Pakistan

Prayers for Peacemakers. 10 May 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers. 10 May 2017

On the first day of May most countries commemorate the International Worker's Day or the Labor Day. Millions of people take to the streets and march for their rights. They demand better and just conditions to carry out their jobs. 

When we sit at the table, when we get dressed, when we go to bed, when we go to our places of study, work or worship, when we buy food, when we feel sick and need a doctor, even when we make banners for a protest... Many people have worked hard to make these activities possible. And how many of them have been exploited, abused or forced by people or circumstances to do it?

Let us pray for each and every worker on this planet. Let us pray for respectful and just conditions for all to carry out their work activities. Let us pray, and work for change, for a fair wage and for the end of all forms of slavery. Let us pray for all mothers to be able to receive adequate maternity leave. Let us pray for all children so that they can enjoy their childhood instead of exploitative work. Let us pray for both women and men so they can receive equal salary for same work and thus overcome the economic gap.

Psalm 128:2 You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.

Misael Payares, a leader of the farming community of Las Pavas' nonviolent resistance

Misael Payares, a leader of the farming community of Las Pavas' nonviolent resistance. Photo credit: CPT Colombia.

Mediterranean: On Borders, Cooks, and Farmers

 

Massom* is young–I’d guess about 30, likely a bit younger. He’s one of the refugees who like to interact with the Greek organizers and the ever-changing group of international volunteers, practicing his English and helping out around the camp. This is a self-organized camp for some of the most vulnerable refugees who have arrived at the island of Lesvos, and Massom interacts with others here in ways that, for a variety of valid reasons, not many others are as apt to do. He’s there with a dustpan if he sees you sweeping. He helps to unload the deliveries of produce from area farmers into the room where we organize daily distributions. He’s all about making tea for anyone who wants it, anytime—his excuse to come and go often from the kitchen. He frequently succumbs, with great compassion, to the demands of little Myriam, a curly-headed toddler essentially on her own and dependent on the kindness of fellow residents and volunteers for the attention her mother—who suffers from severe depression—is unable to provide with much regularity. Massom enjoys staying close to the food scene, many times a week serving our communal lunch.

UNITED STATES: Former CPT Iraq, Palestine, Vieques team member goes to jail for drone resistance

 On 12 January, the National Day of Action to Stop Killer Drones, grandmother and drone resister Mary Anne Grady Flores learned that she will go back to jail for six months starting Tuesday, 19 January. Grady Flores served as an intern on the Palestine and Iraq teams and was part of Christian Peacemaker Team’s delegation campaign to stop the U.S. Navy bombing of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques.

Grady Flores had been out on appeal of a lower court convicting her of violating an order of protection. Col. Evans of the Hancock Air National Guard Base 174th Attack Wing (in Syracuse, NY), sought the order to “protect” him from nonviolent anti-drone activists.  The court charged her with violating the order because she took pictures of eight Catholics protesting the US drone assassination program at Hancock on Ash Wednesday, 13 February 2013.  Onondaga County Court Judge Miller upheld the lower court conviction. Of note is that a court acquitted all eight Catholic drone resisters because they went to uphold law, not break it.

The court and the Base have used orders of protection, typically given in domestic violence situations, in an attempt to deter protest and suppress free speech. Judge Miller also upheld a lower court ruling on the Hancock 17, seventeen nonviolent drone resisters who received orders of protection, jail time, and fines.

PAKISTAN BLOG: Obama’s war

Despite its size, the Pakistan military is ill prepared for the kind of war it faces in Swat Valley or the other boundary areas of Pakistan.  For sixty years, all of Pakistan has sacrificed to reinforce its military for the purpose of defeating India in Kashmir, and, if necessary on the Punjabi plain.  To complement this overwhelming focus, the Pakistan military sought to defeat its enemies on its west frontier like the Soviets and the Soviet successors in Afghanistan through proxy armies and guerilla forces unified under the label “Taliban.” 

PAKISTAN BLOG: Terror

This past week, we twice debated traveling to Peshawar then decided against doing so.  On one day, the car in which I may have travelled to Peshawar passed an exploded roadside bomb just as rescuers were pulling surviving victims from the debris and taking them to Peshawar hospitals.  At 10:30 on 9 June, seventeen people died when a 500-pound truck bomb exploded at the five star hotel in Peshawar, the Pearl Continental.

PAKISTAN BLOG: Pentecost in Pakistan

I really need to remember Pentecost this year in Pakistan where the friction of divisive convictions, some devoid of a single thread of compromise, threaten neighbourhoods, villages, cities, and nations.  I am in a place where local military forces and a big imperial army with faceless weapons and intelligence operatives are poised to make things come out right.

PAKISTAN BLOG: From Baghdad to Islamabad


May 29, 2009
This morning I travelled to Rawalpindi, the partner city to Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.  Near the city center, we noted Liaquat National Bagh, the park where Benazir Bhutto, the leading candidate for Prime Minister, was gunned down in Dec. 2007.  At the moment that I passed the Park with its history of blood, a massive explosion was occurring in Lahore several hours further south.