Borderlands

GREECE: The priest and the fisherman—a report from the CPT-Europe's Borderlands delegation

On Thursday morning our boat arrived on the island of Lesbos, where one can see can Turkey on the other side of the straits.




Papa Stratis

We drove up to the village of Kalloni (central Lesbos) to meet with Father Stratis, a Greek Orthodox priest who has been helping refugees for ten years and his assistant, George.  They arrive in the village soaking wet and exhausted, often having walked many hours.  Greek citizens face jail time if they pick up the migrants (similar to U.S. citizens at the border with Mexico).  If they know their way, it is a ten-hour walk from the beach to Kalloni.  If they do not know the way, it may take days.  George told us the water and the walking usually destroys their shoes.  The balcony of Father Stratis’s church is filled with donations of clothes that he and three volunteers sort and process for handing out.

While they have sufficient resources right now for their ministry, their biggest struggle is with morale.  The townspeople often complain that people involved with their ministry are helping refugees when they should be focused on helping Greeks who have been hurt by the economic crisis.  The fascist Golden Dawn movement, while not strong on Lesbos generally, is toxically eating away at the minds of young people, making racism appear acceptable.  George told us some of the young people see the Golden Dawn violence against refugees as cool, like the violence of Hollywood movies.

We were deeply touched by the witness of Father Stratis and George.

Friday afternoon, we visited the memorial place in Thermi with some members of the “Welcome to Europe” Network.  Several migrants lost their lives on the sea just trying to reach the nearest European border they could see from Turkey.  Twenty-one Afghan migrants sank close by just a few days before Christmas of 2013.

BORDERLANDS: Disturbing the Peace in Arivaca, Arizona

CPTnet
28 February 2014
BORDERLANDS: Disturbing the Peace in Arivaca, Arizona

 The tiny town of Arivaca, population 600, is nestled in the rugged hills of southern Arizona about eleven miles north of the international border between Mexico and the USA.  This cattle-ranching area is “rich in history and natural beauty” and claims to be “the oldest continually inhabited townsite in Arizona” according to the visitor’s guide.

But someone is disturbing the peace in Arivaca.  Border Patrol agents carrying guns and wearing olive green uniforms stop all vehicles, including school buses loaded with children, at checkpoints blocking both ends of the community.  Giant surveillance towers with cameras, radar, and motion detectors protrude from the desert floor in the distance.  Drones hum and helicopters hover in the clear blue sky overhead.

“It’s like living in a war zone,” said Arivaca resident Eva Lewis.  “We can’t leave our community without being asked a bunch of questions,” chimed in Carlota Wray who’s lived in Arivaca for 33 years.



 
  

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Sacred power infuses CPT Americas Convergence, Giving Tuesday

During the well-attended CPT workshop at the School of the Americas vigil 22-24 November 2013, we mingled sharing from teams and undoing oppressions with moments of song and silence.  We sought to make the workshop more than just informational.  We wanted to embody in the workshop the presence and power of the sacred, because acknowledging that sacred power is what makes this life-work sustainable for us. 

Sarah Thompson facilitated invitationally, and Chris Knestrick wrote the following prayer, interspersing sections with stories CPTers shared (Sandra Milena RincĂłn Vidal about Colombia and Iraqi Kurdistan, Peter Haresnape about Aboriginal Justice, Tim Nafziger about Undoing Oppressions, and Jonathan Brenneman about Palestine):

 
 CPTers at conclusion of 24 November SOA Watch vigil

PRAYER

We must commit:

               We can only move out as far as we have moved in.

May we commit to the work of undoing oppression in ourselves, organizations, and communities.

                Only in doing so can we build right relationships.

…

The workshop was a part of the larger CPT Americas Convergence, a gathering that brought together new and seasoned CPTers and our supporters, to join the mass mobilization for de-militarization 22-24 November.  We accompanied events happening at the gates of Ft. Benning US military training base, and witnessed to the conditions and stories of the immigrants detained at Stewart Detention Center.  Former Steering Committee member Anton Flores and the Alterna Community organization he leads hosted us with much love and integrity.

Soon after everyone returned home CPT participated for the first time in #Givingtuesday.  CPT organizers set a one-day goal of raising $1,100 (1% of the Plowing and Planting Major Donor Campaign goal) and we accomplished it!  Both the spirit of togetherness present at the CPT Americas Convergence, and working collectively to raise the funds needed are deep encouragements for the long haul of building partnerships to transform violence and oppression.

BORDERLANDS: CPT announces delegation 18-28 February 2014

 Witness the impact of immigration enforcement in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands where foreign policy masquerades as domestic and foists life and death decisions upon our neighbors, relatives, and friends, placing them in vulnerable and volatile situations.  One hundred-eighty-two bodies were recovered in the Tucson Sector of the border alone this last fiscal year.

Journey with us through this zone of conflict, the gauntlet of the Sonoran desert, part of the lethal continuum that our neighbors from Latin America travel to reach the fields, factories and detention centers of the U.S.  Come to observe, query, discern, contribute, learn, and then take home the story of human struggle and hope.

Through the borderlands lens, we will examine how immigration reform does and does not affect our neighbors and ourselves wherever we live in the U.S.  We will meet some of those directly affected by public policy—migrants, local residents, activists, and law enforcement personnel.  We will walk desert trails, visit sites that include detention centers, human resource centers, and cooperatives, traveling back and forth across the border.  We will see first hand the impact of militarism on our neighbors and the border communities.

 February is reasonably mild in the region—cool nights and warm, dry days.  Prepare for moderate level trail walking.  A passport or border card is essential for this delegation.  Spanish is helpful but not required.

FUNDRAISING EXPECTATION: $625 US, which does NOT include the cost of travel to Tucson, Arizona.

Prayers for Peacemakers, November 28, 2012

In a world of many causes for migration – war, debt bondage, corporate subversion of democracy, climate change and their root, the love of money – guide the humble to welcome the stranger, give drink to the thirsty and usher in Your reign on earth.

BORDERLANDS: Humane Borders

The Sonoran Desert holds no evidence of human habitation beyond scattered artifacts of the ancient Hohokum civilization, spent shells from the nearby Barry Goldwater Bombing Range, a petroglyph site, and a couple flyovers by Border Patrol helicopters. But Isaiah's promise of protection and water is fulfilled there.

PALESTINE/U.S. BORDERLANDS REFLECTION: Walls of shame

I am in Hebron, located in the Judean Hills, south of Jerusalem in the Holy Land.  Although this place on the other side of the world from my home in Brownsville, Texas, many things here are similar to what we experience in the Rio Grande Valley.

As people of color, Palestinians have to put up with daily harassment from the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), just as our brothers and sister of color coming from MĂ©xico and other parts of the world are harassed by CBP (Customs and Border Patrol).

BORDERLANDS: CPT reservist charged for leaving humanitarian aid on migrant trail

On 10 July 2011, law enforcement personnel issued violation notices to four humanitarian aid workers, including CPT reservist John Heid at the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge (BANWAR).  They charged the four with “non-permitted activity” because they resupplied water and food sites along an active migrant trail twelve miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.

BORDERLANDS: Clandestine journeys to the periphery

In her dreams, she hears him call, “don’t leave me....”

BORDERLANDS: CPT encourages constituents to join delegation in support of immigration reform

Christian Peacemaker Teams’ partner organization, Borderlinks, is calling for applicants to participate in its Solidarity Against Arizona Senate Bill 1070 delegation 26-31 July 2010.  These dates intentionally span the date when SB1070 is scheduled to go into effect (29 July), which criminalizes lack of documentation and authorizes state and local law enforcement to crack down on those sheltering, hiring, and transporting undocumented immigrants.