Archive

October 4th, 2014

IRAQI KURDISTAN: An oil company’s callous disregard for villagers’ lives

On Wednesday, 24 September, members of our team traveled for the first time to Kormor village, where Dana Gas began drilling for oil and naturalDSCN4554 gas in 2008.  Our first stop was at the local school, where we met the principal, Abdul Munem Mohamed Mahmud.  Twenty-one girls and boys attend there.  Dana Gas built it three years ago, but Abdul showed us where vibrations from drilling tore a crack down the side of the building large enough to show daylight.  The company promised to build a clinic and provide other services, but now claims that the Kurdish government is responsible for providing compensation.  The area government representative denies the company’s claim.

October 3rd

COLOMBIA VIDEO: “The chocolate process”--a cup of hot chocolate truly made from scratch

CPT Colombia has a new video out showing how the community of Garzal makes a cup of hot chocolate—from the time the cacao fruit is picked, to the preparation and husking of cocoa beans, to the cup of sweet deliciousness. 

Watch here 

Cup of Chocolate // Una Taza de Chocolate from CPT/ECAP Colombia on Vimeo.

The communities of Garzal and Nueva Esperanza have engaged in what is called a “social process” to resist displacement and stand up for their rights and their dignity for more than a decade.  They are among the primary communities that CPT Colombia accompanies.

October 2nd

IRAQI KURDISTAN: ExxonMobil puts operations on hiatus because of ISIS, but Kurdish villagers cannot access land

On 8 and 12 September, the CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team visited its partners in villages affected by the ExxonMobil operations.  The huge Exxon base10562648_738933592856548_673082790745076661_o camp near Hajji Awa, from which the company conducted the oil explorations in Gullan village and Shawre valley sits almost completely empty.  The government sent many of the guards to fight the ISIS on the front line.  ExxonMobil has stalled its operations in Iraqi Kurdistan because of the advance of ISIS forces and the war.  The multinational corporation seems not to feel protected enough by the U.S. air strikes, even though the U.S. claims they are occurring for the “protection of U.S. interests and personnel.” 

October 1st

Prayers for Peacemakers, October 1, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, October 1, 2014

Pray for the members of the CPT Aboriginal Justice Delegation, currently in Grassy Narrows and Kenora.  Give them wide open eyes, minds and hearts as they witness how the criminal justice system plays out in the region, the different ways CPT’s partners in Grassy Narrows are standing up for their rights and dignity and how they are asserting sovereignty over their traditional lands.

Epixel* for Sunday, October 5, 2014
Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
 There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard
Psalm 19:2-3
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's 
Revised Common 
Lectionary readings.

September 30th

MEDITERRANEAN ANALYSIS: A look at jurisdiction on "smuggling" and the broader context

On Monday, 22 September, CPT Mediterranean observed several trials against Turkish men accused of human smuggling and the case of a Syrian refugee we had visited in prison the week before.  

The Turkish men all got the maximum sentence of twenty-five years, and Mohammad got ten years in prison with a possible reduction of the sentence to two years if he works in prison.  The court authorized this reduction because of his refugee status.  It also  acknowledged he had acted in an emergency because he had been forced to drive the boat when the smugglers left it. 

As we sat in the court, with a Greek partner translating for us, it became clearer that neither the public attorney nor the judge have a comprehensive understanding of why the people in the boats are migrating.
  For example, they asked questions like, “But why did you not stay in Syria?”  
 

September 29th

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Bridging interfaith animosity and the pain of war--International Day of Peace in Kurdistan, Iraq

Three of our team walked into the gathering of about a hundred Kurdish peace and justice activists at the Cultural CafĂ©, in Suleimani, Iraqi Kurdistan, to celebrate the International Day of Peace.  Immediately, Nyan Mohammad, a teacher at the Arbat School, waved for us to come to sit at her table.  There, four displaced Ezidis (often called Yazidis) we had met before stood up and warmly greeted us.  Nyan, who is Muslim, made a special trip to the tent camp for displaced persons this afternoon to pick up this group and bring them to this event, which focused on building peace among religious groups

Hosting this event was a Kurdish women’s organization, called the Ashti Group.  The speakers included persons from four religious groups among Iraqi Kurds— An Ezidi, a member of the Kaka’i, (a Kurdish minority religion), a Muslim, and a Christian.  They each urged us not to judge people from other religions, but to live together in tolerance and harmony.  Their message was not theoretical but spoke to a real need of a society racked with ethnic violence.

Far right: Kurdish team colleague Parween Aziz; next to her, Peggy Gish.  Second from left,
 Nyan Mohammad, plus four Ezidi friends

September 26th

MEDITERRANEAN: Writings on the wall

In one of the events that I participated in on the Greek island of Lesvos, I had the chance to see many writings migrants made to hang on the walls of the welcome center in Pipka. A piece of paper on the wall may not be a detailed story but what I saw delivered their pain. Here are some written by migrants from Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Sudan and other war-torn countries:

A handmade poster by a Syrian refugee

September 25th

Prayers for Peacemakers September 25, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers September 25, 2014

Pray for the refugees and migrants caught up in the Greek court system, where they do not receive even the semblance of a fair hearing.

Epixel* for Sunday, September 28, 2014
Court in Mytilene, Lesvos
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any 
sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy,  
make my joy complete: be of 
the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 
Philippians 1:1-2
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

September 24th

IRAQI KURDISTAN REFLECTION: The new military intervention in Iraq—on not repeating what has not worked

 

 
 Yazidi refugees driven from their homes by ISIS

For many Americans, President Obama, with his latest plan to expand U.S. military intervention in Iraq, is finally “doing something.”  And people here in Iraqi Kurdistan are generally hopeful that this will stop the militant fighters calling themselves “the Islamic State,” or for the purposes of this article, ISIS.  I keenly feel the pain of the people here and do not want any more persons brutalized, yet I believe Obama’s plan will not diminish global terrorism; it will only expand and strengthen it.

It is helpful to remember that ISIS’s ability to capture areas of Iraq was possible because of the U.S. had destroyed its society and supported the Shia government that excluded Sunni populations, subjecting them to widespread loss of jobs, attacks, mass arrests, torture and extra-judicial killings.

While our team lived and worked in Baghdad, the U.S. and Iraqi forces bombed and destroyed whole neighborhoods and cities in the name of anti-terrorism, generating more anger toward America.  The U.S. failed to support the progressive, mostly nonviolent, uprisings, around the country, against government abuse and corruption.  Throughout the years of occupation, it was clear to us that U.S. military actions in Iraq were not really directed at protecting the Iraqi people, but for protecting American personnel and U.S. economic and military interests in Iraq and the Middle East.  Then, in early August of this year, U.S. military strikes were, once again, less for protecting religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq than protecting U.S. diplomats and the large oil companies developing oil fields in the Kurdish region.

September 23rd

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli military locates and kills suspects in kidnappings and murders of three Israeli youth

 

 
 photo @alaaqawasmi

Early this morning, Tuesday, 23 September 2014, the Israeli military discovered the hiding place of and killed Amer Abu Aisha and Marwan Qawasmeh, the two suspects in the kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli settler youth in June.

The killing took place on the first floor of a wood factory in the Hai El Sharma neighborhood near Hebron University after a firefight.  The building has three floors:  the first is a wood factory; the second contains shops and the third is residential.  Due to the live ammunition, small bombs, and tear gas thrown into the building by the soldiers, a fire started, which burned one of the two suspects almost beyond recognition.  The blasts from the bombs, and the military tractor used to cave in the building also damaged adjoining homes and buildings.