October 7th, 2016

MEDITERRANEAN: My first working day in Pipka—the love letter


English lessons were slow getting started. Peggy walked around the camp by the cabins and tents to let interested refugees know the session would soon begin. Lunch finished late, but soon two young women showed up, Farsi-speakers, maybe sisters. 

Peggy had been teaching for a few days now. I was there to observe her technique. Soon a man joined us, possibly around thirty years old, Pakistani. He had a shy manner, and was hesitant to approach, but he emitted a kind of indefinable radiance. He asked me if I could help him with “deep” words. At first, I thought he wanted to talk philosophy, but, no, he wanted words that had to do with feelings, specifically words to do with love. 

“Love,” though was to simple a word for what he had in mind. And he wanted, as it turned out, full sentences:

“You are profoundly beautiful.”

“My heart is full of affection for you.”

“I adore you.” 

It became quickly clear to me that he wanted to compose a love letter. He had met a Pakistani-American woman here on Lesvos and been on a couple of dates.  Now he wanted to express how he felt about her: 

October 6th

Indigenous Peoples Solidarity: CPT-IPS team visits No Dakota Access Pipeline camps

"The Creator is our weapon," a speaker said at a community meeting in the Sacred Stone Spirit camp, "and we need no other." 

Responding to an inquiry about presence at the No Dakota Access Pipeline camps near Cannonball, ND, the CPT-Indigenous Peoples Solidarity team recently organized a short trip to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to explore what support they could offer water defenders. The camps have become a gathering place for many peoples opposing the threat the Bakken oil pipeline poses to the Missouri River and other shared waterways.   

Our small delegation camped at the Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, the first of three camps to be established at Standing Rock. Ladonna Brave Bull Allard, a Lakota tribal historian on whose land the camp is located, described the objectives of the camp as protecting the water, preventing the Dakota Access Pipeline, building a community of people who care for and respect one another and the land, and bringing about a shift in world thought with regard to humans' relationship with the earth. During our time there, we heard repeatedly that "this is a camp founded on prayer."  

October 5th

Prayers for Peacemakers 5 October 2016 Colombia

Prayers for Peacemakers 5 October 2016   Colombia 

Pray for those in living in Colombia's conflict zones: campesinos, indigenous peoples, displaced people and Afro-Colombians, most of whom voted overwhelmingly in favor for the peace referendum, which was defeated on Sunday.  Pray for Christian Peacemaker Teams-Colombia and their partners on the ground: human rights workers, peace activists, women’s rights activists, labor rights activists, etc.  They are heartbroken and their future is uncertain.

*Epixel for Peacemakers  October 2, 2016 
Christian Peacemaker Teams - Colombia
For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.
you brought us into the net; you laid burdens on our backs; Psalms 66:10-11
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary  readings

October 4th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A week in photos 27 September-3 October 2016


Obstacle to Childhood 

Pictured here: With the Israeli military occupying the streets, children in Hebron constantly face restrictions to play and to simply be kids. 
(September 27, 2016)

October 3rd

IRAQI KURDISTAN: I am teaching Math; the government is teaching corruption. I am consolidating society; the government is dividing it


Since the ISIS war started, or since the Kurdish leaders in Northern Iraq decided to engage in the war, the name of the Peshmerga (Kurdish fighters) has become well known around the world. Kurdish people are brave; Kurdish people are heroes. 

Before ISIS entered Iraq, the Kurdish government was in a conflict with the Iraqi Central Government. The main issue was about oil as well as the Peshmerga's salary. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) wanted to sell oil and have an independent economy. Because of this Kurdish desire for autonomy, the Iraqi Central Government no longer wanted to send salaries to the Peshmerga and the Kurdish leaders did not want to put the Peshmerga under Iraqi control. 

September 30th

MEDITERRANEAN: No easy answers


It’s 6 a.m. in Iraklio. The hotel clerk has called a cab, and we are waiting with our luggage in the lobby. We’ve been three weeks here in Crete visiting family and now are joining CPT-Europe’s Mediterranean Project on the island of Lesvos. We don’t quite know what our role will be there or what tasks we will be called on to perform as volunteers.

The clerk wants to talk about the refugees. “Of course, we must help them,” he says. “It’s not their fault; it’s not the fault of the Greek people. But it’s killing us,” he says. He means economically. “Here in Crete, on this strip alone” – he points outside toward Leoforios Kalokairiou “– two hundred businesses have failed. Store after store, closed.” He had been working at a resort in Malia, usually the busiest place in Crete during the summer season, but the number of days he could get work was getting fewer and fewer. He had to come here to Iraklio where the tourism by native Greeks is more reliable.

September 29th

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Applications sought for Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Project Support Coordinator postion


Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is accepting expressions of interest for the position of IPS Project Support Coordinator 

Participants in the 2015 Anishinaabe Waterwalk against the Energy East pipeline

Team: Administrative Team

Reports to: Program Director

Status: Stipended, half-time, 20 hours/week

Stipend: $1,000 USD/mo

Location: Turtle Island  (Canada–preferred—or United States)

Start Date: December 1st, 2016

Application Deadline: October 30, 2016

Position Purpose: This half-time (20 hours/week) position supports CPT’s Indigenous People Solidarity Program efforts to amplify the voices of and support Indigenous nations, communities and movements in Turtle Island seeking justice and defending lands against corporate and government exploitation, as well as a commitment to undoing colonialism in churches.   

September 28th

Prayers for Peacemakers September 28, 2016

Prayers for Peacemakers September 28, 2016

Pray for the people of Grassy Narrows.  A recently published report by Japanese scientists noted that almost everyone they tested in the community, young and old were showing some sign of mercury poisoning.  Additionally, Health Canada is withholding the results of blood tests they performed on newborns in Grassy Narrows for mercury poisoning between 1978 and 1992.  Pray that those with the power to address this environmental racism will find it unacceptable. 

*Epixel for Peacemakers  October 2, 2016 

O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?

Or cry to you "Violence!" and you will not save?

Why do you make me see wrong-doing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; 

strife and contention arise.

So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails. The wicked surround the righteous--

 therefore judgment comes forth perverted. Hakkakuk 1:2-4

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

September 27th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A week in photos 20-26 September 2016

Immoral, Illegal Annexation Underway  

Pictured here: CPT delegates from Serbia, India, and the US visit Al Bowereh, a neighborhood facing increasing encroachment, violence, and harassment by Israeli Jewish settlers seeking to link the Kiryat Arbat settlement with a nearby outpost.
(September 24, 2016)

September 26th

Mediterranean: On watch

The waves crashed on the stony beach. Out in the water of the Aegean Sea, between the Island of Lesvos and the coast of Turkey, the lights of coast guard boats and an occasional fishing boat could be seen in the moonless night. Two of our team joined members of the Emergency Rescue Centre International (ERCI) team as they started their evening all-night vigil to watch for and assist with passengers in refugee boats if they arrive at this area of the island. 

Night-vision binoculars were on hand.  An orange tarp was removed from a stack of blankets, kept for the warmth of the volunteers.  Wooden pallets for seating had been set up around a mound of rocks, where the group would light a campfire during the colder months of the year. During the dryer months of the summer there are regulations against open fires.

The rhythmic sound of the waves gave a backdrop for meditating, and we had plenty of time for getting to know each other. Though some did nap during the early hours of the morning, several participants always remained awake and alert to respond if a boat came. Other clusters of ERCI workers were holding similar at a couple other locations around the island where boats might arrive from Turkey.