Archive

April 16th, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers April 16, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers April 16, 2014

Give thanks that Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources has decided not to issue logging permits on Grassy Narrows (Asubpeeschoseewagong) traditional lands this year, and that the EACOM and Weyerhaeuser corporations have decided not to purchase lumber from Grassy Narrows' traditional lands.  Pray that justice will be done next month when the case goes to Canada’s highest court in Ottawa that will focus on whether Ontario has the right to issue permits on traditional lands, which First Nations believe are protected by a treaty agreements.

April 15th

GREECE: The priest and the fisherman—a report from the CPT-Europe's Borderlands delegation

On Thursday morning our boat arrived on the island of Lesbos, where one can see can Turkey on the other side of the straits.




Papa Stratis

We drove up to the village of Kalloni (central Lesbos) to meet with Father Stratis, a Greek Orthodox priest who has been helping refugees for ten years and his assistant, George.  They arrive in the village soaking wet and exhausted, often having walked many hours.  Greek citizens face jail time if they pick up the migrants (similar to U.S. citizens at the border with Mexico).  If they know their way, it is a ten-hour walk from the beach to Kalloni.  If they do not know the way, it may take days.  George told us the water and the walking usually destroys their shoes.  The balcony of Father Stratis’s church is filled with donations of clothes that he and three volunteers sort and process for handing out.

While they have sufficient resources right now for their ministry, their biggest struggle is with morale.  The townspeople often complain that people involved with their ministry are helping refugees when they should be focused on helping Greeks who have been hurt by the economic crisis.  The fascist Golden Dawn movement, while not strong on Lesbos generally, is toxically eating away at the minds of young people, making racism appear acceptable.  George told us some of the young people see the Golden Dawn violence against refugees as cool, like the violence of Hollywood movies.

We were deeply touched by the witness of Father Stratis and George.

Friday afternoon, we visited the memorial place in Thermi with some members of the “Welcome to Europe” Network.  Several migrants lost their lives on the sea just trying to reach the nearest European border they could see from Turkey.  Twenty-one Afghan migrants sank close by just a few days before Christmas of 2013.

April 14th

COLOMBIA: The People’s Land Summit, March’s March, and an Ultimatum

 

CAHUCOPANA, a grass-roots campesino organization that formed to defend the land and human rights of the campesinos in north-east Antioquia, has learnt that sometimes you have to leave your home to defend it. CAHUCOPANA asked CPT’s Colombia team to accompany dozens of buses from the department of Antioquia to join about thirty thousand demonstrators in a march in Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, on 17 March 2014.

The march was planned to conclude and compliment the People’s Land Summit, also held in Bogotá.  The Summit itself, in which CAHUCOPANA also participated, was in response to the national government’s failure to live up to the commitments it had made as part of negotiations to end a nation-wide general strike in August of 2013. After having first met with and consulting their constituencies, leaders of various social movements and organizations got together for a Summit in Bogotá to decide how they could collectively best organize an appropriate response.

Participants included indigenous, Afro-descendant, campesino, artisanal miner federations, students, and others.  Although the government did consult with agro-industry and other huge stakeholders, it failed to honour its commitment to consult with or address the concerns of those who organized and took part in last year’s general strike. The Summit, therefore, came up with its own criteria and blueprint for an inclusive Colombian agrarian policy.  After the Summit, they presented the government with that blueprint and an ultimatum: comply with our demands by the first week of May, or face the consequences of another paralysing nation-wide civil strike.

April 10th

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 10, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 10, 2014

Pray for the safety of Sor MarĂ­a Sampayo, a leader of the OrganizaciĂłn Femenina Popular (OFP) in Colombia, who received a threatening phone call this week from someone who identified himself as Alirio Torresa, commander of the neo-paramilitary group Los Urabeños.  The members of the OFP are long-time partners of CPT’s Colombia team.


Epixel* for 10 April 2014



Save us, we beseech you, O LORD! O LORD, we
beseech you, give us success! Psalm 118:25

*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing
with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary
readings.

April 9th

AT-TUWANI: Military escort misconduct exposes Palestinian children to risk on their way to and from school

 




Photo of March 2010 school escort. Soldiers in
jeep.

On 9 April 2014, settlers from the Havat Ma’on outpost attacked children from the Palestinian villages of Tuba and Maghayir Al Abeed.  The children were walking to school, accompanied by the Israeli military escort that has the duty to protect them every day on their way to and from school, as established in 2004 by the Israeli Knesset Committee on the Rights of the Child.  During the 2013-2014 school year, the misconduct of this military escort has exposed the children to danger on numerous occasions.

In order to reach the school in the village of at-Tuwani, the Palestinian children from Tuba and Maghayir Al Abeed, who are between the ages of six and seventeen usually walk through the shortest route that passes between the Israeli settlement of Ma’on and the outpost of Havat Ma’on (Hill 833).  This route is the main road linking their villages and At Tuwani and takes about twenty minutes to complete.

On the morning of 9 April at 7:40 a.m., two Israeli children coming from Havat Ma’on attacked the Palestinian children by launching stones at them with slingshots, injuring a twelve-year-old girl and fourteen-year-old girl on their legs.  At the moment of the attack, the Israeli soldiers were not walking with the children as they are supposed to, but were inside the military vehicle, following behind the group of children.

April 8th

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Send applications before 1 May 2014 to join the Christian Peacemaker Corps summer 2014 training

 
 CPT Trainees advocate for farmers of Las
Pavas, Colombia
at Colombian Consulate in
Chicago

Did you participate in a recent Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) delegation that whetted your appetite for embodied peace work, partnering with others working nonviolently for justice, and confronting the injustice that leads to war? Does CPT's style of peacemaking, confronting injustice, and undoing oppressions work fit with yours? Is now the time to take the next step and join the Peacemaker Corps?

If so, please send your application to join the CPT Corps before 1 May 2014 for participation in CPT's Peacemaker Training in Chicago, IL, USA, 11 July-11 August 2014. Participants are encouraged to apply right away. Doing so will make it possible to notify those accepted for training in plenty of time for them to make travel arrangements. You will find the application at http://www.cpt.org/participate/peacemaker/apply.

We are committed to anti-oppression work both in and out of CPT, and we seek others also interested in this work. We are seeking applicants available for stipend-eligible service, as well as reservists.  For answers to more specific questions, email Adriana Cabrera-Velásquez, Personnel Coordinator, at personnel@cpt.org.

April 4th

COLOMBIA URGENT ACTION: U.S. and Canadian citizens, ask President Santos to protect member of OrganizaciĂłn Femenina Popular who has received death threats.


On 3 April 2014 at 10:30 a.m., Sor María Sampayo, a leader of the Organización Femenina Popular (OFP) received a threatening phone call from someone who identified himself as Alirio Torresa, commander of the neo-paramilitary group Los Urabeños.

He began the call by saying, “You should donate three million pesos [US $1500] to the paramilitary group to mobilize thirty men from Medellin to carry out a social-cleansing plan to eliminate drug addicts, prostitutes, and everything that smells like a guerrilla.” He described to Sor Maria her whereabouts, where she and her daughter worked, and the color of the motorcycle she drove.

When she asked him whether he was demanding a vacuna—paramilitary protection money—he responded, “No, it’s a donation, and you have 120 days to pay.” If she did not donate, he said he would “shoot her, because he knew where she lived.”

Minutes later, he called back demanding to know why she hung up.  This time, Yolanda Barreca, the director of the OFP had answered phone. She told him that threats against Sor MarĂ­a Sampayo are threats against the OFP, to which he responded, “I know who you are; you bastards are going to die too, you can be sure of that.”

COLOMBIA: Social Processes that Transform Reality—the songs of Garzal, Nueva Esperanza, Guayabo, and Las Pavas

“Where does peacebuilding take place?  Where does the transformation of our reality start?  What are some of the tools that we should use to achieve peace?  Where is peace born?  The actual peace process has caused all of the sectors of society to mobilize in favor of an accord that will finalize the conflict, but has also evoked different feelings in these diverse sectors of society about what it means to sign a peace accord with the guerrillas.…

In the communities of Garzal, Nueva Esperanaza, Guayabo, and Las Pavas are some of the processes being built in our country, processes that remain hopeful although distant from the important government decisions.  These communities live their lives between songs, sermons, tears, and concerns, hoping that truth will prevail even lies appear so powerful.  Their songs express the truth of what conflict looks like in our country and describe how the consequences of poor decisions always fall on them.

Song “Mi Acordeón” – Music from the communities of Garzal and Nueva Esperanza.
For more songs from the Colombian agricultural communities Christian Peacemaker Teams accompanies, click here.

April 3rd

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 3, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 3, 2014

Give thanks for the successful conclusion of the training in Iraqi Kurdistan.  It  was an important step in changing how training is done in CPT.  In addition to local participants from Iraqi Kurdistan, trainees, and trainers from Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden, Colombia, and Canada.

See IRAQI KURDISTAN: Participants in Iraqi Kurdistan training reflect on their five weeks

See video participants put together about their training experiences.

April 2nd

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Participants in Iraqi Kurdistan training reflect on their five weeks

We knew that the first training in Iraqi Kurdistan would be special not only because of the setting but also because we were training local partners to become official members of the organization.  In addition, we had trainees and trainers from Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden, Colombia, and Canada, which created a multicultural atmosphere for the five weeks from 22 February to 29 March 2014 we were together.

The trainees helped to create a video portraying their experiences https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AH7sF4kx5u0
This training was an important step in changing how training is done in CPT. Training and including local peacemakers is a crucial part of our work - please, consider supporting this training and future local trainings by making a donation!