Archive

January 11th

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.

January 8th

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Twelve Peacemakers of Christmas, part 2

 

 9Muneco
 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.
#WeAreGrateful

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.

January 6th

EUROPE: A bold new step for CPT in Europe

in:

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.

January 4th

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...

January 3rd

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli Border Police start fire, destroy family’s home with tear gas grenade

On 26 December 2013, while CPTers were doing their routine monitoring of the school patrol at the Qitoun checkpoint, schoolboys threw several volleys of stones at the checkpoint for about a minute.  Border police responded by throwing a sound bomb and then firing a teargas grenade.

January 1st

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Twelve Peacemakers of Christmas, part 1

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Once more we are honouring a specific CPTer for their peacemaking work on each of the twelve days of Christmas. #WeAreGrateful

December 17th, 2013

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Sarah Thompson appointed CPT Executive Director

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Sarah Thompson appointed CPT Executive Director
17 December 2013

Christian Peacemaker Teams is pleased to announce the appointment of Sarah Thompson to the position of CPT Executive Director, starting in January 2014.

Thompson brings a wide range of experiences to the position. Through her work in the international peace movement as a public-speaker and community organizer, she is adept at bringing people together across lines of difference and building momentum for positive social change. Her Christian church involvements include six years of volunteer work as the North American representative to Mennonite World Conference's Youth and Young Adult Executive Committee and Global Youth Summit planning group, as well as service with Mennonite Central Committee in Jerusalem, Washington, D.C. Advocacy office, and in her hometown of Elkhart, Indiana, United States.

Thompson has traveled across various continents through activist and volunteer work with feminist anti-war movements, Spanish translation opportunities, the Fulbright Scholarship, and Spelman College (graduated summa cum laude in 2006 with a Comparative Women's Studies & International Studies double major, and a minor in Spanish).

A 2011 Masters of Divinity graduate of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Thompson writes, “I am thrilled and humbled to participate with CPT in this capacity. I feel called to the spiritual practice of building partnerships that transform violence and oppression. I am grateful to all who have gone before me to make this organization a place where I can use my gifts, bring my questions, encounter challenges, and rely on support from allies and colleagues.”

Thompson recalls, “I first learned about CPT's edgy peacemaking programs and analysis of structural oppression when I was in Peace Club at Bethany Christian High School in Goshen, Indiana (1999-2002). After attending the CPT Peacemaker Congress my sophomore year, I knew that CPT would be a part of my future.  I was thinking more along the lines of when I retired, but was delighted to have been invited to participate sooner.”

Outgoing Director Carol Rose says, “This is going to be great! We are beginning a really exciting period in CPT’s history.  I am confident to hand over leadership to Sarah who is creative, capable, and caring. Her activism grounded in deep faith, coupled with her brilliant thinking, brings a dynamism that will help keep CPT moving with joy and partnering powerfully.”

Thompson served as a member of CPT’s Steering Committee (2010-2012) and has worked for the past year as CPT’s Outreach Coordinator. “I am very grateful for these opportunities,” she says. “Like my previous work with grassroots, political, and social-justice organization, working through CPT has been a deeply formative and positive experience for me.” The focus of the Executive Director role will be on strategic directions for organizational development, undoing oppressions, and fund- and friend-raising.

To introduce yourself to Sarah, and/or to schedule her for a speaking engagement or fundraising event for CPT, please contact her at director@cpt.org. In light of this good news, please share this announcement widely, and click here to make a gift in support of Sarah as she begins as Executive Director.

December 14th

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: SWN makes hasty retreat from Signigtog region of New Brunswick

In an apparent about face, the U.S.-based oil and gas company, Southwestern Energy Resources Canada (“SWN”) has suspended its seismic testing operations in New Brunswick, announcing it will return in 2015.  The company issued its brief public statement late Friday afternoon, 6 December.

Previously, the company’s stated intention was to finish the exploration phase of its contract with the provincial government, despite ongoing opposition by Mi’kmaq, Acadian, and Anglophone protectors of the land.  CPT can confirm that SWN did not finish testing nor gather all necessary data regarding gas deposits in Kent County.

Protectors had maintained an encampment close to Highway 11 in Kent County and were not deterred by consistent heavy RCMP presence accompanying SWN nor the multiple arrests of protestors made in the last month.  (CPT partner and Elsipogtog resident Lorraine Clair was one of those arrested.  See interview.)

After a judge refused to extend the gas company’s initial injunction against protectors on 21 October, SWN filed another injunction on 22 November, which a second judge did grant.  Similar in content to the first injunction, it prohibited protectors from coming within a certain distance of SWN equipment, and/or impeding SWN’s work.

New Brunswick also officially joined the injunction in support of SWN.  New Brunswick Premier David Alward has called the protectors’ opposition a “beachhead” and refuses to engage in dialogue with those who oppose shale gas exploration.

December 13th

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Hajji Hussein is free! Thank you for your e-mails

 




Hussein sits with boy on lap

After seventy-nine days in prison and four court hearings, Hajji Hussein has finally re-united with his family.  On 9 December 2013, the Criminal Court of Appeal acquitted Hajji Hussein of all charges brought up against him by the former Director-General of the Asaish, Hakim Nadir.  The court acknowledged that a report, which the members of the Human Rights Committee of the Kurdistan Parliament compiled following a visit with Hajji Hussein in prison after he was tortured, was sufficient to prove his innocence.  This release marks the second time the court has acquitted Hussein of the same charges and the second time it has liberated him from incarceration.  Together with the first stint he served in prison, he lost over ten months of his life, and much more, for refusing to give false testimony even though his inquisitors beat and threatened him.

Members of CPT’s Iraqi Kurdistan team are deeply moved by the efforts of Kak Umer, Hussein’s brother and lawyer, whose tireless work has truly moved mountains, and rejoice with the family.  The team would like to thank everyone who sent out emails, prayed, shared this story, or performed other actions in support of Hajji Hussein's release.