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COLOMBIA REFLECTION: Justice favors the powerful


It was my second accompaniment since I began work in Colombia. Tito had been on the receiving end of a severe beating two years ago and was headed down the river to El Peñon for a court hearing of his case. As we settled into the community boat that would take us to El Peñon, an hour and a half away, Pierre filled me in on Tito’s case with the comment, “It’s crazy, really. If it was Tito who beat them up, he’d already have been tried and sentenced.”

As much as I know that this is true, and accepted it as he said it, a little piece of me still felt surprised. Why should this be true? When I consider the principle of the law, everything feels clear cut to me. If one person assaults another, the perpetrator must face the legal consequences of those actions, regardless of who they are. Why should the process change, become longer or shorter or more or less vigorous? The law is clear: physically and violently assaulting someone is wrong. Why, if this were Canada…

And it is this thought that stops me in my tracks, because I know that the reality of a broken justice system is true both here in Colombia and in my own country. The law favours certain people in both places. It favours the influential, the rich, those with resources.  Above all, it favours the powerful, be it power of connections, money or skin colour.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): They uproot a tree…we plant ten

On 3 February 2015, community members planted ninety olive trees next to the Qurtuba School in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood of Al-Khalil (Hebron), located between Israeli settlements. The Palestinian Association for Voluntary Work planned the action, also involving the Hebron Defense Committee, Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, the Ibrahimi Khalil Society and Administration of Youth. Students from at least two universities were there, including the Al-Quds Open University in Hebron and the American School of Palestine in Ramallah. Participants wore T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan for the action, “they uproot a tree… we plant ten.”

This plot of land formerly belonged to a local family, who transferred it to the school after settlers uprooted the trees that used to grow there, six years ago and three years ago. Local residents are aware that settlers will attempt to undo the work of the planting. However, the action demonstrates the determination of the community to remain in their homes and neighbourhood. A community leader said, ‘We are staying here, and the settlers must move.’

Prayers for Peacemakers, February 18, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, February 18, 2015

Pray for Las Pavas community in Colombia. Pray for the land and crops of these campesinos (farmers) that are under the threat of Aportes San Isidro palm oil company. The company has installed fences within the campesinos land, creating physical obstacles that impede their access their own lands. Pray that the Collective Reparation Process that the Colombian government has offered this community as a way to compensate victims of the armed conflict becomes an immediate reality. Pray for the campesinos that work the land and allow us to have food on our tables.  

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Photo: Aportes San Isidro palm oil company has installed this gate five times, even after municipal authorities have declared illegal and removed it. Somehow, the gate has been put back time after time. Follow this link to learn more about this situation

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (Luke 8:15)


Prayers for Peacemakers, January 30

Pray for the people of Iraqi-Kurdistan and Palestine, this winter has been particularly hard and there are thousands of people living in refugee tents under extreme weather conditions. Pray for a more gentle weather for all of them. Pray also for the Palestinian children in Al-Khalil, who returned to school last week. During the month of December, the Israeli Army threw 172 tear gas bombs and 19 stun grenades to children while they were walking to school. The Israeli occupation and its violence are threatening Palestinian children’s right to education. Pray for these two nations.  

ISRAELI military welds shut Palestinian homes

CPTnet 26 January 2015 HEBRON, Palestine On the morning of 19 January, Israeli forces welded Zuheira Hashem Dundes front doors shut. Her family hasowned these two houses for centuries, and she still lived in one of them. Now her belongings are sealed inside her house, and she must live in her son's house across the street. The houses are located on Shuhada Street, most of which is closed to Palestinians. These women are some of the only Palestinians still living on Shuhada Street, making this act even more significant.