COLOMBIA REFLECTION: A Christmas Vigil in El Garzal

Vigil at El Garzal

It was a Christmas perhaps more akin to that first one in Bethlehem than the ones I am used to in Canada. No fancy lights—no electricity except for a diesel generator that gets used occasionally at night. No Christmas tree, nor gifts under it. No alcohol. No turkey. And, thankfully, without the cacophony of extremely loud music around our house here in Barrancabermeja, where neighbours set up humongous competing sound systems in front of their houses to celebrate the season.

Our main reason for visiting was to accompany Garzal's twice-displaced leader and pastor, Reverend Salvador Alcántara and his family, so they could spend Christmas with family and loved ones in Garzal. Salvador and his family had to leave the area again last May because of death threats. They miss Garzal very very much! Salvador described the feeling of being back, albeit for only three days, as like being re-born.

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Twelve Peacemakers of Christmas, part 2


 levels of cuteness may vary

Completing the list of peacemakers we honour this year with six more courageous and committed peacemakers!

Part 1 here; see the CPT Facebook Page for complete profiles.

AFRICA GREAT LAKES: Doing peace in our countries

Cliff Kindy with nonviolent workshop participants in DRCIf you fled a war zone for your safety, would you voluntarily choose to return to that zone of violence? A church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) chose to do so. Self-identified as Church of the Brethren (COB) this group of eight congregations and about eight hundred members felt a call to return to their communities as bridge builders and peace makers despite the dangers. The peace churches attracted them because of the emphasis on living alternatives to war and violence. They previously held a trauma care training with the Friends in the Africa Great Lakes Region because trauma is endemic in the DRC, where six million people have been killed since the 1990s.

EUROPE: A bold new step for CPT in Europe


Alihas made the perilous journey to Europe twice. After the first time, when he was only in his teens, he was deported back to Afghanistan – where he knew nobody, since he grew up as a refugee in Iran. He resolved to come back to Europe, and this time to stand up for his human right to stay.

During the third annual European CPT Convergence in Malmö, Sweden, in May 2013, Ali, now in his mid-twenties, invited CPTers and supporters to join him in solidarity. He announced that refugees in Sweden were organizing a one-month protest march to demand fair treatment and the right to build their lives without the threat of deportation. He invited CPT to accompany the march. Although it was short notice, several reservists were able to respond to this call.

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: The Villages of Firing Zone 918 - Existence Is Resistance

The Villages of Firing Zone 918 - Existence Is Resistance


One of the Israeli military’s ways of legalizing ethnic cleansing is to designate an area a “Firing Zone” for military maneuvers. This is happening today in the South Hebron Hills. They have declared Firing Zone 918, and eight Palestinian villages—encompassing a population of 932 people, including 452 children—have been served eviction orders.

CPT received a call to attend a meeting of the South Hebron Hills Popular Resistance Committee in the village of At-Tuwani. The local leader of the committee reviewed the situation of the eviction orders and spoke of four nonviolent strategies of resistance...

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