Reflections

IRAQI KURDISTAN REFLECTION: ā€œTheir future is the landā€¦ our future is the world.ā€

A Syrian Kurd family that evaded sniper fire and survived desert heat arrives in exile looking west. Will their dreams and the cup of cold water they offer find refuge there?

  

IRAQI KURDISTAN REFLECTION: Overcoming barriers

It was a Sunday, a visitorsā€™ day, in late July. Men and women sat under trees in a courtyard; children played. If you could ignore the high, barbed wire-topped fences and the guards roaming the perimeter, it looked more like a schoolyard than a prison.

UNITED STATES REFLECTION: Islamophobia and the Sikh Temple shooting: WWJD

Jesus' portrayal of a nation's hated enemy as minister to imitate should do more than ruffle Islamophobes' feathers. It should move people to acts of radical hospitality.
  
  
  
  
  

IRAQ REFLECTION: Change happens to be good

A dogged determination to speak up for villagers in Iraq's border regions, and to call for an end to attacks that had killed, maimed and displaced them year after year, has borne fruit in 2012.
  
  

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE REFLECTION: Defender of our Land

Simple, urgent messages on children's birch-bark hats cut through confusions of all but the most monetised mindsets.

  

AL-KHALIL REFLECTION: A New Day in Palestine

An eight-year-old Palestinian child nears the Al Sahla checkpoint in Al Khalil. Twenty meters to go, she slows her pace, pulls her younger brother close to her side, placing her body between the soldiers and the boy. With one of her eyes on the soldiers and one on her brother they squeeze through the gate together and run home with their daily allotment from the soup kitchen in hand.

COLOMBIA REFLECTION: Against all odds

Colombian farmers have something to teach people socialized for mobility about the privilege of standing with sisters and brothers who are told to give up, shut down and disappear.

 

AL-KHALIL REFLECTION: Cat and mouse play

A young boy met the people leaving the Friday prayers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in al-Khalil, giving them a colourful paper with offers of flat screen TV's, vacuum cleaners and dishwashers. Young and old read the pamphlet with interest while two Israeli soldiers watched people passing and handed back to some of them the ID's they had taken on their way in.

Another boy about seven years old came, stood in front of the soldiers, ripped up the pamphlet with the vacuum cleaners and threw the pieces on the ground.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) REFLECTION: Dignity in the face of humiliation

Boys push Hani to school. Israeli authorities built a barrier at the end of Hani's street, preventing him from traveling directly 100 meters to school. He has to travel an extra 500 metersAs the day dawns on our last school patrol, I reflect back on my last two and a half months of patrols here in Hebron.

Setting off at 6:50 a.m. we are greeted by the smiling faces of children who take the time to stop and give us a high five or shake hands with us. As we walk through the Souq (market), an array of colourful fabrics reflects the warmth of everyone as they invite us into their shops for tea. Then we turn the corner and everything changes.

IRAQI KURDISTAN REFLECTION: The price of empire

Despite the heavy heat outside, the basement was cool, almost damp, with the smell of old crumbling concrete and years of dust storms. It was dark but a light glowed, soaking everything in a sinister red film, showing the way through, showing their faces, twisted with fear, and pain, and loss.

Pictures hung on the walls, one per wall. Large, almost life sized images of fallen bodies, decaying children, bloated cows. I stood in silence. I know the history, the decades of brutality, of ethnic cleansing, the systematic murder of Kurdish men, women and children in the 1980s; Saddamā€™s alā€™Anfal campaign. I had even seen those pictures before. But this was different; the horror was close and chilling.