CPTnet

CPTnet is the news service of CPT, providing daily news updates, reports, reflections, prayer requests and action alerts.

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Bridging interfaith animosity and the pain of war--International Day of Peace in Kurdistan, Iraq

Three of our team walked into the gathering of about a hundred Kurdish peace and justice activists at the Cultural Café, in Suleimani, Iraqi Kurdistan, to celebrate the International Day of Peace.  Immediately, Nyan Mohammad, a teacher at the Arbat School, waved for us to come to sit at her table.  There, four displaced Ezidis (often called Yazidis) we had met before stood up and warmly greeted us.  Nyan, who is Muslim, made a special trip to the tent camp for displaced persons this afternoon to pick up this group and bring them to this event, which focused on building peace among religious groups

Hosting this event was a Kurdish women’s organization, called the Ashti Group.  The speakers included persons from four religious groups among Iraqi Kurds— An Ezidi, a member of the Kaka’i, (a Kurdish minority religion), a Muslim, and a Christian.  They each urged us not to judge people from other religions, but to live together in tolerance and harmony.  Their message was not theoretical but spoke to a real need of a society racked with ethnic violence.

Far right: Kurdish team colleague Parween Aziz; next to her, Peggy Gish.  Second from left,
 Nyan Mohammad, plus four Ezidi friends

MEDITERRANEAN: Writings on the wall

In one of the events that I participated in on the Greek island of Lesvos, I had the chance to see many writings migrants made to hang on the walls of the welcome center in Pipka. A piece of paper on the wall may not be a detailed story but what I saw delivered their pain. Here are some written by migrants from Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Sudan and other war-torn countries:

A handmade poster by a Syrian refugee

Prayers for Peacemakers September 25, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers September 25, 2014

Pray for the refugees and migrants caught up in the Greek court system, where they do not receive even the semblance of a fair hearing.

Epixel* for Sunday, September 21, 2014
Court in Mytilene, Lesvos
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any 
sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy,  
make my joy complete: be of 
the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 
Philippians 1:1-2
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

IRAQI KURDISTAN REFLECTION: The new military intervention in Iraq—on not repeating what has not worked

 

 
 Yazidi refugees driven from their homes by ISIS

For many Americans, President Obama, with his latest plan to expand U.S. military intervention in Iraq, is finally “doing something.”  And people here in Iraqi Kurdistan are generally hopeful that this will stop the militant fighters calling themselves “the Islamic State,” or for the purposes of this article, ISIS.  I keenly feel the pain of the people here and do not want any more persons brutalized, yet I believe Obama’s plan will not diminish global terrorism; it will only expand and strengthen it.

It is helpful to remember that ISIS’s ability to capture areas of Iraq was possible because of the U.S. had destroyed its society and supported the Shia government that excluded Sunni populations, subjecting them to widespread loss of jobs, attacks, mass arrests, torture and extra-judicial killings.

While our team lived and worked in Baghdad, the U.S. and Iraqi forces bombed and destroyed whole neighborhoods and cities in the name of anti-terrorism, generating more anger toward America.  The U.S. failed to support the progressive, mostly nonviolent, uprisings, around the country, against government abuse and corruption.  Throughout the years of occupation, it was clear to us that U.S. military actions in Iraq were not really directed at protecting the Iraqi people, but for protecting American personnel and U.S. economic and military interests in Iraq and the Middle East.  Then, in early August of this year, U.S. military strikes were, once again, less for protecting religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq than protecting U.S. diplomats and the large oil companies developing oil fields in the Kurdish region.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli military locates and kills suspects in kidnappings and murders of three Israeli youth

 

 
 photo @alaaqawasmi

Early this morning, Tuesday, 23 September 2014, the Israeli military discovered the hiding place of and killed Amer Abu Aisha and Marwan Qawasmeh, the two suspects in the kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli settler youth in June.

The killing took place on the first floor of a wood factory in the Hai El Sharma neighborhood near Hebron University after a firefight.  The building has three floors:  the first is a wood factory; the second contains shops and the third is residential.  Due to the live ammunition, small bombs, and tear gas thrown into the building by the soldiers, a fire started, which burned one of the two suspects almost beyond recognition.  The blasts from the bombs, and the military tractor used to cave in the building also damaged adjoining homes and buildings.