Archive

June 23rd, 2016

COLOMBIA URGENT ACTION: Stop the criminalization of Colombian human rights defenders!

 

 

Dopa petition

 CPT Colombia asks the Colombian authorities to put a stop to the growing trend of judicial persecution and detention of campesino human rights defenders who are fighting for their rights to land and territory.

Alvaro Garcia, campesino leader from the communities of El Guayabo and Bella Union and member of the Victims Association of Magdalena Medio (ASORVIMM), remains incarcerated for almost two months now under false criminal charges.  He is one of two CPT partners who have suffered political persecution and imprisonment in the last nine months.  

Three other leaders from El Guayabo and Bella Union currently have arrest warrants similar to that of Alvaro’s, which severely encumbers the community’s legal struggle and distracts the authorities’ attention from the larger land issue at play.

Join us in asking that the authorities drop charges for all four leaders, release Alvaro and respect the campesinos’ right to remain on the land as the country moves forward towards a post-conflict reality.  

 

SIGN HERE

June 22nd

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 22, 2016 Europe

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 22, 2016  Europe

Give thanks for members of the new CPT-Mediterranean Team, which has just finished its first week together on Lesvos, Greece.  Pray for ongoing encouragement in their work, as Western governments try to avoid taking responsibility for refugees fleeing unbearable conditions in their homelands.

*Epixel for Peacemakers  June 25, 2016  
 
For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:14
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

June 20th

CPT MEDITERRANEAN BLOG: Deep and violent connections


It’s a profound day today.

The celebration of Juneteenth (when Africans enslaved in the United States learned of their freedom, declared by the Emancipation Proclamation almost two years earlier). 

The one-year anniversary of the massacre of the church at Mother Emanuel AME folks in Charleston, SC.

The one-week anniversary of the Pulse Orlando club shooting. 

It’s also Father’s Day, so blessings to the Dads out there…especially those redefining traditional masculinity and providing open-minded and gentle ways of nurturing children (or ideas!) into wholeness. 

Tomorrow continues the meaningful days (of course every day we’re alive it’s meaningful!) It’s solstice, and the middle of Ramadan. It only comes around in the summer every 33 years.  Given global weirding, this is a hot one! 

It’s also World Refugee Day. Being here, working with refugees…this day now means more to me than ever before.  I knew theoretically the difficulty of being a refugee: the bureaucracy of paperwork and sometimes arbitrariness of official decisions, long lines, inadequate resources, the fast friendships, the cramped camps, the waiting, oh the waiting. 

Our Christian Peacemaker Team is accompanying refugees in Mytilene, Lesbos, Greece. As Executive Director I have a chance to do a two-week team visit. I sat across the table from a man from Afghanistan yesterday. Neither he nor I are from Greece or speak Greek. I don’t speak Dari yet, and he just began the English classes offered to refugees. We don’t know each other’s names and yet we are deeply and violently connected. My village paid for his village to be bombed (through the US-led war in Afghanistan).

We kind of smile at each other to acknowledge a greeting, but neither of us are happy about the situation so we exchange a glance of agreement that there is no use pretending we are. I can hope that through our work he and I can feel that there is another way to connect as well, through nonviolent interaction. But if it ends there it is not enough, in a way. I want to exchange the real smile that comes after a day of joint action to bring change to global functioning. Tomorrow is World Refugee Day and we will do a public witness action that reminds the public that refugees are not invisible, and mourns the loss of over 1,600 people that have died in crossing by boat from Turkey to Greece. We will thank the Lesbians for being so welcoming to those who made it, and together with them brainstorm ways to insure safe passage for all and challenge EU and US and local policies that lead to so many people being frighteningly expelled from their homes. 

June 16th

IRAQI KURDISTAN: May 2016 Newsletter--Neighbors from different worlds

Newsletter

May 2016
 
 

 

Iraqi Kurdistan

 
We are neighbors from different worlds
-CPT May Delegation-
 
We are pleased to welcome nine delegates from the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship and Mennonite Church from the U.S.A.

It has always been a pleasure for CPTers to unite people and celebrate the diversities. We started our May delegation by visiting a local Muslim leader and activist Mullah Nader and talked about bringing peace and supporting diverse minorities in Kurdistan society.

CPT has met Mullah Nader in several peaceful civil society demonstrations. He told the group that his role is supporting people with the Holy Quran's teaching about justice and respect. Because he speaks about the injustice, the suffering of the people under corrupt powers, and protests together with other mullahs against wars and violence, he began receiving threats.

June 15th

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 15, 2016

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 15, 2016

Pray for the people of Barrancabermeja, Colombia.  The mayor plans to sell their public water company to a private corporation, which has human rights organizations quite worried.  Pray for the unionized workers at the water company who may lose their jobs if that happens.  

 

*Epixel for Peacemakers June 19, 2016  

 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people; from those who are deceitful and unjust deliver me! Psalm 43:1

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

June 9th

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Quilting Peace--A report from the Vatican Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference

 


From April 11-13, 2016, I had the privilege of representing JustFaith Ministries at a Catholic conference on nonviolence in Rome, Italy. The conference was titled, “Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to a Catholic understanding of and commitment to nonviolence.” This historic conference, co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International, brought together about eighty people from around the world—lay people, members of religious congregations, priests, and bishops—whose experiences of nonviolence ranged from scholarly and theological study to on-the-ground nonviolent resistance, to advocacy on a local, national, and international scale.

All sessions were rich with stories of hope in situations of despair, of mending in in places of fracture, of love in places where hate would be easier.

Bishop Paride Taban of South Sudan talked about Holy Trinity Peace Village, the manifestation of his dream, in which members of different tribes who used to call each other enemies now live, work, and solve problems as a community. The bishop’s peacemaking efforts extend far beyond the village, as he has, among other things, participated in negotiations between the South Sudanese government and rebels.

Stories from the Philippines included both the nonviolent movement that led to Ferdinand Marcos stepping down from the presidency in 1986 and the countrywide peace education that has been going on there since shortly after that.

Fr. Francisco de Roux, SJ, shared his experiences from the Magdalena Medio region of Colombia, where he and his teams talked to everyone—the military, the paramilitary, and the guerrillas— in an effort to create peace. In his personal statement he wrote, “in the Magdalena Medio, when we were surrounded by violent groups, we discovered that there is no safety in weapons. That the only true and sustainable protection comes through trusting people. And that to win trust we have to go through a long process of dialogue and mutual acceptance, and unpredicted individual and social changes, in the midst of uncertainties.” Now he is involved in the negotiations for a peace agreement that may finally bring the decades-long violence in Colombia to an end.

Each story added a new patch to the blanket of peace. 

Many more, we need so many more before we can cover the whole world in peace. 

June 8th

Prayers for Peacemakers 8 June 2016 Indigenous Peoples' Solidarity

Prayers for Peacemakers 8 June 2016

Give thanks for all who came together as part of River Run 2016 to call for the clean up of decades of mercury pollution in Wabigoon River.

*Epixel for Peacemakers June 12, 2016  
Grassy Narrows First Nation â€Ş#RiverRun2016‬ stopping traffic with a round dance in Toronto
You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah Psalm 32:7
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming  Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.



June 6th

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Finding community and empowerment after ISIS

The afternoon brought a visit to Baynjan Women's Center—a safe haven for women of many ages, and many different cultural backgrounds:refugees from Syria and elsewhere, women who have been internally displaced, Kurds, Arabs, and Yazidi/Ezidis, gather together each day in a place that has become "the gate to happiness"; a comfortable and safe space radically different from the chaos that drove them so far from their homes. Again and again, as the women talked, they expressed gratitude for a space where they could "be themselves," "be comfortable," "be safe," "experience family, after I was separated from my own." The women put together a drama that they have shared in refugee and IDP (internally displaced people) camps and that they shared on International Women's Day. The drama showed a young women's struggle to achieve her goals in the midst of an arranged marriage. The woman comes into her own power as the drama continues. The theater expresses the depth of issues that women face on a daily basis in a way that goes far beyond just words. The women find community together, challenge systems, work for human rights and demonstrate peacemaking every day.

Wouldn't you love to meet people like the ones working at STEP and Baynjan Women's Center?  Check out our delegation schedule!

June 3rd

Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity Poem: Grassy Narrows-Asubpeeschoseewagong-one hour north of Kenora

Grassy Narrows-Asubpeeschoseewagong-one hour north of Kenora

Grassy Narrows, where the water narrows and the wild water grasses grow.

Where the fish emerge from their eggs and grow healthy and strong.

Their rich protein feeds the people—Anishinabek

Fishermen come from the world to find the fish and the men of Grassy Narrows guide them to the best spots on the lakes and rivers.

The money buys flour for bannock and fuel for the boats. 

Then one day the community realises something is wrong.

Judy da Silva says, “The fish were acting strange. They were jumping right out of the water-onto the land and then dying there.”

As if they could not bear to stay in their habitat anymore. 

The elders said that this was wrong. Something was wrong with the water.

Mercury-whatever would give a company the right to dump such toxic chemicals into the river?

As if it would dissolve and disappear.

June 2nd

IRAQI KURDISTAN: “The oil companies may be the end of us”


“We survived the Ottomans; then we survived the British; then we survived Saddam Hussein. After all that we’re still here, but the oil companies may be the end of us.”

This quote was from a villager that Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraqi Kurdistan has worked with for several years now, but anyone from several communities we have visited in the past week could have said it.  In a small community outside of Erbil/Hawler called Haji Ahmed, we met with a villager who showed us land that used to be full of vineyards and a running stream. Now, the streambed is dry, the land is mostly dust, and the people aren’t sure what will happen to them.