Christian Peacemaker Teams - Turn your Faith into Action for Peace en TURTLE ISLAND:  Let us See Life Defenders <span>TURTLE ISLAND:  Let us See Life Defenders</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Fri, 10/11/2019 - 13:38</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="600" src="/sites/default/files/4%20Indigenous%20Life%20Defenders%20-%20Niigaan%2C%20Gramma%2C%20Sarah%2C%20Sadie_0.jpg" width="600" /></p> <h6>Four Indigenous Life Defenders—Niigaan, Gramma, Sarah, Sadie</h6> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>by Steve Heinrichs</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>We are not environmentalists. </i></p> <p><i>We are not protestors. </i></p> <p><i>We are life defenders. </i></p> <p><i>And we do this for all.</i></p> <p>One week after the <a href="">Global Climate Strike</a>, a week after a million took to the streets in Canada with some 10-12,000 marching in the city of Winnipeg, I’m facilitating a panel conversation on intergenerational activism with four brilliant Indigenous teachers, pray-ers, and warriors.&nbsp; They are diverse in age (ranging from 63 to 13), from different nations, and carrying various experiences—residential school survivor, community organizer, university prof, and middle school student. And yet all speak with passion for a responsibility to traditional lands and waters. And all speak with deep concern against Settler societies’ ravenous eco-culture of dispossession and placelessness.</p> <p>Some would name them “ECO-warriors”. Yet these four make it plain. “We are not environmentalists.” “We are life defenders.” Indigenous peoples—Anishinaabe and Cree—trying to honour <a href="">Original Instructions</a>, seeking to be truly human, finding ways to fulfil treaty covenants with fish nations, bear nations, and all those other-than-human nations that comprise the majority of our world.</p> <p>A week prior to the Global Climate Strike, I find myself in St. Vital park filming a short video with Indigenous and Settler friends. We’re trying to make something that can help bridge the connections between ecological and Indigenous justice. When the Youth for Climate Action created its list of seven demands to redirect Canada toward a Green New Deal, one of them heralded the full adoption and implementation of the <i>United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples </i>(See <a href="">Our Demands</a>). Youth in Manitoba not only championed that particular call—they prioritized it. Why? Here’s what my friends Mandalyn, Leah, Abby and Romeo had to say:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>&nbsp;“We have this very distinct spiritual relationship with our lands, territories and resources… and we have a [unique] responsibility towards future generations to take care of [these lands].”</li> <li>“Indigenous people have been living here since pretty much forever and have this special connection to the land. And because of that connection they're not going to allow, for example, a pipeline to pass through their land and basically destroy it. They're going to protect it and help it grow.”</li> <li>Since contact [the Settler] economy has been based on resource extraction—on taking from the land without giving back. This is unsustainable and does not fairly consider the rights of those communities most affected.”</li> <li>“We're often on the front lines of climate change. Some of our communities are even going under water right now. We are the ones that feel the worst impact because a lot of the resource development is around our beautiful nations that that have been looked after by our ancestors since time immemorial.”</li> <li>&nbsp;“The first article of the UN Declaration talks about Indigenous peoples being equal to all other peoples.”</li> <li>&nbsp;“The government is currently building another pipeline without what they call the free, prior and informed consent of the affected Indigenous peoples.”</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dina Gilio-Whitaker, a surfer and scholar from the Colville Confederated Tribes, recently penned a profound book on Indigenous struggles for environmental justice—<i>As Long as Grass Grows</i>. Her main argument is that the prevailing paradigm for environmental justice is deeply problematic because&nbsp;“the underlying assumptions… are grounded in racial and economic terms and defined by norms of distributive justice within a capitalist framework.”</p> <p>As they currently stand, many of the most progressive environmental justice movements struggle to see that environmental injustice is fundamentally a process of settler colonialism. They do not “see” (that is, center) Native nations living on native lands today. They do not see that Native worldviews make no distinction between people and land. And they don’t see that Native peoples who are fighting for the protection of their homes are not fellow “environmentalists,” but protectors and life defenders.</p> <p>Yet things are changing. In my neighbourhood, the youth get it. They are listening to their Indigenous peers and elders. They are decolonizing their climate/earth solidarity relationships. And together, we all just might learn how to “see” for the sake of all.</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="339" src="/sites/default/files/Steve%20Marshalling%20at%20Climate%20Strike%20-%20credit%20Michael%20Yellowwing%20Kannon.jpg" width="600" /></p> <h6>Steve marshaling at Climate Strike</h6> <p><i>Steve Heinrichs is the director of Indigenous-Settler Relations for Mennonite Church Canada and serves as a sponsoring body representative on the CPT Steering Committee.</i></p> </div> Fri, 11 Oct 2019 18:38:08 +0000 Kathy Kern 12270 at TURTLE ISLAND: Commemorating Orange Shirt Day <span>TURTLE ISLAND: Commemorating Orange Shirt Day</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Fri, 10/04/2019 - 13:08</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="450" src="/sites/default/files/SAM_9427_0.jpg" width="600" /></p> <h6>Esther Kern (front row, far left) and other congregants at Valleyview Mennonite Church</h6> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>by Esther Kern</p> <p>Indigenous people and their allies commemorate “Orange Shirt Day” on 30 September, which marks the time of year when colonial authorities took Indigenous children in Canada from their homes and families and placed them in residential schools from the 1860s to the 1990s.&nbsp; After the authorities removed them from their families, educators forced the children to speak English or French instead of their ancestral languages, disconnected them from their culture and traditions, and coerced them to adopt Christianity in order to assimilate into Canadian society.&nbsp; Our government has since acknowledged that this system was wrong, cruel, ineffective, and in 2008, offered an apology to the Indigenous peoples of Canada.&nbsp; By wearing orange shirts at Valleyview Mennonite Church on Sunday, September 29, we joined in the message initiated in 2013 by an Indigenous woman, Phyllis Webstad, who had her pretty new orange shirt taken away from her by a settler adult on the first day of residential school attendance.&nbsp; “Every Child Matters” is her hope for generations of children to come, and wearing orange shirts was our way of coming together in solidarity and a collective spirit of reconciliation and support.</p> <p>Our theme for the Sunday service was “Overcoming Barriers:&nbsp; What walls do we need to tear down?&nbsp; What bridges do we need to build?”&nbsp;</p> <p>We used the <a href="">story of Phyllis</a> as a focal point for the children’s time during the worship service.&nbsp; The structure in front of the photograph was built with a brick wall and Lego bridges crossing over the wall.</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1404" hreflang="en">Indigenous Peoples Solidarity</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1397" hreflang="en">Canada</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 04 Oct 2019 18:08:35 +0000 Kathy Kern 12268 at Prayers for Peacemakers 2 October 2019  U.S./Mexico Borderlands <span>Prayers for Peacemakers 2 October 2019  U.S./Mexico Borderlands</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Wed, 10/02/2019 - 10:07</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="466" src="/sites/default/files/Accomp_Impace2-e1562348874875_0.jpg" width="620" /></p> <p>Photo: &nbsp;<a href="">Presbyterian Peace Fellowship</a></p> <p>Please pray for patience on the part of asylum seekers trying to enter the U.S.&nbsp; They bear great anxieties for themselves and their families as they think about what they fled, and what they will do if they are denied entry.&nbsp; Please pray for empathy and understanding on the part of customs officers at the border.&nbsp; Help them to consider carefully the violence and living conditions&nbsp;these asylum seekers have left behind.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote> <p><em>Dear Charley,</em></p> <p><em>…I am forced to look out for emigration and as far as I can see U.S.A. is the only country we could go to. Perhaps you remember that we have two girls. It is for the sake of the children mainly that we have to care for. Our own fate is of less importance…</em></p> <h5><em>Otto Frank<br /> Father of Anne and Margot Frank<br /> April 30, 1941</em><br /> <br /> (The friend, Nathan Straus Jr.—called Charley by his friends—did everything he could to help.&nbsp; But the U.S. government stymied all of his efforts.)</h5> </blockquote> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1409" hreflang="en">Mexico</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1430" hreflang="en">United States</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1396" hreflang="en">Borderlands</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1413" hreflang="en">Migration</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 02 Oct 2019 15:07:13 +0000 Kathy Kern 12267 at Lesvos| Fatal fires at Moria camp <span>Lesvos| Fatal fires at Moria camp</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Tue, 10/01/2019 - 10:11</span> <div><p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="text-align-center"><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="600" src="/sites/default/files/IMG_2456_0.jpg" width="337" /></p> <p>In late afternoon Sunday 29 September 2019, two fires broke out around Moria camp. One reportedly started outside the camp, and was put out within minutes. The other happened in the camp, either inside or close to a container, and rapidly escalated. At the time of this writing, 49-year-old Faride Tajik is confirmed to have died, and the number of injured stands at least at 17.</p> <p>Video footage shows migrants attempting to escape the camp as containers are on fire behind them. Despite the relative frequency of fires in Moria camp, the authorities seemed to have provided no evacuation plan. One video shows thousands of people attempting to exit through a single narrow open gate, leading to panic, and causing people on both sides of the wire mesh fence attempting to break it down.</p> <p>Police blocked the road leading towards the camp, which witnesses say prevented the arrival of those attempting to provide aid, and later used tear gas to disperse migrants. News reports claimed that migrants began to ‘riot’ after news of the deaths had spread, and that the visiting fire department was attacked with missiles. At 5:00 p.m., prior to any official investigation into the cause of the fire, <a href="">police sources told the Associated Press</a> that migrants had started the two fires.</p> <p>However, eyewitnesses on the scene, including members of the Lesvos NGO Workers’ Assembly, said that migrants attempted to put out the fire themselves and that unrest began after frustration at the length of time taken for fire units to respond. Police chose that moment to disperse the migrants with tear gas. Early reports from an investigation by the Fire Department also suggest that short-circuited electrical equipment caused the fire. If so, it will be the second time this year that faulty electronics, operating above capacity, have played a role in a death inside Moria: on 8 January, a 24-year-old man died in extreme weather conditions after persistent power cuts rendered heating units useless.</p> <p>In the aftermath, many camp residents had to sleep in tents without adequate warm clothing. Throughout the night, members of Christian Peacemaker Teams Lesvos observed families leaving the camp with all their belongings, choosing to sleep on the street rather than spend another night inside.</p> <p>This summer, Moria, a camp designed for a maximum capacity of 3,000 people now ‘hosts’ 13,000, both in the camp and the surrounding overspill Olive Grove. In early September, those in the unaccompanied minors’ section of Moria protested following the death of a 15-year-old boy. New people are arriving on the Aegean islands at the fastest rate since 2015, yet relocation efforts to mainland Greece have been deplorably inadequate. In early September, the authorities transferred around 1,000 people to the isolated and under-resourced Nea Kavala camp. Meanwhile, the New Democracy government—elected on an anti-migrant, law-and-order platform—has stepped up its eviction agenda against solidarity spaces that host migrants in dignified conditions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1445" hreflang="en">Lesvos</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1402" hreflang="en">Europe</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1413" hreflang="en">Migration</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 01 Oct 2019 15:11:19 +0000 Kathy Kern 12266 at Turkish and Iranian Cross-border Bombings in Iraqi Kurdistan (2017-2019) <span>Turkish and Iranian Cross-border Bombings in Iraqi Kurdistan (2017-2019)</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Fri, 09/27/2019 - 08:28</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="534" src="/sites/default/files/map_0.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Introduction</b></p> <p>CPT-Iraqi Kurdistan has documented multiple bombardments conducted by the Turkish and Iranian militaries against families living in villages and seasonal settlements along Iraqi Kurdistan’s borders with Turkey and Iran. Turkish and Iranian bombardments have escalated within the last year, killing and injuring numerous civilians, some of whom these militaries directly targeted.&nbsp; CPT and its partners call on the governments of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as armed resistance groups, to engage in diplomatic peace negotiations as a means of resolving conflict in the region.</p> <p>Located in the northern part of Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan (IK) is an autonomous region, bordering Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, and Syria to the west.</p> <p>For over 30 years, the governments of Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Iran have engaged in cross-border bombing campaigns against multiple armed groups operating from within Iraqi Kurdistan. Groups including the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party-Iran (KDP-I) claim to have formed because they were struggling for self-determination and against political marginalization and oppression of Kurdish people inside Turkey and Iran.&nbsp;</p> <p>Armed conflicts, as well as constant bombardments of Iraqi Kurdistan, severely impact the lives of villagers and migrant communities. Decades of war continue to cause loss of livestock and land as well as civilian injury and death.</p> <p><b>Injury and Death</b></p> <p>Turkish and Iranian bombardments have taken the lives of many families within Iraqi Kurdistan. Though the Turkish and Iranian governments deny that these assaults are targeting civilians, CPT has documented multiple instances that prove their claims are false. Since 2018, Turkish and Iranian targeted bombings have escalated, and civilian casualties continue to rise.</p> <p>On June 28, 2018, the Turkish military targeted villagers and their children near Halania village. Within clear view of a military base inside Iraqi Kurdistan, the Turkish military fired upon families as they harvested nuts and killed an adolescent girl. Dunya Rasheed was only 19 years old, standing among a group of children when the Turkish military launched a mortar directly at the group, killing her instantly. Villagers then reported that Turkish soldiers descended from the base, collected the shell that killed Dunya and instructed the witnesses to say she had stepped on a landmine.</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="330" src="/sites/default/files/Untitled%2B(2)_0.png" width="563" /></p> <h6>Dunya Rasheed</h6> <p>In the Ranya district, similar Turkish airstrikes killed four friends and relatives: Bezhan Mustafa, Muhammad Ismail, Darbaz Muhammed, and Sharo Mahmood. The men were celebrating Newroz* together at their summerhouse in the village of Ballayan Sarkan. At 1:15 a.m. on 22 March 2018, a Turkish warplane dropped bombs on the house killing these four young men.&nbsp;</p> <p>On 23 January 2019, in Deraluk sub-district, Turkish jets bombed Matin Mountain and the lands surrounding. This bombardment lasted for more than an hour, killing four civilians. Two additional civilians also disappeared after the bombing, their whereabouts still unknown to their families today.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><b><i>CPT has also documented incidents in which families have been killed by targeted bombings as they were merely driving down roads within Iraqi Kurdistan.&nbsp;</i></b></p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="230" src="/sites/default/files/Untitled%2B(3).jpg" width="516" /></p> <h6>Abdullah Aali Mina, his daughter Kurdistan and son Haryad</h6> <p>On 27 June 2019, the Turkish military fired a rocket at the vehicle of Abdullah Aali Mina killing him along with his daughter, Kurdistan, and his 17-year-old son, Haryad. The blast also wounded five additional family members, including his wife. They were returning home after a day-trip to their family lands in Ashqolka village near Sangasar. Initial reports claim that there was a PKK vehicle in the area and the Turkish military fired upon both vehicles.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="230" src="/sites/default/files/himdat%2B(2).jpg" width="243" /></p> <h6>Himda’at Othman with his son.</h6> <p>On 13 November 2017, Himda’at Othman was killed by Turkish bombardments as he was driving to his family’s village of Barmiza, miles away from armed resistance fighters who fight against Turkey in mountains behind Barmiza. Himda’at was in his early twenties when he was killed, leaving behind his parents, wife, and infant son.</p> <p><b>Armies and occupation&nbsp;</b></p> <p>The governments of Turkey and Iran have both constructed numerous military bases along the Iraqi Kurdistan border as a means to launch strikes at armed groups in this mountainous region. In addition, the Turkish military has constructed outposts tens of kilometers beyond the border into Iraqi Kurdistan. Sources have told Christian Peacemaker teams that there are more than 110 villages in Iraqi Kurdistan living under Turkish military occupation. Villagers and migrant farmers have reported that they cannot go into their fields because of this Turkish armed presence. One partner described his village as a prison and added, “We cannot go to take care of our fields or animals. We cannot go to our land.” In addition to villagers not being able to access land, villages under Turkish military occupation are assaulted by artillery and mortar attacks.</p> <p>The presence of Turkish bases in close proximity to villages has brought the conflict with the PKK closer to civilians. On 7 June 2019, an armed clash between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Turkish soldiers stationed at an outpost near Zakho broke out. As a response, the Turkish military sent planes and drones to bomb the surrounding hills and valleys surrounding the outpost. &nbsp; One airstrike hit a family fleeing the bombed area and bombs sent deadly shrapnel flying throughout the same area. The impact caused windows to break in neighboring villages.</p> <p><b>Displacement</b></p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="230" src="/sites/default/files/bomb.jpg" width="345" /></p> <h6>Photo of the bombings taken by a villager.</h6> <p>As the Turkish and Iran militaries continue to bomb the border areas of Iraqi Kurdistan, families are displaced from their lands for decades and sometimes for a lifetime. Because the Kurdish Regional Government documents only a limited number of displaced persons, oral history from affected families is often the sole record that exists.&nbsp;</p> <p>Heavy Iranian shelling in Sidakan during June 2019 forced numerous families to relocate, while past Turkish airstrikes in Sherwan Mazin have left the subdistrict with over 90% of its lands designated as banned areas.&nbsp;</p> <p>Many families cannot afford to leave or are determined to stay on land that has been in their families for generations. Those who have the ability to establish a new settlement are still not safe. Often newly created villages, such as Sargali in Amedi district, experience bombardments and civilians continue to live under the threat of violence.</p> <p><b>Trauma&nbsp;</b></p> <p>In all cases of cross-border bombings that CPT-Iraqi Kurdistan has documented there has been a noticeable and severe traumatic impact on civilians. The starkest effects are on families who have sustained casualties as well as on children who have been through active bombings. Warplanes, drones and the close proximity of villages to Turkish and Iranian military bases have forced many families to live in fear of future attacks.</p> <p>For over twelve years, Christian Peacemaker Teams has documented these traumatic effects in the Pishdar district. One villager told the team that he would settle for just one year of peace. He said the children didn’t know what it is like to live without warplanes and parents who are afraid that they will die in the night. Villagers report that not knowing when the next attack will occur has resulted in intense levels of anxiety. Numerous villagers told CPT that even slight sounds make them jump or think they are about to endure another bombing raid.</p> <p><b>Conclusion&nbsp;</b></p> <p>As evidenced by this generation-long conflict, current military tactics remain an ineffective way to bring sustainable peace to the region. Civilians caught within these cross-border conflicts have sustained considerable casualties, deaths of their relatives, damages to property, loss of livelihoods as well as lasting traumatic effects. The targeting of villages and farmland is in violation of international laws and incompatible with healthy lives for civilians in the border areas. In addition, agricultural losses cause a burden on the already troubled financial sector of the region, affecting all Iraqi Kurdistan.</p> <p>No reliable system to assist in times of crisis and active bombing, as well as no plans to help resettle displaced persons, exist for victims of cross-border attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan. In addition to a lack of support from the KRG, displaced villagers caught in the cross-border conflict do not qualify for international aid programs as funds are mainly allocated for those harmed by the war with Islamic State (IS).&nbsp; Christian Peacemaker Teams calls upon the KRG and other governmental and non-governmental organizations, both local and international, to assess the impacts on the local villagers in these border areas with the goal of providing immediate assistance and assuring protection.</p> <p>This report clearly demonstrates an urgent need for diplomatic peace talks between the involved parties in these conflicts. Furthermore, Christian Peacemaker Teams urges the international community, including countries with diplomatic to the involved parties to help foster a climate where these talks can take place.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>*The Kurdish celebration of the New Year in spring.</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1408" hreflang="en">Kurdistan</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1406" hreflang="en">Iraq</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 27 Sep 2019 13:28:44 +0000 Kathy Kern 12265 at PALESTINE: Craftspeople of al-Khalil—An interview with Bader and Zachariah <span>PALESTINE: Craftspeople of al-Khalil—An interview with Bader and Zachariah</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Thu, 09/19/2019 - 12:51</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="400" src="/sites/default/files/IMG_8486_1.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Bader al-Tamimi’s shop stands at the entrance to the Old City of al-Khalil (Hebron). Bader is always there it seems— a warm, dignified, welcoming presence to tourists, residents of al-Khalil members of human rights groups, and fellow craftspeople alike. He offers each a seat and thrusts small cups of coffee or tea into their hands.</p> <p>Born in al-Khalil, Bader has lived in and around the Old City all his life. He is thus a well-known figure in the area and acts as an important link between local traders and residents within the part of the Hebron Governorate based in the Old City. He has seen many changes, especially since 1997 when the Old City became part of H2, entirely under Israeli control. Over the years, five illegal Israeli settlements have established themselves in the heart of the Old City. One, Beit Romano, just opposite Bader’s shop, is in the building that used to house Bader’s and his brother’s school. Ideological settlers now occupy the school.&nbsp; Their menacing presence changes the atmosphere and sense of ease and belonging that Bader used to experience before.</p> <p>Bader, an artist himself, provides a supportive hub and an outlet for the work of other artists from the Old City, and it was one of these, a potter named Zachariah al-Qudsi, that we went to meet at Bader’s shop one Sunday afternoon. Zachariah trained first in fine art as a painter, but gradually changed to working with calligraphy, glass, and then with clay.&nbsp; Creating beautiful things that are useful rather than just artistic is a foundation of the Islamic philosophy of art. For this reason he and his brothers now specialize in making pottery, and they have a factory just outside the Old City where they can often employ five or six workers.</p> <p>“Anyone can be a craftsman, but not necessarily an artist,” volunteered Zachariah, a statement that may come as a surprise. But his comment underlines the meaning and importance of art within Islamic Philosophy – the craft becomes art when it is offered as part of community, not merely as an individual enterprise.</p> <p>The Old City has always been a city of craftspeople and artists, but the consequences of the Israeli occupation have severely reduced both the number of artists working there and of tradespeople of all kinds. Only a small glass factory and a sand artist remain as manufacturing enterprises, but there are still many shops that exhibit and sell the traditional work of Palestinian specialists – the unique and beautiful embroidery created by Palestinian women from the South Hebron villages in Area C; the delicately made clothes, soaps and perfumes, the traditional sienna clay pots, and multi-colored ceramic articles of all kinds. Bader explained that land cultivation had been the villagers’ main livelihood for generations, but now the Israelis do not allow them to plant or cultivate the land anymore. To help alleviate this difficulty, Bader’s Association provides workshops for the women from the villages that train them in embroidery skills. He then sells their work at his shop.</p> <p>Bader and Zachariah agreed that their primary purpose now was to help local artists and shopkeepers of the Old City stay put and resist the ever-present threats and pressures from the Israeli government to vacate their premises for the easier conditions of H1. “To own or rent a shop here is not easy,” explains Zachariah. “There is no guarantee that your work and effort will be rewarded. I’m afraid to have a factory here in the Old City, because after I pay the rent, settlers may take it over or soldiers can easily kick me out. Your work here is not protected.”</p> <p>Residents agree that the situation for them has grown increasingly worse— the settlers and army seem more aggressive, checkpoints have multiplied, and the number of Israeli soldier raids on homes and shops has increased. Despite these oppressions, the Old City remains what it has always been, a work of art in its own right, manifested by its ancient and beautiful architecture. In 2017, the Old City received international recognition when UNESCO awarded it World Heritage Status, recognition that Israel bitterly opposed. In addition to declaring this ancient Palestinian city of artists and craftspeople to be of outstanding universal value, the UN cultural committee also noted that it was in imminent danger from vandalism and destruction by the settlers in its midst.&nbsp; The vital financial gift that should have accompanied the UNESCO award is desperately needed for the refurbishment and preservation of buildings and shops, but the Israeli government has blocked it, according to the Assistant Governor, Dr. Rafiq Aljaabari.</p> <p>Bader is determined that visitors and the international community need to witness not only the suffering of the Palestinian people, but also their vibrancy, solidarity and strength. The artists and craftspeople of the community deliver that message— a hopeful message that despite the oppression and pain of the present, ultimately beauty and truth here will prevail.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1416" hreflang="en">al-Khalil (Hebron)</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1415" hreflang="en">Palestine</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 19 Sep 2019 17:51:01 +0000 Kathy Kern 12263 at MICOAHUMADO — a micro portrait of Colombia <span>MICOAHUMADO — a micro portrait of Colombia</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Mon, 09/16/2019 - 14:46</span> <div><h6><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="400" src="/sites/default/files/MG_7405-3_0.jpg" width="600" /></h6> <h6>Even children are not safe from becoming involved: soldiers are offering candy in return for information,<br /> thereby violating rights of children. Photo: Juliane Assmann/CPT</h6> <p>by Juliane Ashman</p> <p>It’s a cloudy day at the end of May. My spine crashes against the wooden rods that frame the back of a pick-up truck that takes us up the bumpy road into the mountains of Micoahumado. I have yet to learn that the more relaxed you are, the fewer bruises you get. On my left, one of the campesines* who is chatting away with my teammate, is getting uncomfortably close. I scoot a bit to the right but can’t go too far because a young man is sitting there. After 10 minutes or so I decide to say something and ask the man to move a bit to the left, which he does, although not without complaining.</p> <p>We are not taking a 10-hour journey, however, to talk only about sexist dynamics and male entitlement. We are on our way to accompany a community that more than 15 years ago had declared themselves a peace village, starting their own process of negotiation with the paramilitary forces and the ELN. Up until the beginning of this year, Micoahumado had agreements with all armed groups that no one was allowed to enter the town armed, setting an example for multiple surrounding towns and cities. However this year they have come under fire again, literally. Three men have been killed. Wilmar Carvajalino&nbsp; was on his way back to Micoahumado from the nearby town of Morales transporting goods for the cooperative store. He was shot 15 times in the face on the 10th of March, just two days after one of the precandidates for the municipal council; Belisario Arciniégas García was taken away from his wife and shot as well. The third victim was a teenager who was playing soccer. The military declared that guerrilla fighters from the ELN were near the soccer field and engaged them in combat. The young man was supposedly killed in the crossfire. The community reports that earlier ELN fighters had passed close by but at the time of the shots that killed the young man, no guerrilla fighters were present.</p> <p>We are on our way to accompany the community until a commission of Colombian social and human rights organizations arrives in two days to listen to the community’s concerns and requests. Before the commission arrives we eat and talk with Pablo Santiago’s family, one of Micoahumado’s leaders, take a walk to his farm— at that moment it is safe to do so — and get to know the small Venezuelan family that is staying there for the time being. Even though the ELN removed the landmines in the 2000’s as an effect of the community’s peace negotiations, it is still important to stick to the paths. Arizolina Rodriguez, one of the social leaders, tells us that five to six cows have already stepped on landmines in the last years and one farmer has lost one eye and a leg.</p> <p>We also visit another one of the social leaders, and long time friend of the team, Juan Bautista Colorado, who talks to us about the threat involved with being caught in between the fronts.&nbsp; Both the ELN and the Colombian military are a lethal threat for the civilian population fighting their battles in the middle of the town, as happened on 2 February this year.&nbsp; This threat makes it impossible for the farmers to reach their farms and cultivate their land where their food is coming from. Since February, the economy has dropped by 80%. Even with a functioning economy, many families are only just getting by. But what really chips away at the hope and courage of the people are the small daily oppressions.&nbsp; Oppressions such as patrols of the army through the town taking photos of houses and people, intruding into schools and even asking teachers for girls to do cleaning chores for them, the ubiquitous presence of weapons, the sporadic visits of ELN members: looking for women, demanding water, or using random private bathroom facilities‑as well as the death list that the ELN supposedly has with around 20 names on it.</p> <p>Even children are not safe from becoming involved: soldiers are offering candy in return for information, thereby violating basic human rights of children. &nbsp; It also violates a basic humanitarian law of the Geneva Conventions: to keep children out of the conflict, instead of turning them into informants. Whenever battles in and close to the town are happening during the day, school attendance is usually impossible for security reasons. When we talk with Arizolina she stresses how much the children suffer, how intimidated they are just by the daily patrols. She herself has three children and three grandchildren.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It’s the middle of July and news emerges that the military has taken away nine members of the Micoahumado community accusing them of several crimes, amongst others the crime of rebellion, which is a way of accusing community members of working with the ELN. When I read that hundreds of farmers marched down the road towards Morales to block it as a nonviolent protest against this arbitrariness I thought back to my own ride up to Micoahumado on this road. I remembered how impressed I was by the scenery, how green the hills were, what a view opened up over the plains of the Magdalena river and how Arizolina and my intrusive seatmate had shown me a cave in the rocky cliffs on the way.</p> <p>I remember the dining room of Pablo and his wife Mema, plastered with photos of their five children — graduation photos, Quince Años photos (the 15th birthday of girls is widely celebrated among Spanish speaking people throughout the Americas), portraits, and baby pictures. I remember my teammate practicing multiplication tables with Susana**, who is in fourth grade and is spending her childhood in a war zone. My hope is that Susana will find the resilience to finish school in spite of growing up in a war zone. That she will get to experience an unforgettable Quince Años in a few years. And that she will not yield to the frustrations, trauma and pressure and, for example, leave the community and displace herself.</p> <p>Our hope and goal as CPT is that Micoahumado can repeat its immense effort and implement a peace process with all actors involved. Because if this process fails, other communities who have followed Micoahumado’s example of peace negotiations and agreements, might fall back into violence as well.</p> <p><b>CPT will continue accompanying Micoahumado. If you want to support civil peace initiatives like theirs please consider donating to CPT so we can continue this work in a regular and reliable way.</b></p> <p><a href=""><b>Donate now!</b></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>*People who work on the land</b></p> <p><b>**Name has been changed</b></p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1399" hreflang="en">Colombia</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 16 Sep 2019 19:46:12 +0000 Kathy Kern 12261 at CPT introduces new network for Indigenous solidarity! <span>CPT introduces new network for Indigenous solidarity!</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Caldwell</span></span> <span>Fri, 09/06/2019 - 14:53</span> <div><h3><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="1767" src="/sites/default/files/IPS_24_Kathy%20Moorhead%20Thiessen_cropped.jpg" width="3263" /></h3> <h3>Christian Peacemaker Teams is excited to announce the creation of the Turtle Island Solidarity Network (TISN)!&nbsp;</h3> <p>In March 2019, the full time Indigenous People’s Solidarity Team closed as a result of necessary budget cuts in CPT. However, CPT remains committed to continuing the work of Indigenous solidarity across Turtle Island (the Indigenous name for North America). In addition, we have been inspired by CPT reservists who are committed to decolonization. We would like to explore ways we can support reservists in this work and provide a platform for advocacy, opportunities for networking and shared learnings on Indigenous solidarity and decolonization.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Turtle Island Solidarity Network is a network of CPT reservists who are engaged in Indigneous solidarity and decolonization. This network strives to take part in actions, be available for accompaniment, provide opportunities for education and advocacy, and work in coalition. &nbsp;By working together across Turtle Island, we strive to erase the colonial border between Canada and the US.&nbsp;</p> <p>The creation of the network will enable reservists to network and include the advocacy they are already doing, as the work of CPT. At the same time, CPT will support reservists through networking calls and opportunities for advocacy. This will be a two-year pilot project to see how effective the network is.</p> <p>The mandate of this group is to encourage Indigenous Solidarity within Christian Peacemaker Teams and our constituency through:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Indigenous Solidarity</strong> (actions, events, accompaniment, petitions, and advocacy)</li> <li><strong>Settler Education</strong> (Undoing Oppressions workshops, Resources on Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery, and presentations to educate constituency)</li> <li><strong>Coalition-building</strong> to support Indigenous rights and the struggles of our partners</li> <li><strong>Undoing Settler Colonialism</strong> (providing guidance to the CPT body on how we can undo settler colonialism (including the Doctrine of Discovery and ideology of<em> terra nullius</em>) within our organization)</li> </ul> <p>If you want to learn more about TISN or how your community can be involved, <a href="/programs/tisn">visit the TISN web page</a> for details. We are excited to welcome the CPT community to work with us in building a new network for transformative change!</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1404" hreflang="en">Indigenous Peoples Solidarity</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 06 Sep 2019 19:53:12 +0000 Caldwell 12260 at COLOMBIA: A call to hope and to continue the road to peace <span>COLOMBIA: A call to hope and to continue the road to peace</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Thu, 09/05/2019 - 10:31</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="397" src="/sites/default/files/05270335-50c3-449c-927b-161c3afda209_0.jpg" width="600" /></p> <h6>Photo: Marcos Knoblauch/CPT</h6> <h3><strong>Christian Peacemaker Teams - Colombia has signed on to a Declaration in response to the announcement of a group of former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia FARC commanders to leave the Peace process and take up arms</strong></h3> <p>As churches, national and international civil society organizations, collectives, initiatives and citizens in general, we are concerned about the continuous obstacles put forth to prevent the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement. Our prayer and commitment is and will continue to be with the churches, the victims of the armed conflict, the population that reincorporated into civilian life, women, children, young conscientious objectors and all those who dream and long for a reconciled and peaceful Colombia. With hope we proclaim that neither death, nor threats, nor wars can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:37).</p> <p>In this biblical spirit and in accordance with what we have wagered on peace, we regret the announcement made by ex-combatants of the former FARC-EP lead by Luciano Marín to take up arms in order to achieve political and social change.</p> <p>The implementation of the Final Peace Agreement has not been an easy process, nor has it advanced as much as Colombians would like almost three years after its signing. However, this cannot be an excuse to take up arms again because our commitment as a society must be the construction of peace from a position of respect for life and human rights.</p> <p>Given this fact, which seeks to break down the efforts of Colombians trying to overcome the wounds caused by the armed conflict, the undersigned</p> <p><strong>INVITE&nbsp;</strong>the churches, socio-ecclesial communities, human rights defenders and social organizations not to faint, to express ourselves in the efforts for the construction of peace in our country, to see God through the eyes of the victims and to remember the [past] achievements at building peace throughout the country.</p> <p><strong>WE BELIEVE</strong> that peace is the fruit of social justice (Isaiah 32:17). We need to overcome the causes that generate exclusion, strengthen a democratic culture and embrace the paths of reconciliation, founded on dialogue and the positive transformation of social conflicts.</p> <p><strong>WE SUPPORT</strong> the reconciliation and healing process carried out by the ex-combatants who have chosen legal approaches as the only means to build a country in peace.</p> <p><strong>WE REITERATE</strong> our call to the State to guarantee the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement and we invite all citizens to accompany the process of [ex-combatants’] reincorporation into civilian life to guarantee that the process is done in compliance with what was agreed.</p> <p><strong>WE EXHORT</strong> the armed actors to cease all intimidating actions and respect the life and dignity of every person because we are Sons and Daughters of God. Life is sacred and therefore, we reject the use of any type of violence that limits the multiple efforts of building a society.</p> <p><strong>WE MAKE AN URGENT CALL</strong> to pray for the peace of Colombia and mobilize in favor of the efforts of those who seek truth, justice, comprehensive reparation of the victims and non-repetition of the acts of violence.</p> <h5>Mennonite Christian Association for Justice, Peace and Nonviolent Action - JUSTAPAZ-<br /> Christian Peacemaker Teams- Colombia<br /> Democratic Culture Foundation - FUCUDE-<br /> Mennonite Church of Colombia - IMCOL-<br /> National Network of Regional Development and Peace Programs - REDPRODEPAZ-<br /> Christian Community of Faith of Supía.<br /> Bridges for Peace Program.<br /> Inter-ethnic and ecumenical corporation for development, reconciliation and territorial peace - CIEDERPAZ-<br /> Radio and Cultural Collective LOCALIZE.<br /> Foundation for Free and Peaceful Territory<br /> Mennonite Church of Armenia<br /> PeacefulCoNova - Active Nonviolence Collective Bogotá / Soacha&nbsp;<br /> Conscience Without Camouflage Collective - Ibagué<br /> Manuel José Jiménez Rodríguez. – Director, Corporation Observatory for Peace, Bogotá.<br /> Municipal Board of Women of Policarpa, Nariño.<br /> Municipal Board LGBTI Policarpa, Nariño.<br /> Community Action Committee of Policarpa, Nariño - JAC Policarpa-<br /> Students of radio journalism and peace building of the municipality of Policarpa, Nariño.<br /> Communications Collective "Explorers of the Island" of Juradó, Chocó.<br /> Regional Local Development Agency Nariño - ADEL Nariño-<br /> IMA Educational and Cultural Foundation Putumayo - FECIP-<br /> Social Pastoral Diocese Mocoa Sibundoy.<br /> Missionary Union Christian Church&nbsp;of Supia<br /> Christian Community of Faith - Supia, Caldas<br /> ASOCIAMME: Marmato Association of Women Entrepreneurs - Marmato, Caldas.<br /> Corporation for Innovation and Development - Corpoindes-<br /> Disarmed Collective<br /> Nomads Collective<br /> Free Territories Collective&nbsp;<br /> Bread and Peace Encounter<br /> Women with a Gender Focus - Chocó</h5> <h5>&nbsp;</h5> <h2>Over 80% of our income comes from individual donors.</h2> <h2><b>If you support nonviolence, if you want to help us continue our peacemaking work in Colombia, please donate today!</b></h2> <h2><a href=""><b>Donate Now!</b></a></h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1399" hreflang="en">Colombia</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 05 Sep 2019 15:31:00 +0000 Kathy Kern 12259 at Prayers for Peacemakers, 4 September 2019  Iraqi Kurdistan <span>Prayers for Peacemakers, 4 September 2019  Iraqi Kurdistan</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Wed, 09/04/2019 - 08:48</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="495" src="/sites/default/files/Press%20Conference-CPT%20and%20partners-1_0.jpeg" width="600" /></p> <p>Give thanks for how the voices of families who lost their children, parents and siblings in Turkish and Iranian bombings resonate with a power greater than the noises of death and war. Representatives of the families in partnership with CPT Iraqi Kurdistan held a successful press conference to speak about losing their loved ones and called on governments and armies to take action for peace. We pray that those responsible for the bombings will hear their united voices and respond to their call.</p> <p>The CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team with partner families whose members died in the Turkish and Iranian cross-border military operations are launching a campaign: “Hear Us Now.” The campaign calls for an end to the bombings, compensations for the tremendous losses that the families sustained and for acknowledgment of the injustice and targeted violence that they suffer. The families are asking that both the Iraqi and Kurdistan Parliaments engage as true partners of the thousands of village residents—whom Turkish and Iranian military operations target daily—in finding pathways of peace. In addition to killing women, children and men in bombings that target cars, houses and fields, these military operations have already emptied hundreds of villages.&nbsp; And many more villages are at risk.</p> <p>So together with our partners we pray for miracles. And we speak out and in harmony with the families’ united voices: “Stop the bombing!”</p> <p>One of the numerous media covering the press conference posted this article:</p> <p><a href=";MapID=1#link">VICTIMS OF TURKISH, IRANIAN CROSS-BORDER BOMBINGS SPEAK OUT IN SORAN</a></p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="600" src="/sites/default/files/Heas%20Us%20Now-Campaign%20flyer-1_0.jpg" width="464" /></p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1408" hreflang="en">Kurdistan</a></div> </div> </div> <div> <div>Attachments</div> <div> <div><span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf"><a href="" type="application/pdf; length=386575" title="Heas Us Now-Campaign flyer-1.pdf">Hear Us Now: Stop the Bombings Campaign Flyer</a></span> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 04 Sep 2019 13:48:00 +0000 Kathy Kern 12257 at