August 18th, 2015

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A Week in Photos 3-9 August 2015




Pictured here: Nothing builds trust like three riding on a bicycle.

August 17th

MEDITERRANEAN: A call for emergency ferry transportation and better basic humanitarian assistance

We urge the EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos to organise immediately emergency funding from European Union sources to help process and care for the hundreds of migrants and refugees who are arriving on the Aegean Islands each day.

This care would include 

Refugees queuing in front of a travel agency at 11 P.M.

1) A dedicated ferry to take only refugees & migrants from Mytilini to Athens not later than 17th August 2015. 

2) Improved co-ordination and provision of good quality tents, blankets, food and  drinking water within the grounds of the Moria reception centre, the Mytilini port area and the locally initiated Kara Tepe camp. 

Additional informational

On 13th August 2014, Christian Peacemaker Teams met and discussed with Mr. Spiros Galinos, the Major of Lesvos Island about the inadequate conditions of the registration and reception centre conditions and the difficulties of migrants and refugees wanting to leave the island. 

Knowing that the situation around the public holiday on the 15th August, would be difficult, the mayor requested 2 weeks ago that an additional ferry be made available. As of 12 noon on the 13 August 2015 he informed us he had still not received a positive response to his request. 

August 13th

GREECE REFLECTION: Things can only get better

An Afghan man approaches me, asking politely if I am a doctor, and wants me to come and look at his daughter who has a stomach flu with fever for the fourth day. I explain to him that I am not a doctor, yet I try to remember whatever I know about stomach flu self help instructions: plenty of water, bananas, orange juice with bits…

Moving on some meters, another parent stops me, posing the same question, and I repeat the same answer. And then another one. And more. Moving another fives meters, a man approaches me and wants me to look at his daughter’s hands. It is an impetigo that has spread across both hands. It needs urgent antibiotic treatment. She is unable to move her fingers properly but she still gives me the most beautiful smile. Children…

We are in Kara Tepe, a camping area on the island of Lesvos where thousands of refugees wait for their documents to be processed so that they can continue their journey to Athens, and from there to continue their asylum process in other European countries.

There is no doctor in the camp, although thankfully we know that the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) will start operating here in the coming days. The municipality of Lesvos opened Kara Tepe in spring 2015 as a temporary holding place for about 1,000 persons – on the worst days there are over 3,500 persons.

With all the mess around her in the Kara Tepe refugee camping area she sits on a cardboard enjoying her
 potato chips.

August 12th

Prayers for Peacemakers, August 12, 2015 Palestine.

Prayers for Peacemakers, August 12, 2015     Palestine.

Pray for all the Palestinians who live in and around the Abu Rajeb house in Hebron and the children and teachers who must pass it to attend school in the neighborhood.  If settlers succeed in taking over the house, Palestinian children and adults will be at significantly increased risk of soldier and settler attack.

  *Epixel for Sunday, August 16, 2015 
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. Psalm 39:14
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

August 11th

AL KHALIL (HEBRON): A Week in Photos 28 July-3 August 2015


Being a Parent

Pictured here: A Palestinian father waits outside the Israeli military base of Beit Romano (also the entrance of the Old City of Hebron) to find out any information about his detained son. This is one of the prices that Palestinian parents must pay while living in the H2 area. 

August 10th

COLOMBIA: Campesino lives matter too—racism in U.S. aerial coca fumigation policy


I’ve claimed to be an organic gardener since I originally started planting vegetables in SE Ohio in the early 1970s. At the same time, I confess to having used Roundup and a few other herbicides to deal with poison ivy and a few other invasive species that were frustrating me. I apply it as sparingly and specifically as possible, never when windy or wet.

Here in Colombia this spring when we were sitting in a restaurant watching the mid­day news on the TV I was stunned to see video of US planes flown by US contractors aerial spraying US­ supplied glyphosate on suspected coca farms (the plant used to make cocaine). Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup. Everything I knew about applying this chemical said aerial spraying had to be a bad idea.

The practice is making the news because in March the World Health Organization’s research arm issued its finding that Glyphosate probably causes cancer. 1) Then on 9 May President Santos called for a ban on all aerial coca fumigation. It has been a controversial program with opponents likening it to Agent Orange use during the Viet Nam War. Residents in the areas of spraying report the loss of food crops, and various illnesses have been linked to the practice. The cancer link has moved Colombia’s Health Ministry to support the ban.

August 5th

IRAQI KURDISTAN: CPT denounces escalation of violence in Turkish-PKK conflict

We, Christian Peacemaker Teams Iraqi Kurdistan, denounce the violence that has been resumed by both sides, Turkey and PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party).

Since 20 July 2015, the killings “in retaliation” are turning more and more into a war of retaliation, which is causing deaths of innocent people. Instead of resolving the conflict, the attacks from both sides are escalating the situation. The history of the conflict between Turks and Kurds goes too deep and is too complex to be settled by weapons and blood. This is the reason why we request both sides, Turkey and PKK, to take a step back, grieve for their losses, and return to diplomatic ways to resume the peace talks.

In striving for a solution, coming back to the table can be the only way. Peace is victory, not war!

Kurdish villagers  in Zharawa camp displaced by Turkish bombing in 2012

August 4th

Prayers for Peacemakers August 4, 2015 Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

Prayers for Peacemakers August 4, 2015   Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

Pray for the safety of the Anishinaabe Water Walkers who are hiking this week from Eagle Lake to Shoal Lake in Treaty #3 territory to call attention to the danger the TransCanada Energy East Pipeline poses to water systems in the region.

photo: Rae Louise Breaux

August 3rd

GREECE REFLECTION: Each refugee is an individual

Too often, people speak about refugees as a unified, undifferentiated group.  CPT places great emphasis on undoing oppressions, an important part of which is recognising and addressing white privilege.  One aspect of white privilege is that people who are white are seen as individuals, while people who are not white are seen as representative of their race, or grouping.

While here, I have spoken to as many refugees as I can, and listened to their individual stories. Here are just a few of them.

 Achmed (not his real name), a 28-year-old teacher from Damascus, was arrested by the Syrian authorities and spent two months in jail, accused of procuring wives for fighters. While in prison he was tortured with beatings and with electricity. When we met him in Kara Tepe he showed us the marks. The torturers broke some of his bones and he has residual pain in his neck and shoulders. Yet he is looking forward to a better life in Germany. His wife is pregnant with twins, their first children, and will follow him once the babies are fit to travel. He thanked us warmly for our congratulations.

August 1st

IRAQI KURDISTAN: July Update 2015

Violence of 2003 Laying the Foundation for Current Crisis

CPT Iraqi Kurdistan recently discovered in our files a report by CPT Iraq in January 2004. It is titled, Report and Recommendations on Iraqi Detainees .

“Between May 31 and December 20, 2003, CPT Iraq conducted dozens of interviews of Iraqi detainees and/or their families and support networks. This report summarizes the findings from seventy-two cases… CPT is particularly concerned that any mistreatment of the Iraqi people could lead to long-term problems including:           
   1. Increasing numbers of Iraqi people joining resistance groups. 2. Increasing danger of attacks against Coalition soldiers. 3. A growing record of human rights violations against the Iraqi people….
 Our conclusion is straightforward: the military actions designed to ensure short-term security are in fact compromising long-term security interests of Iraqis and all internationals…. Developing a process for handling detainee issues that is transparent, efficient, and that upholds basic legal rights is essential for establishing a secure and democratic society…. The (US-led) Coalition Provisional Authority could model the sort of justice system most desirable for a future free, democratic Iraq.”

Now have a look at The Guardian;  ISIS: the inside story—Martin Chulov; 11 December 2014
"There was a huge amount of collective pressure exerted on detainees to become more radical in their beliefs. Obviously, this was supported by the fact that the detainees were being held against their will in a facility with minimal communication with their family and friends. This led to detainees turning to each other for support. If there were radical elements within this support network, there was always the potential that detainees would become more radical in their beliefs.
According to Hisham al-Hashimi, the Baghdad-based analyst, the Iraqi government estimates that 17 of the 25 most important Islamic State leaders running the war in Iraq and Syria spent time in US prisons between 2004 and 2011."