CPT International

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY REFLECTION: Who is your king? Romans 13:1-7 and resisting the TPP

 

Photo courtesy CPT-Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Team. November 2015. CPTers Carrie Peters and Charles Wright were part of a CPT presence that accompanied 
and supported Haudenosaunee hunters who conducted a deer harvest in the land now known as Short Hills provincial park, in the face of protest and harassment. 
The team joined a local coalition to support the hunters and honor the treaties.

In November 2011, President Obama with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon began a publicity campaign describing how the United States would “pivot” towards Asia. With the pivot emerged a secretly negotiated trade pact, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”). 

Although called a “free trade” agreement, the TPP is not solely about trade. Of the 29 draft chapters, only five deal with garden variety trade issues. The TPP is actually a grave threat to the planet because it undermines climate change measures and authorizes de-regulation of mining, land use, and biotechnology.  Alarmingly, the TPP intellectual property chapter also provides international legal protections for corporate patents on plant and animal life, granting companies ownership and sole access to all of creation. 

While most of the U.S. coverage about the TPP analyzes overall implications for ‘every day working Americans,’ with a dash of environmental vignettes, another significant aspect needs to be addressed and highlighted: TPP’s detrimental impact on First Peoples and indigenous communities located within each nation state, its continuation of the European history of conquest and exploitation. 

CPT INTERNATIONAL POEM: Advent's Eve, 2005

 
On that last day of ordinary time

Norman, Harmeet, Jim and Tom walk across a parking lot

in Baghdad and get into a van.

Years later, Jim can’t remember “those last, unremarkable motions.”

 

            The next morning (the first Sunday of Advent)

            The BBC called me at noon.

            The voice at the other end of the line was chasing rumors:

            We heard that four members of Christian Peacemaker Teams were kidnapped.

            What do you know?

 

                        What if Christians took the same risks for peace...

Prayers for Peacemakers, November 4, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, November 4, 2015 

Give thanks for the ten new Peacemakers who have successfully completed the 2015 Christian Peacemaker Teams training.  Pray that the Creator will work within them to give them the strength and courage they will need to do the difficult and rewarding work of peacebuilding with our partners in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine and Indigenous communities.




CPT trainees demand independent investigation into Afghan hospital bombing

“The U.S. cannot investigate itself.”

“While you’re shopping, bombs are dropping.”

These were some the core messages Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) conveyed through signs and chants on 9 October 2015 when it marched through the streets of Chicago, demanding an independent investigation into the hospital bombing in Kunduz, Afghanistan by the United States armed forces. On 3 October, the U.S. military carried out a bombing raid on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, resulting in twenty-two deaths, including ten hospital staff and twelve patients.  Doctors Without Borders is requesting an independent investigation into the bombing from the International Humanitarian Fact-finding Commission (IHFFC).

Members of CPT gathered on Friday outside of the British Consulate in downtown Chicago dressed in blood-spattered hospital attire and carrying a black coffin to symbolize the deaths at the hospital in Kunduz.   Alicia R from London delivered a letter to the British Consulate urging the British government to request an investigation by the IHFFC.  Only a member country can request such an investigation.

As the march started, chants of “while you’re shopping, bombs are dropping” and “bombing hospitals is a war crime,” echoed through the streets.  At several intersections, members of the group dramatized the bombing by falling in the middle of the street as another marcher hit them with a sign shaped as a bomb that had the letters, “USA,” on it.

The procession stopped at the Canadian Consulate where two Canadian citizen trainees had a meeting to urge the Canadian government to also request an investigation by the IHFFC. During the meeting, other members held vigil outside. They sang and handed out information about the bombing to passers-by.

The march concluded at the US Federal Building where Kody Hersh from Philadelphia, PA and Douglas Johnson Hatlem from Chicago, IL knelt in front of the main doors preventing access as they prayed. Federal security locked the doors and rerouted pedestrian traffic, while CPT members and other supporters held a prayer vigil in memory of the innocent lives lost in Kunduz, Afghanistan. 

As of Sunday 11 October, no member country has yet requested an investigation from the IHFFC and Doctors Without Borders continues to speak out against the hospital bombing.


.http://www.msf.org/article/msf-kunduz-attack-ihffc-awaits-us-afghanistan-consent-proceed-independent-investigation

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Christian Peacemaker Teams, movement building and the Detroit Peacemaker Congress

Sarah Thompson
CPT Executive Director

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) began with these questions: 

What if pacifist Christians trained as hard for peace as militaries (including militant Christians) trained for war?  What if pacifist Christians (such as the Mennonites, Brethren, and Quakers) were willing to sacrifice as much for peace as a soldier is willing to sacrifice for war?  What could happen? 

Christian Peacemaker Teams is part of the answer to that question. Having begun in 1986, in the crucible of Latin American solidarity movements, CPT has continued to thrive within various social movements as a creative, faith-inspired organization committed to undoing oppressions and to strategic peacemaking interventions in situations of violent conflict.  Joining with you all—people who belong to social movements, have risked a lot, sacrificed much, and experimented with healthier ways of sharing this planet—enlivens our work.  It is one reason we hold a Peacemaker Congress every other year—this year it will take place in Detroit—so that our workers in the field can engage with you, our supporters. and new people interested in movement building. 

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Christian Peacemaker Teams seeking new Personnel Coordinator and Palestine Project Support Coordinator

Christian Peacemaker Teams is currently inviting people to apply for the positions of Personnel Coordinator and Palestine Project Support Coordinator. 

Personnel Coordinator

Starting date: December 1, 2015, with likely participation in CPT’s peacemaker training in October 2015.

Position:  100% Full-time equivalent, two-year term, with a possibility of a third year.

More details here

Support Coordinator for Palestine Project based in Al-Khalil/Hebron

Starting date: September 1, 2015

Position: 50% full-time equivalent, three year renewable contract

More details here

NIGERIA: Boko Haram trauma survivors discover ways to heal each other


“When I came home after escaping the attack, our home had been bombed, and everything was destroyed,” one woman said.

“I was away when Boko Haram attacked my village,” a man voiced with regret.  ”I still feel horrible that my wife had to face it and flee alone.”

“Everyone else in my village fled when Boko Haram came. I was the only one who stayed, and miraculously, I was not found and killed,” a third said, expressing his gratitude.

“I ran home when our church was attacked,” another shared. “My husband was at home and was able to go in the car to the next village. When he called me, I told him to go ahead and escape. He answered, ‘I will wait for you to find me. We will stay together, and if we die, we will die together.’”

NIGERIA: “We Grieve for the Girls and their Families”


Today is the one-year anniversary of the abduction of 360 women and girls from their boarding school in Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria, 14 April 2014, by the militant group called Boko Haram. Of the 360, 172 were from EYN (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Soon after the kidnapping, fifty of them escaped, of which twenty-nine were from the EYN. Then in late December 2014, Boko Haram raided Chibok again and kidnapped some older women and a young man.

These abductions were not isolated incidents of violence for the mostly Christian town of Chibok. As early as November 2012 and as late as December 2014, Boko Haram fighters carried out periodic attacks there, including burning police headquarters, homes, EYN congregations, and killing church members.

Some of those twenty-nine who had escaped the April 2014 kidnapping, are still living in Chibok, and with the assistance of the Interfaith Adamawa Peace Initiative, were able to prepare for and take their examinations interrupted by the kidnapping. Some have been sponsored to go to the U.S. for schooling. In spite of the outcry of horror from people here and around the world concerning the kidnappings and the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign, the whereabouts of the majority of those abducted remain unknown. 

CPT INTERNATIONAL: On Tour with Uncle Sam in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand

 

 
 CPT Executive Director Sarah Thompson 
speaking in Australia

Different countries do taxes in different ways.  All of February and March I was in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand.  The taxes are high there, but these countries are famous for their affordable medicine, free university education, and egalitarian policies among settlers (compulsory voting, mandatory school uniforms).  I’ve heard people in the U.S. make fun of places with social programs like these, but in those months I witnessed the immensely positive impact of social policy that puts the common good of all over the private power of a few.

DonateNow

Consider the impact of your dollars this tax season and make contribution to CPT. How about $29? $1 for every year since CPT's founding.

However, the gap between what is realistically available for settlers of European origin countries in comparison to what is available to recent non-European immigrants and Aboriginal Australians and the Maori of Aotearoa is huge.  The brutal Euro-colonial histories, ongoing dispossessions, and overall disregard for cultural devastation wrought by industrial society to the indigenous of these lands are stories that loom large in the sub-conscious of these nations.  The best work I saw going on in these countries was grassroots, conducted by people deeply aware of the open wounds of racism, Christian hegemony, and extractive economics. Activists involved with mobilizations to support refugees, challenge ecological destruction, and celebrate all families are aware of the paradoxes inherent in these societies.

CPT INTERNATIONAL REFLECTION: Treasure in Ferguson, Colombia, Palestine, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Turtle Island

Since a St. Louis, Missouri prosecutor and Grand Jury have determined that Police Officer Darren Wilson killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown did not merit a trial, I have been busy tweeting #Ferguson on the Christian Peacemaker Team Twitter account.  Those tweets have been getting a lot of retweets.  We have no people working in Ferguson and I have asked myself why I am inundating the account. 

I think it has to do with the disposability of human life, with the contempt shown to Michael Brown when the authorities left his body in the street for four and a half hours and did not bother interviewing key witnesses to the shooting for weeks (until there was a public outcry.)  That contempt connected directly with our work in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine, with indigenous communities in North America, and with migrants in Europe.  In all these cases, people in power have deemed the people we work with disposable.