Archive

June 20th, 2014

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Update from the Christian Peacemaker Team in Sulaimani

In the face of the recent violence in Iraq, the CPT Iraqi Kurdistan project is doing well.  CPTers are maintaining a presence there and have been able to accompany and support Kurdish efforts for justice and peace. 

The violence that started in the north of the country was not located in the Kurdish region.  From the border between the autonomous region of Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq, the militant ISIS group has moved down towards Baghdad.  See Isis road to Baghdad.

Kurdish military forces are located at the border with Iraq to contend with any possible violence against the Kurdish region.  In addition, they took the control of Kirkuk—a city of great emotional and political significance to the Kurds.  There are many analyses of how this violence will affect or not affect the Kurdistan, but nothing is clear at this point.  It is clear also that the are many powerful interests behind what is happening in Iraq and what could be the future of the country: One state?  Three states?

But the major concern for the people in Iraqi Kurdistan is the massive influx of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) from the south.  An estimated 500, 000 people fled last week towards Kurdistan—considered the safest place in the country right now. 

The possibility of a U.S. attack, invasion, or support? The role of Iran and Turkey?  What will happen in Kurdistan?  Time will tell. 

The CPT Kurdistan team will continue monitoring the situation and evaluating possible courses of action in conjunction with their partners and advisers in Sulaimani, in case the safety of the region and the city where CPT is located changes. 

Meanwhile, our team hopes to continue supporting Kurdish partners in peacebuilding efforts.  The expected humanitarian crisis—given the number of refugees from Syria and IDPs from within Iraq—will almost certainly take a part of our attention, as it will knock the doors of the CPT project. 

 




Iraqi Kurdistan team with CPT trainees during training session in Sulameini February-March 2014

June 19th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Hijacking a kidnapping, Part II

The public so far knows very little outside of the alleged time that Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach were kidnapped.  But what we do know is the absolute mayhem the Israeli military has spread throughout the Hebron district among innocent families.  Additionally, routine night raids, day patrols, confiscation of public property for military outposts, and the blockades on all but two access points into Hebron have suffocated the livelihood of Hebronites…

On 15 June at around 9:30 p.m., an Israeli raid on a Palestinian home ended with a seven-year-old Palestinian boy hospitalized after the Israeli military used an explosive device to blow open the front door of the Akram Al Qawasmeh home.  The subsequent powerful blast shattered the tempered reinforced glass, shearing off the decorative steel and sending pieces of shrapnel into all corners of the home, which severely injured Akram Al Qawasmeh’s son.

After the explosion, Israeli soldiers did not allow Akram Al Qawasmeh to see his son, and according to reports, the military initially stopped medical personal from treating the victim.  CPT arrived the following day and found a home turned upside down. (See video below.)  Children’s belongings were spread and broken around the house.  Israeli soldiers demolished the kitchen, smashing fruits, vegetables, and other food items on the floor, and left feces on a rug in the basement.

June 18th

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 18, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 18, 2014

The Iraqi Kurdistan team writes, “As violent struggles continue for control of key Iraqi cities, Kurdistan focuses on power and security. With the conflict unfolding, and our work with partners locked in land struggles with oil companies continuing, your support and prayers are appreciated for our team and for peace for the Iraqi and Kurdish people.”

 

Epixel for June 22, 2014


With your faithful help rescue me from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep
waters. Do not let the flood sweep over me, or the deep
swallow me up, or the Pit close its mouth over me.

Psalm 69:13-15

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

June 17th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Hijacking a kidnapping, Part I


As the families of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach languish in uncertainty, grieving the disappearance of their three young boys, the world watches as their anguish is politically co-opted to provide a veil for indiscriminate Israeli military force imposed on the Palestinian communities in the West Bank.  The kidnappings also provide an opportunity for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to advance his right-wing agenda.

Netanyahu and his ilk have hijacked the legitimate, raw emotional pain of the kidnapping catastrophe and transformed it into the political impetus to section off Hebron from the rest of the world, target the Palestinian unity government, deploy intimidation and systematic abuse as a measurement of collective punishment, and strategically empower the settler enterprise in the West Bank.

June 16th

COLOMBIA POEM/VIDEO: What's your story?

 

 

¿Cuál es tu historia? from CPT/ECAP Colombia on Vimeo.

on Vimeo.

 

1

Where are you coming from, my brother?

Who took away your land and sent the police after you?

Hasn’t the pain left a wound,

Or have you left your soul on your land?

2

Isn’t it enough to be a repressed woman

who has dedicated herself to harvesting pain?

You are a victim of killer bullets,

shots from the thugs of this terrible oligarchy.

June 14th



EUROPE: Decision to open summer project in Greece arises out of fourth European Convergence

in:

 




A European Convergence tradition: pointing at the camera

European Convergences are special events, because we are spread out so thinly across political borders, have many different mother languages—English, Dutch, German, Swedish, Italian, Czech, Persian etc—and it’s important for us to hear each other’s stories and make plans for our communal witness. For this fourth convergence 23-27 April 2014, we met in the Dutch town of Aalsmeer, next door to the international Amsterdam airport.

This convergence was especially significant, because we decided it was time for us to act together against injustice at our own doorstep.  European governments are halting on land and sea the constant stream of refugees from the Middle East and Africa in contravention of the right of endangered persons to seek asylum.  The result is drownings, unjust deportations, long prison sentences and—lurking behind it all—an oppressive racism.

At the convergence, we heard the reports of two fact-finding missions to the Greek island of Lesbos, a mere ten km (six miles) from the Turkish coast. A local Orthodox monastery and several human rights groups described their work with these refugees, who are often washed up on shore in damp, salty clothes.  Those refugees who are not retained in detention are left to suffer at the hands of right-wing youths and indiscriminate police violence in cities like Athens.

June 11th

Prayers for Peacemakers June 10, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers June 10, 2014

Pray for the Abu Haikels and all the families on Tel Rumeida, in Hebron who are losing land to settlement expansion in the form of an archeological dig and facing increased harassment from settlers.

See AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): The Abu Haikel family—a story of resistance.




Arwa (top left) and Faryel Abu Haikal climb onto their land to halt the demolition of their
property from the Israeli Antiquity Authority, hoping to enforce a police order previously
issued.

June 9th

JERUSALEM: The case of Rachel Corrie

 
 photo Ashraf Amra
 Craig and Cindy Corrie

[Note: This release was adapted for CPTnet from a longer piece on the Palestine team’s blog.  The Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron provided nonviolence training for Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall, another International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist killed by the Israeli military, when they entered the country along with waves of other ISM activists during the early years of the Second Intifada.]

More than a decade after an Israeli military bulldozer crushed Rachel Corrie to death in Rafah, Gaza, her parents Craig and Cindy Corrie found themselves in the halls of the Supreme Court of Israel on 21 May 2014.  The Corries were appealing a verdict handed down in 2013 by Judge Oded Gershon of the Haifa District Court.

Gershon ruled that Corrie was responsible for her own death by entering Gaza during a time of conflict.  “While not surprising, the verdict is yet another example of impunity prevailing over accountability and fairness and it flies in the face of the fundamental principle of international humanitarian law—that in a time of war, military forces are obligated to take all measures to avoid harm to both civilians and their property,” said Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein, the Corries’ attorney at the Haifa hearing in 2013.

June 6th

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE REFLECTION: Amplification

CPT takes seriously its mission of listening to marginalized people and speaking their truth to a wider audience.  For this reason, our delegation met community members in Grassy Narrows who represent their community’s interests in negotiations with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), logging companies, and before the courts.

Our host, Andrew Keewatin (Shoon), is building manager and leader of the Trappers’ Centre.  Within the community, Shoon runs AA meetings and teaches children traditional skills like building canoes, snowshoes, and drums, filleting fish, and tanning hide to make moccasins. 

In recent years the MNR licensed logging companies to clearcut sections of forest on his land.  Occasionally he has been able to negotiate with the MNR to preserve bands of forest connecting water sources or to spare trees that have little commercial value.  But in the end, the MNR decides where and when logging companies may cut down forests, not the people who have lived and worked on the land and for generations.




Community member Cheryl Fobister at blockade

When a logging company constructed a road within kilometers of Grassy Narrows, disregarding the wishes of the community, the conflict with the Grassy Narrows community came to a head.  On a cold December afternoon in 2002, three youth blocked the road by cutting down nearby trees.  This bold action brought the people of Grassy Narrows together to form a blockade, an expression of nonviolent resistance that they had been contemplating for some time.

Among the countless people that participated in the blockade, Judy Da Silva emerged as a strong advocate.  Mrs. Da Silva has watched logging companies enter her Nation’s territory for years, clearcut vast swathes of forest, and disregard the concerns her community expressed.  She is a protector of the forest and of the broader ecosystem on behalf of her children and her children’s children.  For her, dispossessing First Nations of their land, refusing to investigate the murder of 1000 First Nations women and the disappearance of 200 more, poisoning the English-Wabigoon River system with mercury, and disregarding the wishes of First Nations peoples for the use of their territory are all connected by a White settler ideology that values only those things that can be converted into money.

June 4th

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 4, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 4, 2014

 Pray for those participating in the refugee-led Freedom March to Brussels, a protest against the repressive and racist European migration regime.

 *Epixel for Pentecost Sunday, June 8, 2014
 
 "And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?  Parthians, Medes,
Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia
and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both
Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs--in our own languages we hear them speaking
about God's deeds of power?" Acts 2:8-11
 Photo Johann Stemmler
 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.