Praying for the End of unjust Rule


Men and women from various solidarity-groups in West Germany were gathered at a road-crossing in Düsseldorf during the “Kirchentag”, the country-wide bi-annual event of protestant activists engaged in social and political initiatives and projects, in June 1985, explicitly to pray in solidarity with the people of South Africa and Namibia for the end of unjust rule – the end of apartheid. They were responding to reports about and personal witness of the escalation of oppression in South Africa and in South-West Africa [Namibia] and were seeking to raise awareness in their country for the need to support the struggle for liberation in Southern Africa.

An exchange of perceptions over the subject of their prayer started almost instantly and grew into a debate that soon involved wider circles on the scene and later country-wide over a lengthy period.  Questions and statements in those debates called to mind and compared concepts of government and types of societies reaching as far back as beyond the Age of Enlightenment and the Reformation and expressed ethical and legal insights on conditions, situations and premises of protest, resistance and overthrow of unjust rule in recent history in view of apartheid and the liberation-movement in Southern Africa.

Reflecting on the controversy over the subject of the prayer for the end of apartheid and the commitment of the solidarity-movement in exchange with individuals and groups in South Africa and Namibia in the period prior to the ultimate advent of democracy in those countries between 1990 and 1994, the essay at hand recalls the main arguments in that controversy and highlights particular insights on the basis of the Belhar Confession and Barmen I.

Key Words: intersection; confession of faith; just rule; resistance; solidarity; Belhar Confession; Barmen I.


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