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Prayers for Peacemakers, April 10, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 10, 2014

Pray for the safety of Sor María Sampayo, a leader of the Organización Femenina Popular (OFP) in Colombia, who received a threatening phone call this week from someone who identified himself as Alirio Torresa, commander of the neo-paramilitary group Los Urabeños.  The members of the OFP are long-time partners of CPT’s Colombia team.


Epixel* for 10 April 2014



Save us, we beseech you, O LORD! O LORD, we
beseech you, give us success! Psalm 118:25

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

COLOMBIA URGENT ACTION: U.S. and Canadian citizens, ask President Santos to protect member of Organización Femenina Popular who has received death threats.


On 3 April 2014 at 10:30 a.m., Sor María Sampayo, a leader of the Organización Femenina Popular (OFP) received a threatening phone call from someone who identified himself as Alirio Torresa, commander of the neo-paramilitary group Los Urabeños.

He began the call by saying, “You should donate three million pesos [US $1500] to the paramilitary group to mobilize thirty men from Medellin to carry out a social-cleansing plan to eliminate drug addicts, prostitutes, and everything that smells like a guerrilla.” He described to Sor Maria her whereabouts, where she and her daughter worked, and the color of the motorcycle she drove.

When she asked him whether he was demanding a vacuna—paramilitary protection money—he responded, “No, it’s a donation, and you have 120 days to pay.” If she did not donate, he said he would “shoot her, because he knew where she lived.”

Minutes later, he called back demanding to know why she hung up.  This time, Yolanda Barreca, the director of the OFP had answered phone. She told him that threats against Sor María Sampayo are threats against the OFP, to which he responded, “I know who you are; you bastards are going to die too, you can be sure of that.”

COLOMBIA: Social Processes that Transform Reality—the songs of Garzal, Nueva Esperanza, Guayabo, and Las Pavas

“Where does peacebuilding take place?  Where does the transformation of our reality start?  What are some of the tools that we should use to achieve peace?  Where is peace born?  The actual peace process has caused all of the sectors of society to mobilize in favor of an accord that will finalize the conflict, but has also evoked different feelings in these diverse sectors of society about what it means to sign a peace accord with the guerrillas.…

In the communities of Garzal, Nueva Esperanaza, Guayabo, and Las Pavas are some of the processes being built in our country, processes that remain hopeful although distant from the important government decisions.  These communities live their lives between songs, sermons, tears, and concerns, hoping that truth will prevail even lies appear so powerful.  Their songs express the truth of what conflict looks like in our country and describe how the consequences of poor decisions always fall on them.

Song “Mi Acordeón” – Music from the communities of Garzal and Nueva Esperanza.
For more songs from the Colombian agricultural communities Christian Peacemaker Teams accompanies, click here.

COLOMBIA: Get ready for Days of Prayer and Action 5-7 April 2014

Every year, communities across North America come together in solidarity with our Colombia brothers and sisters in an effort to show policymakers that they want real change in U.S. and Canadian policy towards Colombia.  With the Colombian government and the largest guerrilla group, the FARC, currently engaged in peace negotiations, there is renewed hope for an end to the war in Colombia.  After five decades of unspeakable violence, forced displacements, widespread massacres, threats against unionists and human rights activists, and the economic and social exclusion of indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, let us join Colombians in saying it is time for peace.  This year's Days of Prayer and Action are April 5-7.

Directly translated, the word “adelante” means “forward.”  “Adelante” can also mean “ahead,” with the implied desire to move past the current situation to something further on, to something beyond.  Peace and justice are not static concepts and neither are the people of Colombia.  With one foot in front of the other, Colombians are already moving ahead and going forward in the work of peace and justice throughout the country.  We hope that you will use the resources below and join with the organizations, churches, and ordinary people in Colombia in their desire and action to move forward.

¡ADELANTE!  Peace with justice for ALL Colombians!

WORSHIP PACKET
Dedicate a worship service to peace with justice for all Colombians.  Included are prayers, songs, poems, stories, reflections, and more.  Click here for a bulletin insert to engage your congregati

 

Join our Colombian sisters and brothers
in moving peace forward!  This packet
includes three ways YOU can make a
difference. 
Advocate for a change in US
policy by writing letters to Congress.
Create a display or craft night and what
steps are needed to  finally bring peace
with justice to Colombia. Demonstrate your
commitment to Colombia with  a public action.




IRAQI KURDISTAN/COLOMBIA REFLECTION: Damn Tree

 

[Note: Parwen Aziz is a Kurdish woman living in Iraqi Kurdistan.  She is currently participating in the first CPT training in Iraqi Kurdistan.  She knows firsthand the effects of governments exploiting villagers in the quest  for oil revenue.  She wrote this reflection after a role-play depicting the consequences for Colombian farmers when large corporations take their traditional farmland to plant oil palms, which can produce alternative fuel sources for automobiles. ]

Damn Tree
The cycle of life has been reversed.  Trees defeat the earth.  I do not like to say your name, Oil Palm.  Scents of gunpowder and pictures of distressed mothers because of a damn tree.  When I first heard your name and learned how your fruit could be squeezed and the juice used as a replacement for petroleum oil, I rushed to interrupt my teacher.  “How can we bring this tree to Kurdistan?”  I wondered.  I wanted the response to be that we could import this miraculous tree to our country.  I wanted this to be a substitute for oil so that all warfare, extermination, and destruction over the black substance will not happen to humankind ever again.  But, alas, all my dreams and imaginations were destroyed when I perceived that this tree caused just as much destruction.  This damn tree causes thousands of Colombian families to become fugitives from their homes.  Thousands of families have become low-paid workers in their own fields.

I became depressed when I heard a story of a widow with her son.  They were working in the heat for three months, planting, tending, and harvesting their corn.  All their efforts were fruitless and wasted.  Someone set the pile of corn on fire and the products were burned.  They were left with nothing to feed the children.  I heard her say, “Take as many pictures as you can, take photos of everything here so that the whole world will know of what happened to us.”  War and oppression pivots around corrupt governments and capitalism.  The core point is that the capitalists get a lot of money and they become rich and richer, while the workers and needy people remain poor and disappointed.