Recent CPTnet stories

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE REFLECTION: Amplification

CPT takes seriously its mission of listening to marginalized people and speaking their truth to a wider audience.  For this reason, our delegation met community members in Grassy Narrows who represent their community’s interests in negotiations with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), logging companies, and before the courts.

Our host, Andrew Keewatin (Shoon), is building manager and leader of the Trappers’ Centre.  Within the community, Shoon runs AA meetings and teaches children traditional skills like building canoes, snowshoes, and drums, filleting fish, and tanning hide to make moccasins. 

In recent years the MNR licensed logging companies to clearcut sections of forest on his land.  Occasionally he has been able to negotiate with the MNR to preserve bands of forest connecting water sources or to spare trees that have little commercial value.  But in the end, the MNR decides where and when logging companies may cut down forests, not the people who have lived and worked on the land and for generations.




Community member Cheryl Fobister at blockade

When a logging company constructed a road within kilometers of Grassy Narrows, disregarding the wishes of the community, the conflict with the Grassy Narrows community came to a head.  On a cold December afternoon in 2002, three youth blocked the road by cutting down nearby trees.  This bold action brought the people of Grassy Narrows together to form a blockade, an expression of nonviolent resistance that they had been contemplating for some time.

Among the countless people that participated in the blockade, Judy Da Silva emerged as a strong advocate.  Mrs. Da Silva has watched logging companies enter her Nation’s territory for years, clearcut vast swathes of forest, and disregard the concerns her community expressed.  She is a protector of the forest and of the broader ecosystem on behalf of her children and her children’s children.  For her, dispossessing First Nations of their land, refusing to investigate the murder of 1000 First Nations women and the disappearance of 200 more, poisoning the English-Wabigoon River system with mercury, and disregarding the wishes of First Nations peoples for the use of their territory are all connected by a White settler ideology that values only those things that can be converted into money.

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 4, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 4, 2014

 Pray for those participating in the refugee-led Freedom March to Brussels, a protest against the repressive and racist European migration regime.

 *Epixel for Pentecost Sunday, June 8, 2014
 
 "And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?  Parthians, Medes,
Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia
and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both
Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs--in our own languages we hear them speaking
about God's deeds of power?" Acts 2:8-11
 Photo Johann Stemmler
 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): CPT Palestine delegation marches in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners.

 On 31 May 2014, members of the CPT Palestine delegation currently in the region joined hundreds of demonstrators at Al Aroub refugee camp to protest the illegal administrative detention of more than 100 political Palestinian political prisoners held without charges by the Israeli government. Although the demonstration remained non-violent, Israeli soldiers fired tear gas, sound bombs, and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrators.

 The Hebron Defence Committee, a grass roots organization dedicated to resisting nonviolently the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories, helped organize the protest and invited the CPT delegation to attend.  CPT members accepted in order to observe and help document the action and show solidarity with those  imprisoned. 

 Dozens of Palestinian political prisoners are imprisoned without charge in Israeli prisons under archaic British Mandate era administrative detention laws.  These laws prohibit detention for more than six months. However, the Israeli authorities renew the detention orders repeatedly, incarcerating dozens of prisoners for  years without charging them.  Many have been on a hunger strike to protest their detention.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): The Abu Haikel family—a story of resistance.

 
 Arwa (top left) and Faryel Abu Haikal climb onto their land to halt the demolition of their
property from the Israeli Antiquity Authority, hoping to enforce a police order previously issued.

With only a sliver of their land left to protect, Feryel and Arwa Abu Heikal climbed over a pile of rubble and boulders and stopped the Israeli bulldozer from shearing further into their property, dumping their dignity into the back of a dump truck, and hauling away their rights.  They stood under the unrelenting sun, staring into the teeth of the approaching bucket excavator, protecting their land from the ever-encroaching Israeli settlement enterprise, facing arrest and physical assault—a reality they have faced for decades.  Their resilience and steadfastness held off the Israeli Antiquity Authority (I.A.A.) for a few hours.

The I.A.A. continues to deploy a variety of tactics to annex privately owned Palestinian land on the hilltop of Hebron, including ignoring previous orders issued by the Israeli police to halt work.  Under the directive of Emmanuel Eisenberg, the I.A.A. project coordinator, the excavator bucket began carving deeper into Feryiel Abu Haikel’s land, breaking both Israeli and international law in the process.

In 1984, Jewish settlers first arrived on Tel Rumeida, the historical hilltop neighborhood of Hebron, which, according to some religious texts, is where Abraham first laid claim to land.  This historical interpretation provides impetus for the archeological digs designed to establish exclusive Jewish claims to the hilltop.  The Tel Rumeida settlement stands today on concrete pylons built directly on a previous archeological dig.  The establishment of this settlement marked the genesis of the heightened tensions that would continually boil over and spill onto the Abu Haikel’s land year after year.

COLOMBIA: Ten questions for the next president

The Colombian people went to the polls on 25 May to elect a new leader for the country.  The incumbent President Juan Manuel Santos was seeking re-election in a race against five candidates, all aspiring to the most powerful office in the land and discussing issues such as education, corruption, environment, and as always, the peace accords with Colombia’s FARC guerilla organization.  He will face Colombian ex-finance minister Oscar Ivan Zuluaga in a 15 June 2014 runoff election.




Sign caption: "Dialogue is the way"

We as CPT Colombia, hope the next president fulfills her/his promise and works for the Colombian people.  Based on our work, the requests of our partners, and communities we accompany, we have created a list of questions that we would like to ask the next president that highlight some of our concerns and key issues for Colombia today:

1. Will you continue peace negotiations with the FARC-EP and ELN?

2. Are you willing to re-negotiate Free Trade Agreements in favor of Colombian small farmers?