Archive - May 2008

May 20th

Murray Lumley author of "Canadian citizens tortured in Syria tell stories…'Caravan to Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture'"

Murray Lumley was the author of "TORONTO/OTTAWA: Canadian citizens tortured in Syria tell stories during 'Caravan to Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture'.

TORONTO/OTTAWA: Canadian citizens tortured in Syria tell stories during 'Caravan to Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture'


by Murray Lumley 

When I asked Abdullah Almalki how the torture he experienced in Syria had affected him, I did not realize the emotional punch it would deliver. He told me about it during an Amnesty International lunch at the United Church in Napanee, Ontario. The event was part of the 'Caravan to Stop Canadian Involvement in Torture,' that took place 1-8 May 2008.

May 15th

TORONTO REFLECTION: JFK and the Unspeakable

I remember the terrifying photos of missile-laden Soviet ships steaming toward a U.S. naval blockade off the shores of Cuba in 1962. As U.S. President Kennedy (JFK) and Soviet Premier Khrushchev faced each other in a global game of chicken, the world held its breath and prayed for deliverance. The crisis confirmed my impression of Kennedy as a Cold Warrior who invented a nonexistent "missile gap" to justify the nuclear arms race, took us to the eve of destruction over Cuba, and sent the U.S. into the morass of the Vietnam War.

In a new book, JFK and the Unspeakable, Catholic theologian and peace activist Jim Douglass shows us a different Kennedy, born of the Cold War, but reborn and turning toward peace…

May 14th



Pray for the indigenous communities and supporters who will gather at the provincial legislature in Toronto, Canada, from May 26 to 29 to uphold their duty to protect mother earth from economic exploitation and environmental destruction.

Doug Pritchard
Christian Peacemaker Teams
Toronto, Canada

IRAQ REFLECTION: Pentecost in Kurdistan


It is Pentecost. The Team gathers for prayer and leaves its apartment to conduct a training in nonviolence and reconciliation with people from the Kurdish and surrounding governorates. They have come from Tikrit, Mosul and Kirkuk. They have lived in Baghdad and Kurdish villages. A few speak English, most Arabic, some Kurdish, and one of us, Cantonese.

How will we communicate? Will they stare, bewildered like those first Christians who heard the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in languages not their own? Will they be angry at our presumption that we might have anything to offer? Will they be captive to their own allegiances, unable or unwilling to speak against the limitations of their own governments? Will they stay silent....?

May 13th

COLOMBIA: Community Leaders leave Tiquisio in the face of death threats; those remaining vow to continue their work

On 27 April 2008, CPTers Jonathan Stucky and I attended the last mass held for (and partially conducted by) Padre Rafael Gallego, Said Antonio Echavez, and Martha Lucia Torres Sierra before death threats forced them to leave El Coco, Tiquisio. Padre Rafael has spent the last thirty years in Southern Bolivar, eight of them in Tiquisio, and had, we learned, planned to die there of old age. Said and Marta each spent three years living in and working with the local community and had hoped to continue their work there indefinitely.

May 12th

IRAQ UPDATE: 14-22 April 2008

Sunday, 20 April
CPTers Elizabeth Pyles and Chihchun Yuan traveled to Halabja to visit a local women’s center and community radio station for women and youth.

Naar-Obed spoke with the KRG liaison to the U.N. and learned that Turkey is still shelling along the Turkish/Iraqi border but villagers remain there. Villagers are affected economically and psychologically by the ongoing shelling but the recent bombings have not injured anyone. Iranian attacks against PEJAK (sister organization to PKK, an Iranian Kurdish resistance group) have displaced villagers and destroyed land and livestock. The representative supported CPT visiting villagers to do follow up stories and develop relationships so that, in the event accompaniment becomes necessary in the future, some trust will already be established.

May 10th

HEBRON: International NGOs rally to rescue Hebron orphanages

Representatives from CPT, UNICEF, UNOCHA, Defense for Children International, the YMCA, Relief International and other human rights organizations met in Hebron on 8 May 2008 to help Hebron’s orphans and students now living with the fear that the Israeli military will close their homes and schools. The representatives selected a core group of Palestinian and International NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) to halt the Israeli attack against Islamic Charitable Society (ICS) orphanages and schools. The core group will also develop programs to ease the anxiety that has been part of the children’s lives since the Israeli military stated its intent to shut down the facilities.

May 9th

AT-TUWANI UPDATE: 27 March-20 April 2008

5 April
During the morning, At-Tuwani shepherds, accompanied by CPTers and members of an Israeli peace organization, took their flocks to graze in a field across highway 317 from the entrance to the Israeli settlement of Ma’on. …

At 2:00 p.m., six settlers approached At-Tuwani from the trees that surround the settlement outpost of Havot Ma’on. Two jeep-loads of soldiers were already present at the scene, as well as Palestinians and CPTers, and many more At-Tuwani villagers soon arrived. In an effort to move the Palestinians and internationals back, the soldiers argued that the area was a closed military zone but refused to show any papers. Instead of moving out of the contested area, the village children began a game of football (soccer), and two At-Tuwani hajjis (matriarchs) sat down on the ground in front of the soldiers, while CPTers filmed. The playful resistance continued for at least half an hour, until At-Tuwani village leaders urged the women and children to move back from the soldiers. The Palestinians did so, and the army left at 3:00 p.m.

May 8th



“We are surrounded by hostile neighbors.” “ They want to destroy everything that we build.” These are two sentiments we frequently hear expressed in the Kurdish Region of northern Iraq.