CPT INTERNATIONAL: Newsletter October - December, 2020 | Resilience

Dear CPT Community,

I vividly remember huddling around a cellphone with three teammates on a red woolen carpet in the mountains of northeast Iraqi Kurdistan. We were watching footage of sheep grazing on lush high mountain pastures. The camera then panned to the left, revealing a hole in the ground, a crater formed by aerial bombings the day before. As we watched the screen, Kak Bapir, a shepherd and a long time CPT partner, made it very clear: he will not leave Basta, his village, despite Turkey’s indiscriminate bombings throughout the region. His family has lived in the Pishdar region for generations and were key peacemakers during the civil war.

Not much later, we hear explosions in the distance. Concerned for our safety, Kak Bapir urges us to leave. It would take us at least two hours of driving through winding, unpaved mountain roads to reach a “safe” area.

I wonder what resilience means for Kak Bapir? In this issue, we’re pondering that question.

There is a bit of resilience in all of us, particularly this year, as we try to find “normality” and grieve a loss impossible to fathom. Our way forward to collective and individual resiliency is dependent on the trust we build to take action together: to provide care, to demand change in systems that work against the common good, and to make sure it’s done in a way that addresses historical injustices.

As 2020 winds down, we can point to moments of shock, when profits mattered over people and decision-makers rationalized the sacrificing of some lives.

This brings me back to the question: what does resilience mean for Kak Bapir? What does resilience look like living through decades of aerial bombings? What is our role in building a world of resilient communities that create collective momentum to challenge injustice, oppression, and violence? Neither us nor Kak Bapir can do it alone; it is a burden that needs to be shared. We can’t comment and admire the resiliency of the oppressed if we are not ready to work to transform a reality that breeds the normalcy of resilience.

We don’t need more resilience. We need justice. 

Happy holidays!