarked on a courageous journey towards devolution.

The essence of a devolved system is unity in diversity. It is on all Kenyans and all institutions to build a system which ensures unity and diversity. Both our countries’ future should be based on mutual understanding and trust, irrespective of the religious, ethnic or social background. It should be based on respect for our diversity, and the joint will to create one strong nation out of many cultural backgrounds.

Solidarity also means to preserve God’s creation. Some days ago, the death of one of the last six remaining northern white rhinos has shaken us. The capture and misery of young elephants in Zimbabwe is shameful for all of us as human beings. We have a duty to do everything within our power to protect our nature heritage. Whole species are being eradicated from our planet. Future generations will largely rely on what we do today to protect nature and wildlife. Poaching is a serious crime and we must not stop fighting it. For this reason, Germany has provided 240 million Euros to fight wildlife crime and poaching in Africa.

As in Kenya, in Germany we also have Christians and non-Christians who obviously have different views about Christmas. But we all should be united in the values of the season: peace, tolerance, solidarity and respect. In this sense, I wish all Kenyans and Germans in Kenya a blissful festival season. Merry Christmas!

(Peschke is Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Kenya)

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