Archive

September 11th, 2015

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ SOLIDARITY REFLECTION: All My Relations


As we race home, the kilometres clicking, stock markets dipping, politicians promising brighter futures in radio sound bites, Lynn reads from the Truth and Reconciliation’s (TRC) 388 page report â€śHonouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future”. As an official document – it’s surprisingly digestible. As a record of Canada’s history – it’s deeply troubling. 

As we drive south, mists rising off the lakes surround the hills. It has an otherworldly effect—making me feel like the world we’re leaving is an unreal, distant, a dream that disappears like smoke once daylight arrives.

Passing through hour after hour of northern forests it might be easy to think there’s a limitless supply of timber. It could be easy to forget the living nightmare the people of Grassy Narrows have shared with us. Return to my same old ways of getting by, consuming energy and natural resources without a thought to the true costs of my living.

I remember what Larry Morrissette, who talked to us about de-colonization in Winnipeg, said about Development.  “You flush the toilet – and somebody else gets the shit.”

We have short memories when it comes to such things. The 1996 Royal Commission covered much of the same territory as the TRC report. It made many of the same recommendations. Most of which were conveniently disregarded by those in power and forgotten by the general public.

This TRC document however, is soaked in the tears of the Residential School survivors. The TRC heard over 6,000 stories. Many heartbreaking accounts are captured in the pages. In addition to the hard cold truths of how we made “our home on native lands,” it documents the human costs. The truth is that the “true north” is neither strong nor free.

September 10th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A Week in Photos 27 August-3 September 2015

Renewed Israeli oppression at school time

 

Pictured here: Yousef, one of the Palestinian boys that attend the Ibrahimi school in Hebron is stopped, questioned and asked to empty his pockets despite the fact he did not set off the metal detector.  

(02/09/2015)

September 9th

Prayers for Peacemakers, September 9, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, September 9, 2015

Give thanks that the Aamjiwnaang First Nation is speaking out about the damage that “Chemical Valley” in the Sarnia area is doing to its nation as well as to the other living creatures.  Christian Peacemaker Teams recently participated in a “Toxic Tour” as an act of solidarity with the Aamjiwnaang people.   Like ninety other First Nations in Canada, including Grassy Narrows, Aamjiwnaang First Nation is unable to drink the water on its land.

 *Epixel for Sunday, September 12, 2015 
The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the LORD: "O LORD, I pray, save my life!" Psalms 116: 3-4
 
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

September 8th

MIGRATION REFLECTION: Not since World War II… so many people looking for HOME

 

Afghan refugees on Lesvos

I have been home three weeks and am now able to re-enter Winnipeg society. I no longer have to cocoon in my house, unable to face the huge grocery stores and my friends who ask me how I am.  Already I can go hours without even thinking of  the people I sat with in Iraqi Kurdistan. I am forgetting the heat and the sweat and the burning hot wind. I am forgetting the tears and pain of mothers sitting on the sidewalk begging with their eyes, families in unfinished houses asking for a refrigerator so their water can be cool enough to drink and people living in flappy tents that fall down in the blustery winds.   I am forgetting the father looking at his 21-year-old son who is thinking of paying money to a smuggler to try to get to a life worth living. I am forgetting the words, "What else can he do?"

But there are still hours when I remember. When I read news of seventy people dying in a smuggler's truck because no one would open the doors.  When I hear from my colleagues working on the island of Lesvos of ordinary people risking the life and breath of their children to get onto inflated boats trying to find a society who will embrace them and say welcome. 

September 7th

MEDITERRANEAN: The starving refugee children in Moria and Konstantinos’s shining smile

Konstantinos has the sort of beard that is called “a mixture of mung beans and rice” in Kurdish. I’ve never seen his smile be absent for more than two minutes. A few weeks ago, he appeared on Lesbos with his moustache, his universal heart and a huge pot.  He said: ”I want to feed the refugees.”  With an enormous ladle, he stirred the soups in parks that homeless people had made into their homes,  and in neighborhoods where people lived whose income and livelihood was swallowed by the European economic dictatorship. 

Our team assisted “Food for All”, as he called this work, in the distribution of food among refugees. Circulating his magical ladle, he took the spices in his palms and added to the food. Many refugees wanted to participate and he included everyone. With his charisma and compassionate gestures he was able to convince everyone to stay in the queue. “Everyone is going to eat” he called out. When the food finished and not everyone had got a portion he said that he would prepare more food. The people dispersed, and the saucepan was again filled with water, ingredients and spices. Konstantinos prepared food as if he was dancing. 

September 4th

IRAQI KURDISTAN: What is our sin? What have we done?—the Yezidis remember.

In early August, my teammate and I attended the commemoration of the year since the Yezidi genocide in Iraq at the invitation of our friend Sheik Shamu in Arbat Internally Displaced Persons Camp.

We immediately saw the hand lettered signs attached to the tents in the area where the Yezidis live. Then three little girls, all wearing screen printed T-shirts met us. When Juliane asked if she could take a photo, one lifted a photograph up and held it sideways. The scene was one that little girls should know nothing about, but we knew that they had witnessed things that their little minds will never forget.

 The event was held in the huge brick building that serves as a school during the year. Today it held all sorts of ages of the Yezidi community, as well as visitors from NGOs and politicians. Sheik Shamu, a leader of the Yezidi community, noticed us very quickly and assured that we had seats alongside the mayor and other dignitaries. We received the bottles of water offered to everyone gratefully. There was no chance of a breeze entering the building and sweat was pouring in the 45 C heat. 


 

September 3rd

COLOMBIA REFLECTION: A farmer’s hands

There is nothing so beautiful than seeing the fruits of the land, planted by farmer’s hands which will soon make it to our table.

The universe, pachamama (Mother Earth), calls to us, shouting for protection and care.  Some of us defend her; we protect and we protest alongside her, telling the world that we must love and take care of her.  We must celebrate the work of our farmers, men and women who till this land, who take care of her as if she were one of their children and develop a special connection with her, she who feels and breathes like any one of us.  These farmers are the most dignified example of beautiful labour: working the land with their own hands so people may eat from her very soil.

September 2nd

Prayers for Peacemakers, September 2, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, September 2, 2015 

Pray for Veronica, a Mexican human rights lawyer who stopped by the CPT office for lunch after she relocated to Chicago in the wake of serious threats to her safety because of  her advocacy on behalf of Mexican farmers whose land was targeted for confiscation by multinational corporations. Her struggle mirrors that of CPT's partners.  Pray for CPT's partner communities in Colombia and Iraqi Kurdistan who are also resisting violence generated by multinational resource extraction corporations.  

 *Epixel for Sunday, September 5, 2015 
The rich and the poor have this in common: the LORD is the maker of them all.

Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of anger will fail.

Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor.

Do not rob the poor because they are poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate;

for the LORD pleads their cause and despoils of life those who despoil them. 
Proverbs 22:2, 8-9, 22-23

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

August 31st

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Building family—an IPS delegation participant reflects on her experience

“When you see injustice happening, say something,” answered Anishinaabe lifelong activist Judy da Silva when asked what we should do to support her community from afar.  â€śWe don’t need people to walk beside us, we need family." Our Christian Peacemaker Teams – Indigenous Peoples Solidarity delegation went to do ally work in Grassy Narrows First Nation, and we learned how great our mandate is.

Nine delegates and two co-leaders arrived in Kenora, Ontario on 14 August and prepared for the Grassy Narrows Powwow the next day.  There, we watched spectacular dancers in regalia battle the 32ËšC heat.  We listened to mother and activist Richelle Scott describe the racism and objectification she’d experienced in Kenora-area hotels.  She brought about accountability by confronting the managers: an example of taking direct action. 

We also took action that week when we attended the Kenora Walk a Mile in Her Shoes— an event where men don women’s heels and walk to raise awareness about sexual violence and women’s rights, supporting Kenora Sexual Assault Centre.  We visited the Women’s Place in Kenora, a gathering place and resource centre for women survivors, whose clientele are 85% indigenous, demonstrating the intersection between racial, gender and economic violence. 

August 29th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A Week in Photos 9-15 August 2015



 

Preparation for prayer 

Pictured here: Settlers children are accompanied by Israeli soldiers on their way to Shabat prayer passing by Palestinian houses
(14/08/2015)