Pictured here: Omar, aged 12, was one of two boys ambushed by Israeli border police and arrested for stone-throwing. Soldiers roughly handled them and dragged the boys to the police station, who were crying and pleading the whole way. Soldiers would not allow CPTers to take the boys names so they could notify their families. Their mothers eventually arrived, and one of them rode with the boys when they were transferred to another police station. Police released them after a couple hours, and CPTers were informed that one of them was slapped around by the Border Police.
In the first ten days of October, Israeli forces fired more than 143 teargas canisters, as Palestinian children walked to and from school, as well as five stun grenades, from two military checkpoints (approximately 0.3 miles apart) in the H2 section of Hebron. On two of those ten days, Israeli forces also fired rubber-coated steel bullets into a crowd of children (one killed 13 year-old Ahmad Sharaka near Ramallah this week). Two Palestinian children in this area were hospitalised as a result of excessive teargas inhalation on their walk to school on 12.10.15.
In the past week, Israeli forces ambushed and arrested two boys aged 11 and 12 after school on 13.10.15 (see video and full account here). Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, states that child arrest is in clear violation of human rights law.
The presence of school children does nothing to deter the Israeli military from this relentless use of teargas, stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets, detention and arrest. They are entirely preoccupied with a collection of those children, occupied, harassed and humiliated their entire lives, throwing stones at the heavily armed grown men occupying checkpoints and rooftops.
â€śWhile youâ€™re shopping, bombs are dropping.â€ť
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 â€śwhile youâ€™re shopping,
bombs are droppingâ€ť and â€śbombing hospitals is a war crime,â€ť 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, â€śUSA,â€ť 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,
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.
Pray that civil war will not break out in Iraqi Kurdistan. The government has not paid civil servantsâ€™ salaries for three months. Demonstrations across the region have left five dead, and dozens injured, and dozens detained by the secret police. The ruling KDP party has forced the Gorran (Change) party to leave the government and the capital. The majority of those who demand changes to the current situation do not condone violence. They call for the changes to come through non-violent means. Pray that those voices and actions prevail.
Pictured here: An image from clashes at the major checkpoint separating Shuhada St. from the downtown area of Hebron. Daily clashes have continued week throughout Palestine, including Hebron, as physical violence has escalated.
Pray that the nation of Canada will repent of its cruelty,
and stop denying 169 First Nations communities access to clean drinking water.
*Epixel for Sunday, October 10, 2015
5:7 Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood, and bring righteousness to the ground!
5:10 They hate the one who reproves in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks the truth.
5:11 Therefore because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not live in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine.
5:12 For I know how many are your transgressions, and how great are your sins-- you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy in the gate.
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.
A Las Pavas farmer looks for his name on the roster.Community members rotate turnsin guarding the communal house which has been attacked multiple times over the last few years.
We rarely get opportunities to update you about positive
developments. These last two weeks though, have brought the kind of news that
inspires us. News that promises that one day peace may arrive in Colombia,
that just maybe, justice will be done, and mercy shown. Apart from political or judicial developments
that once in a while turn in favor of the communities we accompanyâ€”that allow
us to celebrateâ€” we listen to stories of children, women and men to who despite
life threatening risk, chose dignity; these are the people, the stories, and
acts of courage that give us hope.
Earlier this week, the Constitutional court amended the Agrarian Law propelling
forward about two hundred land cases around the country. Las Pavas, a farming
community that we accompany, will benefit greatly by this decision
granting them access to return to their land. Today, out of more than a hundred
and fifteen families only twenty-four live on the farm, the rest live in a
state of continual displacement. Up to this day since their return in 2011,
after three displacementsâ€”once in 1996 by Emilio Escobar, uncle of the infamous
drug lord Pablo Escobar, the second time by the AUC (Self-Defence Forces of
Colombia), a highly organized and brutal paramilitary group, and in 2009 by a
corrupt local Police inspector, whose eviction order the Constitutional court
overturnedâ€” the community continues to suffer attacks to their person and
property by armed guards or thugs hired by the palm oil company, Aportes San
Isidro. Read about the courtâ€™s ruling to understand why this is so significant
in their process, and why we celebrate. We'll take every small
bit. Read here >>
Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia shakes hands with Rodrigo LondoĂ±o Echeverri, or more popularly known as Timochenko, the Supreme Commander of the FARC-EP as Raul Castro, President of Cuba, the brother of Fidel Castro encourages them. Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images
On 24 September, the
image above dominated the news all around Latin America, you might have even
seen it on your local media outlet. The day before, in Havana, Cuba, the
Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombiaâ€”People's
Army (FARC-EP) agreed to the last of the six agenda items, concerning
Transitional Justice after three years of negotiations. Both parties have
committed to signing the final agreement and implementing the accord within six
months. This will bring an end to one dimension of fifty years of armed
struggle. Here are some articles that further explain the agreement.
The day after Hadil was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers, the Hebron community marches to her funeral in public lamentation.
Hadil: Palestinian teenager fatally shot in Hebron
Hadil (18) was shot dead by Israeli forces at Shuhada checkpoint in occupied Hebron on 22 September. Hadil was a member of a Palestinian family from the H1 region of Hebron, and was in her first year as a student at Hebron University. It was as she was passing through one of the many checkpoints of occupation in H2 Hebron - checkpoints that divide one Palestinian neighborhood from another - that Hadil was so brutally killed.
Yesterday, the Colombian
Constitutional court removed two significant articles from the Agrarian Law. Large
landowners who have acquired land through illegal means have been using these
articles to prevent the Colombian state from recovering these lands. From now
on, the courts cannot suspend the rulings of INCODERâ€”the Colombian institute
that regulates land titlingâ€”in the event of an appeal for revision.
An Aportes San Isidro palm oil worker tends to recently planted palm trees that surround young yucca and plantain trees.
Two years ago, INCODER ruled that the disputed
territory of Las Pavas belonged to the state, through a process of imminent
domain. (The Las Pavas community had been working the land for more than thirty
years.) Aportes San Isidro, the palm oil company, appealed this ruling before
the Consejo del Estado, the highest administrative court, where the revision of
this ruling remains stuck to this day and the implementation of INCODERâ€™s
Pictured here: Two Palestinian girls smile and make a heart as Palestinians pass through Israeli checkpoints to reach Ibrahimi mosque for Friday prayers. There is so much hatred here in occupied Hebron, but love is also ever present. As Leonard Cohen says "there's a crack in every thing, that's how light gets in".