Archive

November 17th, 2014

COLOMBIA: Communities around El Guayabo establish a “Space for Peace and Non-Violent Resistance against Dispossession.”

On 14 November, seventy community members of Guayabo established a space for peace.  The women led the march, flying banners and singing, setting up camp around the house currently occupied by Rodrigo López Henao’s men since the eviction of 29 October 2014.

Since the occupation of the property, López Henao’s  men have destroyed about 100 plantain trees.  The community began replanting the trees with recovered sees on 14 November.

The community intends to remain on the land surrounding the house until their situation is legally resolved and the authorities return their land to them.  Through the below declaration of a space for peace and their commitment to nonviolent acts of resistance they hope to make their situation more visible.

November 15th

COLOMBIA REFLECTION: The Magdalena

 

 

 

Mary Magdalene is one of the most controversial and mysterious Biblical characters.  Unjustly pegged as a prostitute and temptress by Pope Gregory I, her reputation remained tarnished for around seven centuries before Biblical scholars redeemed her by untangling the three women whose stories Gregory had merged.  Though we know very little about her life, we do know that she was a person of importance to Jesus.  He used his gifts to cast seven demons out of her, and chose her to be one of the first people to see him after the resurrection.  Her story is an interesting one to contemplate as I travel along ‘El Rio Magdalena,’ a beautiful river named after her, that has a similarly tainted reputation.

 

The Magdalena is Colombia’s longest river, and stretches from the most southern tip of the Huila Department* in southern Colombia to the Caribbean Sea.  The river is CPT’s main mode of transportation between Barrancabermeja, the city where we live, and the communities that we accompany.  Its banks are peppered with trees, fishing canoes and water taxis traveling past each other lazily, and children swim in its murky water.  Outsiders may view the present tranquil atmosphere and have difficulty imagining anything else.  Those who have lived along the river’s banks for more than ten years, however, see it differently.

November 14th

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Next Chicago CPT training October 2015; Applications due by 1 March 2015

 

 
 

CPT trainees participate
 in public witness at
Israeli consulate in
Chicago during
 Gaza War, July 2014

Due to an exciting opportunity to partner with groups in Detroit, Michigan USA for a Peacemaker Congress in July 2015, Christian Peacemaker Teams has set the dates of 2 October – 2 November 2015 for the next training to in Chicago.  The deadline for applications has moved to 1 March 2015.  This shift will allow more time between issuing invitations and starting training for applicants who may need to secure visas in order to participate.

Stay tuned for more information about the July Peacemaker Congress!

CPT is committed to anti-oppression work both within and outside of CPT, and we seek others interested in this work.  We are seeking applicants to train as part of our Reserve Corps.  At this time, no stipended (half to full time) openings are available in the Corps.  All CPT Reservists are eligible to apply for stipended positions as they become available.  For answers to more specific questions, contact Adriana Cabrera Velasquez, Personnel Coordinator, at personnel@cpt.org <mailto:personnel@cpt.org>. 

November 13th

COLOMBIA: Municipal authorities continue to abet seizure of El Guayabo community land

CPTnet
13 November 2014
COLOMBIA: Municipal authorities continue to abet seizure of El Guayabo community land


Puerto Wilches municipal authorities carried out an illegal eviction on 29 October 2014 in El Guayabo, during which riot police accompanied Rodrigo Lopez Henao in seizing Henry Rincon’s house and property.

Within an hour of arriving, 164 riot police had taken control of the house and removed all community members from the property.  Shortly after, unidentified men began to move into the house with suitcases.

They have remained in the house since, accompanied by the police for three days.  On Thursday, 30 October, the men removed a fence and began to chop down trees on the neighbouring farm with police accompaniment.  The community confronted the police about their partiality to Lopez Henao’s men and their illegal actions, and upon orders from their colonel in Barrancabermeja, the police asked the men to rebuild the fence along the original borders.

On 4 November, the attorney general’s office summoned two community members to make a statement against claims from Lopez Henao that they had threatened him and invaded his land.

The community has now built three houses around the property limits of Rincon’s house as part of a self-protection plan in light of the unknown men living in the house.

November 12th

Prayers for Peacemakers November 12, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers November 12, 2014

 Pray for the CPT’s Aboriginal Justice Team who are exploring decolonizing their work by learning Anishinabek and Haudenosaunee languages.

                                              Epixel* for Sunday November 16, 2014
Thanksgiving address in Cayuga language
Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. Psalm 123:3

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

November 8th

COLOMBIA: Las Pavas questions collective reparation program. Will Santos government stand up for Las Pavas?

On Wednesday, 17 September the Victims Unit (Unidad de Victimas) and the Colombian Institute for Rural Development (INCODER) visited the Las Pavas community to move the Collective Reparation process forward.  They also investigated violations that the Aportes San Isidro (ASI) palm oil company has committed against the community.  The first was the reinstallation of a gate that prevents Las Pavas community members from traveling on the main road to their farms, forcing them to take a difficult detour through the jungle.  The second was the construction of a house and resettlement of a family on Las Pavas’ land.  The latter is an illegal invasion of state land.

 The Collective Reparation process is a government program offered to communities or organizations as part of its efforts to compensate victims of the civil war.  The Las Pavas case is high profile because they one the 2013 National Peace Prize, so the government chose the community to be one of the first for collective reparation.  In theory, the process is a good one where reparation involves making services available to the community such as psychosocial care, housing, and development projects.  In October 2010, Presidente Santos announced his Shock Plan for land restitution.  He said that for peace to be achieved there needed to be serious measures taken about land redistribution and restitution.  The Las Pavas community was named as a priority case.  

In November of 2012, INCODER declared ‘eminent domain’ on the land of Las Pavas declaring it state land.  If Aportes San Isidro had respected this order, INCODER would then have divided the land and titled it to the families of Las Pavas.  However, powerful economic and political allies of ASI prevented the enforcement of this declaration.  Las Pavas community members have witnessed and documented ASI employees burning down families’ homes, destroying crops, severely beating and firing shots at people, stealing tools and killing livestock.  They have done all of this with full impunity.  The local authorities have arrested no one from the company even though they have received reports of these crimes.

 Two community members putting up a new fence to keep cattle from the new Aportes San Isidro
house from destroying their crops.

November 6th

Prayers for Peacemakers, November 6, 2014

in:

Prayers for Peacemakers, November 6, 2014 

Give thanks for the work of CPT Mediterranean, which recently completed its summer presence on the Greek Island of Lesvos.  Participants in the Mediterranean project made migrants and refugees feel welcome and advocated for more humane European Union immigration policies.

               Epixel* for Sunday November 9, 2014
                                          Party to celebrate time in Lesvos
But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness
like an everflowing stream.  Amos 5:24
 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from
the upcoming Sunday's 
 
Revised  Common Lectionary  readings.

November 5th

UNITED STATES REFLECTION: Voting for peace

Yesterday, I was calling old friends and letting them know I’d be in town to talk about my work with Christian Peacemaker Teams. One friend asked me how I like my new work in comparison with the political organizing I used to do. I didn’t need to stop and think; the answer was easy. Working to gather votes for this issue or that candidate, I had feelings of emptiness and inevitability. Now, I love being able to apply my expertise, energy, and passion to peacemaking, to resistance work that feeds my soul. 

 

 
 Palestine team member stands with children on
street and monitors soldiers' treatment of
13-year-old boy
 

Today, I woke up and reached for my phone. What I saw was a newsfeed flooded with rage, sadness, even despair. I remember those post-election nights and days from my previous career. When the first issue campaign I worked on lost, I cried more than a few bitter tears.  

When I woke up today, though, my emotional state was not connected to election results beyond passing feelings of hope and disappointment.  I woke up with energy and conviction to resist violence, oppression, and injustice for another day. It’s not that it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s politician A or B with their hands in the gears of the U.S. system.  Decisions made in the U.S. impact the bodies and lives of people and communities in the States and around the world.  It’s that now I’ve joined with so many in the active, concrete work of ongoing peacemaking.  And CPT, standing with our partners to transform violence and oppression, was resisting yesterday, is resisting today, and will be resisting tomorrow. 

Peacemakers, activists, resisters of injustice, whatever your feelings about today’s elections results: you can join today in our transformative peacemaking work. Vote for peace today by investing in the work of CPT. Thanks to you, members of CPT stand in solidarity with partners in peaceful transformative resistance every day in Palestine, Iraqi Kurdistan, Colombia, and Canada, no matter the U.S. election results any given November Tuesday.

Please make a donation today - over 80% of our income comes from donors like you.  

November 4th

EUROPE: Migrants on their journey--dilemmas and possible solutions

in:

On a daily basis, hundreds of migrants try to get into Europe through different routes-- mainly via smugglers.  Most of the migrants are struggling to find either a safe life without persecution or have better standards of life to support their families at home.  The routes and the facilitators of the journey that they choose are the least safe options ever to exist.

Often the suggested solution focuses on ways to block the smugglers’ routes.  European authorities should identify and crack down on smugglers’ networks.  However, the story is not going to end as long as migrants face onerous restrictions for getting into Europe.

People are trying the illegal routes because they mostly have no legal way to get in.  As a result, the migrants become victims of crimes like torture and raping meted out by smugglers and tragedies like drowning in the sea on the way. 

The migrant population is divided into two different main groups: economic migrants and asylum seekers.  Economic migrants leave their home countries to work and support their families at home like many Greeks in the other European countries at the moment.  The asylum seekers are the ones who are running away from wars, conflict zones, persecution, torture, and other serious threats forcing them to seek a safer life, usually in the West.

Obviously, the asylum seekers are supposed to get benefits that economic migrants do not.  However, it is not easy to differentiate between asylum seekers and economic migrants because almost everybody who gets into Europe lodges an asylum application, because it is the only chance to get a legal status.  On the other hand, it has become much more difficult for the real asylum seekers to prove their stories.

All over the world, we find westerners working or living in another country merely because of their curiosity to explore the world.  The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights emphasizes that everyone has the right to move freely, leave any country and return.  So far, it has been enforced for the citizens of western countries and the eastern families with money, not equally for everyone. 

November 3rd

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli military arrests two boys, eleven and thirteen, in Hebron

On Sunday, 26 October at approximately 7:45 a.m., Israeli border police detained and arrested an eleven-year-old Palestinian boy in the Qitoun area of H2 (under full Israeli military control) during the morning school patrol. 

The Israeli soldier grabbed the young boy by wrapping his hand in the collar of his shirt and twisting his clothing tightly around the neck, despite the fact that the young Palestinian showed no signs of resisting.

After several minutes of Palestinian adults pleading with the soldier to release his grip, the soldier finally responded and escorted him to the police station next to the Ibrahimi Mosque without notifying his parents.

The boy remained at the police station for over an hour and a half, after which the soldier informed one of the schoolteachers that police would hand him over to the Palestinian Authority at Check Point 56 at Bab iZaweyya, in the H1 section of Hebron.  Once the child was in the military jeep by himself, instead of taking him to Checkpoint 56, the Israeli soldiers transported him to the other side of Hebron to the police station at the Israeli settlement* of Kiryat Arba.