Archive

April 16th, 2015

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A week in the life of Maher--a fourteen-year-old Palestinian resident of Hebron

It’s Saturday 4 April and a group of Israeli soldiers storm fourteen-year-old Maher’s house, claiming that Maher has been seen stone-throwing—the Israeli military’s go-to rationale for harassing Palestinian children and their families. * When Mahmoud, Maher’s father, protests, soldiers take both him and Maher into custody.  The police release them later that evening.

At approximately 6:45 on 6 April soldiers once again raid Maher’s home.  They do not take Maher into custody, but later that evening, Maher is outwalking and is once again detained by a group of fully armed soldiers. Although another boy, known to Maher, turns himself in for stone throwing, the soldiers continue to threaten Maher with arrest, saying that they will again take him to the police station. As CPTers attempt to document Maher’s detention, soldiers make a game out of requiring the CPTers to recite their ID and passport numbers. Just as the soldiers are about toMaher into the military base next to the settlement of Beit Romano, Maher’s father arrives, and must plead for his release once again.See this video for CPT’s documentation of the incident.

The following day, Israeli soldiers again raid the home of Maher’s family—this time, however, there are forty-eight of them.  Before the incident, the soldiers parade the streets of Hebron’s Old City in a loop, ID-checking and entering homes along the way, before finally returning to Maher’s home again. See more photos here.

April 15th

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 15 2015 Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 15 2015 Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

Pray for the community of Grassy Narrows and Judy Da Silva.  On Friday, April 10, 2015 water protector and Elder, Josephine Mandamin, held a traditional Anishinaabe Water Ceremony on the shores of Wild Lake, near the CN railway mainline between Kenora and Grassy Narrows along with other Grassy Narrows community activists. Despite the fact the group called off a blockade of the railway—which transports toxic tar sands bitumen over local waterways—CN still served Da Silva with an injunction against impeding trains and/or trespassing on CN property, and/or ‘counselling’ others to do the same. The injunction will be before the court on April 16 at 10 a.m. in Kenora.

Anishinaabe water ceremony targeted with injunction

Epixel* for Sunday, April 18, 2015
photo by Alex Hundert

How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame? How long will you love vain words,
and seek after lies? Psalm 4:2

 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary
 readings.

April 14th

NIGERIA: “We Grieve for the Girls and their Families”


Today is the one-year anniversary of the abduction of 360 women and girls from their boarding school in Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria, 14 April 2014, by the militant group called Boko Haram. Of the 360, 172 were from EYN (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Soon after the kidnapping, fifty of them escaped, of which twenty-nine were from the EYN. Then in late December 2014, Boko Haram raided Chibok again and kidnapped some older women and a young man.

These abductions were not isolated incidents of violence for the mostly Christian town of Chibok. As early as November 2012 and as late as December 2014, Boko Haram fighters carried out periodic attacks there, including burning police headquarters, homes, EYN congregations, and killing church members.

Some of those twenty-nine who had escaped the April 2014 kidnapping, are still living in Chibok, and with the assistance of the Interfaith Adamawa Peace Initiative, were able to prepare for and take their examinations interrupted by the kidnapping. Some have been sponsored to go to the U.S. for schooling. In spite of the outcry of horror from people here and around the world concerning the kidnappings and the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign, the whereabouts of the majority of those abducted remain unknown. 

April 11th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Rise in Israeli military restrictions during Passover

In the days surrounding Passover, CPT witnessed the Israeli military locking girls out of their school, creating new construction around Palestinian buildings, and in general generating even greater restrictions on Palestinians’ freedom of movement in Hebron.  Below are some of the incidents of oppression that CPT documented throughout the week: 

Tuesday 31 March—In the continuing settlement expansion in the Abu Rajab building, Israeli forces put up several concrete blocks forming a wall next to the building.  Speculation rippled throughout the Palestinian neighborhood as to what the military’s intent was with this construction.  When CPTers questioned the purpose of the wall, one Israeli soldier eventually muttered ‘Pesach’ (Passover).  Israeli soldiers also occupied an office between the Abu Rajab building and Al Fayha Elementary School.  CPTers saw computers, maps, and military posters inside the building and military trucks, satellites, and other equipment parked outside.

Wednesday 1 April—Students and teachers arrived to find that Israeli forces had locked the front gates of Al Fayha Elementary School, after two days of undisclosed military activity and construction in buildings adjacent to the school. Two hundred fifty elementary school girls were required to enter their school through a back alley and study next door to unknown military actions.  The principal asked CPT to provide a protective presence for the next week as children were coming to and leaving school.

Thursday 2 April—Palestinian girls from Al Fayha Elementary School tried to make sense of why the IDF parked a military vehicle directly in front of their school, blocking the front doors.  Several of the small children anxiously ran past the soldiers on their way between home and school.

April 9th

CPT INTERNATIONAL: On Tour with Uncle Sam in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand

 

 
 CPT Executive Director Sarah Thompson 
speaking in Australia

Different countries do taxes in different ways.  All of February and March I was in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand.  The taxes are high there, but these countries are famous for their affordable medicine, free university education, and egalitarian policies among settlers (compulsory voting, mandatory school uniforms).  I’ve heard people in the U.S. make fun of places with social programs like these, but in those months I witnessed the immensely positive impact of social policy that puts the common good of all over the private power of a few.

DonateNow

Consider the impact of your dollars this tax season and make contribution to CPT. How about $29? $1 for every year since CPT's founding.

However, the gap between what is realistically available for settlers of European origin countries in comparison to what is available to recent non-European immigrants and Aboriginal Australians and the Maori of Aotearoa is huge.  The brutal Euro-colonial histories, ongoing dispossessions, and overall disregard for cultural devastation wrought by industrial society to the indigenous of these lands are stories that loom large in the sub-conscious of these nations.  The best work I saw going on in these countries was grassroots, conducted by people deeply aware of the open wounds of racism, Christian hegemony, and extractive economics. Activists involved with mobilizations to support refugees, challenge ecological destruction, and celebrate all families are aware of the paradoxes inherent in these societies.

April 8th

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 8, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 8, 2015
Pray for the displaced Yazidi and Arab residents of Arbat Camp in Iraqi Kurdistan—all of whom have fled great violence and upheavals. 

 (Photo by  UNICEF- Belgium)

April 6th

IRAQI KURDISTAN REFLECTION: Praying for God to forgive ISIS at the Easter Sunrise Service

 

He is Risen! 

Yesterday the team awoke at 4:00 a.m. to travel to the Chaldean Monastery for an Easter Sunrise Service. When we arrived we went through the usual routine of passing through the security detail, having our bags hand searched and being patted down for weapons. (Men only, since there were no women assigned to the detail.) Stepping across the threshold into the courtyard of the monastery we noticed that it was very quiet. A few people were awake but the day had not yet started.  It would be a work day for most, since Easter and Sundays are not holidays or days off in Kurdistan.

When I first came to the monastery several years ago it was a place for quiet reflection and meditation, a retreat center staffed by two priests and one sister. Now it is a refugee center for the IDPs—internally displaced persons—from Mosul, Qaraqosh and other Christian communities from Iraq and Syria. As the time of the service approached, the people living in the monastery, Christian Kurds and internationals, began to file in and the service, led by Father Jens, began. The service was in Arabic and English, one part, like the Apostle's Creed, read in Arabic, the blessing for Host in English, then the wine, in Arabic. One of the more powerful points during the worship came when the Christians in the church prayed for God to forgive Al-Bagdadi, ISIS, Al-Shabaab and finally those who most recently massacred Christians in Kenya.  As I stood there I realized I still have much to learn about forgiveness.  My heart is still hardened by revenge after spending time in the camps hearing the stories of the Yazidis. How could the people in that church who have suffered so much and lost everything they owned ask God to forgive those who have committed such horror against them? Perhaps I should open my ears and heart to the story of Jesus' passion and learn the lesson of Easter?  Standing shoulder to shoulder with the Christians of Iraq has taught me much about the road I still have yet to travel.

 Happy Easter.... He is Risen indeed! 

April 4th

COLOMBIA: Be part of a true Colombian Peace Process! Join Days of Prayer and Action | 17 & 18 May 2015

CPTnet
3 April 2015
COLOMBIA:  Be part of a true Colombian Peace Process! Join Days of Prayer and Action | 17 & 18 May 2015

Tomorrow’s Peace Starts Today! ÂĄLa Paz de Mañana Empieza Hoy!

Sunday, May 17, is a day of solidarity and prayer with brothers and sisters in Colombia.  Worship resources  are available here!  Monday, May 18 is a day to take action  and call for and end to the conflict and human rights abuses in Colombia. Organizer toolkit resources available here!

Although the Colombian government has now been in negotiations with the largest guerrilla group, the FARC, in Havana, Cuba for over two years, Colombian civilians continue to bear the consequences of the war.  Last year alone, more than 600 human rights defenders were attacked.  Fifty-five of those assaulted were assassinated, and hundreds more were threatened in early 2015. 

Now more than ever we must commit to working with the Colombian people so that people in power hear and implement the proposals for truth, justice and reparations from victims of displacement and other human rights violations as part of a long-term process for building peace.

Continue reading about some of the human rights defenders that CPT Colombia is accompanying.

Human rights Defender Eric Payares of El Guayabo, Colombia

April 1st

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 1, 2015 Colombia

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 1, 2015  Colombia

Pray for the farmers of El Guayabo, Colombia who are resisting displacement through the ordinary act of planting food that sustains their community and its families.

                                                                     *Epixel for Sunday, April 5, 2015
                                                                          photo: Caldwell Manners
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a  feast of rich food, a feast of
 well-aged wines, of rich food filled  with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.

And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is
spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever. Isaiah 25:6-7
 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's  
Revised Common Lectionary  readings.

March 31st

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A Week in Photos 15-22 March 2015

What does the Israeli military occupation of Palestine look like, apart from all the analysis and political speeches?  Take a look:

 


HARASSMENT IN THE MARKET

 

Pictured here: Israeli soldiers harassed this young boy in the market, surrounding him, interrogating him, and refusing to let him leave. Unfortunately, these intimidation tactics are much too common in Hebron's old city. 
(16/03/2015)