Archive

December 16th

COLOMBIA: El Guayabo demands that armed men leave their community

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Community members retake possession of
RincĂłn's property

After a week of confrontations between the El Guayabo community members and armed men installed by Rodrigo Lopez Henao Henry RincĂłn’s property, Lopez’s men have left the land.  Riot police illegally evicted RincĂłn from the property in October at the bidding of Lopez.

When CPT arrived at El Guayabo on 31 November, the military was camped at the town’s port.  On 1 December, the military came to investigate the situation on the farm, having heard reports that there were firearms in the vicinity, but they did not act.  Their visit left the community disappointed and wary of the military’s position.  In the evening, Lopez sent in extra men to guard the house, leaving a total of ten guards on the property.

December 14th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli military’s use of teargas, rubber-coated bullets forces schools to close

Over the course of two days last week, the Israeli military’s response to a few boys throwing stones toward the Qitoun/209 and Salimeh/29 checkpoints was so excessive the principals of the seven schools near those checkpoints canceled school for the hundreds of children that attend those institutions. On 10 December at checkpoint 209, through which 183 children and fifty-two adults passed from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., the teargas was so potent from two teargas canisters fired by Israeli border police that a twelve-year-old boy who opened a window at the school andinhaled the teargas—fired approximately 250m away—suffered extremely adverse effects.  Teachers called an ambulance and decided to close the school to avoid more harm to children from the gas.  An ambulance came after approximately twenty-five minutes, delayed by the physical obstacles of occupation such as checkpoints and the apartheid laws governing Palestinian vehicular access in H2 Hebron.  A CPTer who was there said, “sitting with and attempting to soothe the boy, who was scared, unable to breathe properly, and unable to open his eyes, broke my heart.”

December 12th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli military arbitrarily change rules around Checkpoint 56 closure, detains elderly, sick people

On 10 December, Israeli soldiers prevented teachers from the Qurtuba School, elderly people, a disabled man, and both a doctor and an ill woman trying to reach the hospital from passing through Checkpoint 56 in Hebron.  In some cases, they delayed people trying to pass through for one hour; in others, as much as three.  Checkpoint 56 has been subject to closure and restrictions by Israeli forces since it was burned from the inside nearly three weeks ago.  No one knows who is responsible for the burning of the checkpoint, and Israeli forces have not released footage.  Leading onto the small section of Shuhada Street on which Palestinians are allowed to walk, checkpoint 56 connects Bab iZaweyya, the commercial district in Palestinian Authority-governed H1, with the neighbourhood of Tel Rumeida in Israeli-controlled H2. Checkpoint closure here demands that families living in Tel Rumeida and school children and teachers from the Qurtuba School walk an extra hour or that they walk a difficult route through the homes and gardens of other Palestinians to reach their homes.

December 10th

Prayers for Peacemakers, December 10, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, December 10, 2014

Pray that the citizens of Winnipeg, Mantoba repent of their injustice to the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation.  Winnipeg’s access to clean water comes at the expense of the residents of Shoal Lake, who have been under a boiled water advisory for eighteen years.

Epixel for Sunday, December 14, 2014
61:4 They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall
repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations…
For I the LORD love justice, I hate
 robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense…Isaiah 61:4,8
 
 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's  
Revised Common Lectionary  readings.

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Project “Bringing Hope and Fun” begins in Arbat IDP camp

10407601_786159374800636_6630778394365459304_nCPT Iraqi Kurdistan has begun a project, “Bringing Hope and Fun,” to work with children in the Arbat IDP camp, just outside of Sulaimani.  Led by our intern, Alicja Zasadowska, and aided by the local organization STEP, we were able to create an activity for the children of the camp.

We asked them to draw a picture and write a story explaining the best day of their lives.  The twenty-five children we were working with ranged in age from five to fifteen.  For many of them, grief and horror has become a central part of their lives.  People often ask them to reflect on these difficult things as they tell their stories.  However, Alicja wanted them to share about something happy, so that they could practice cultivating good memories even in the midst of their trauma.

Alicja faced some resistance as she spoke with others about her intentions to have the children draw and write about happy moments.  One father told her, 'My children know nothing of joy; this project will not work.'  Some of the staff at the camp warned her that 'these children do not have happy stories to tell.'  Another NGO questioned why we would want to share happy things, when sad stories influence people much more.  However, her focus was not on others but solely on the children.

December 9th

AL KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli settlers stab Palestinian boy on his family’s land

Moad Al Rajabi after
receiving treatment at
hospital

On 8 December 2014, Israeli settlers attacked seventeen-year-old Palestinian boy, Moad Al Rajabi on his family land in Bani Naim, on the outskirts of Al-Khalil/Hebron.  He was sitting with his father, Noah Al Rajabi, and two of his cousins when settler cars stopped nearby.  As seven settlers exited the cars and came towards them, Noah ran away with his two nephews, believing that his son was also with him.  He soon realised his son was not there, and turned to see seventeen-year-old Moad encircled by the settlers. 

The seven were stabbing Moad, but fled as Noah ran back in a bid to rescue his son from the assault.  Moad required hospitalization to treat the stab wounds, one of which penetrated to the bones in the hand; the other was on his thigh.  He is now stable, and the hospital hopes to discharge him later today. 

December 8th

UNITED STATES REFLECTION: The Ripple Effect-- #StayWokeAdvent

I write this post in response to the recent challenge to

“reflect;

cry out;

meditate;

repent;

accept grace;

pray;

weep;

wrestle;

wake up;

question;

hope (if even just a little);

sit with darkness;

squint at the light;

read;

write;

create;

observe;

listen” 

in an effort to keep watch and not be silent in light of what we have witnessed in #Ferguson, Missouri.  The writer, out of anguish, frustration and anger, asked us who observe #Advent, with anticipation of the arrival of shalom, to “stay alert…to “stay woke”…to your senses, your mind, your body, your feelings, your spirit to where to Spirit is stirring and leaning. Stay woke….to the impact your life has on others…Stay woke…to the injustice that we either contribute to or diminish…Stay woke….to the groanings of the world…Stay woke…to the humble, radical, empire-upsetting ways of Jesus…Stay woke…to the darkness…Stay woke…to the light…and to the sacred and profane in both.” 

December 6th

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Collecting the names of the missing

Last month, Alicja Zasadowska, an intern with the Iraqi Kurdistan Team and I accompanied our partners, the Zhyan group, to Duhok to visit the Khanke IDP Camp, about a seven hour drive through the mountains.  The Khanke camp is currently the home to several thousand families, mostly Ezidi/Yazidi from the Shangal Mountain (“Sinjar” in Arabic.)  According to others who had traveled there earlier in the fall, the families are recoveringimagewell given the circumstances, but you can still see the scars of where they were sunburned from spending days on the mountain with no shelter or water. 

This visit was truly one of the most humbling experiences of my life to date.  We spent a weekend collecting the names of 961 women kidnapped by ISIS (we noted the names of men on a separate sheet).  I am sure we could have collected many more names had time allowed.  We simply went from one UNHCR* tent to the next, sat with families, and heard their stories.  One man with whom we spoke has sixty-six missing family members, another twenty-eight.  At times, it felt like the grief and the list of names would never end.  Even as the sun set on us and the camp closed for the evening, we heard of more buses on their way to the camp from Kobane, Syria. 

December 5th

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE REFLECTION: Thoughts on the children of Grassy Narrows First Nation to commemorate Universal Children’s Day

Judy Da Silva, Slant Lake Blockade, 
Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) 
October 2011

Grassy Narrows Clan Mother, and long-time partner of CPT’s Aboriginal Justice Team (AJT), Judy Da Silva wrote the following for United Nations Universal Children’s Day ( 20 November 2014.) 

In Grassy Narrows, we have children and youth that outnumber the adults in our total on-reserve population of 800 people. 

These children and youth are true survivors as they inherit the legacy of a land devoured by consumerism, namely from the logging industry.  This industry is also what dumped 9,000 kgs of mercury into the English/Wabigoon river system, effectively poisoning water that is supposed to be life-giving and is now life-taking.  

December 4th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli military attacks nonviolent demonstration protesting closure of Checkpoint 56

At a demonstration to protest the closure of Checkpoint 56 in Hebron on Saturday 29 November 2014, a torrent of teargas and sound grenades rained down from Israeli forces, who were occupying rooftops above Bab iZaweyya.  Leading onto the small section of Shuhada street on which Palestinians are allowed to walk, Checkpoint 56 connects Bab iZaweyya (the commercial district which marks the boundary between Israeli-controlled H2 and Palestinian Authority governed H1 areas) to the neighbourhood of Tel Rumeida.  Last week the checkpoint was set on fire during clashes, and the checkpoint has been closed by Israeli forces ever since.  This act of collective punishment forces the families living in Tel Rumeida walk an extra hour—or that they walk through the residences and gardens of other Palestinians—to reach their own homes.  These families therefore organised a nonviolent demonstration to protest this closure because it is another example of the daily harassment and routine restriction of the rights and movement of Palestinians living under occupation.

Video footage of the demonstration taken by CPT is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hhfv9sz8xh0&feature=youtu.be