Archive - Jan 2009

January 30th

TORONTO/WASHINGTON,DC REFLECTION: Remembering Tom Fox upon the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States of Americ


"Let's listen in now to the Marine Corps Band," the CNN commentator says. The camera pans across the Washington Mall. People, as far as the eye can see, waiting for the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States of America, the first African American to ever hold this high office.

The music projects a holy canopy of sound over these proceedings. "Democracy's most sacred moment," the CNN commentator calls it.

George W. Bush appears through an arch of velvet curtains, waving, smiling, his last presidential appearance. The signal is given. The Marine Corps Band bursts into "Hail to the Chief." The musicians know it cold, having played it a thousand times before.

"This is the last time George W. Bush will hear ‘Hail to the Chief' being played for him," the CNN commentator intones as the president descends red-carpeted stairs, making his way to his seat of honour. "The next time you hear it, in just a few moments, it'll be for his successor, President Obama, who will then hear it for the first time being played for him."

It strikes me with the force of a physical blow: Tom, you used to play "Hail to the Chief" all the time. You were a member of the Marine Corps Band.

January 29th

Prayers for Peacemakers, Thu., Jan. 29, 2009


Pray for calm around the Iraqi provincial elections scheduled for Jan. 31. Christian Peacemaker Teams will serve as international election observers in a troubled region of Diyala province.

Doug Pritchard
Christian Peacemaker Teams
Toronto, Canada

January 27th

AT-TUWANI UPDATE: December 2008

Monday 29 December 2008

School began again and the children were taking. The soldiers accompanying the school children from Tuba drove a short distance then stopped to chat with settlers working in the area. The soldiers told the children to go on alone. (See 31 December 2008 release, “Israeli army fails to escort Palestinian schoolchildren twice in three days,”

January 24th

CHICAGO: Coffins bear truth to Boeing

On 19 January 2009 fifty CPTers and supporters carried cardboard coffins covered with Palestinian flags through downtown Chicago, dramatizing Boeing's deadly connection to Israel's recent offensive in Gaza. Chicago police arrested four of the mourners when they knelt to pray beside the coffins placed at the front door of Boeing Headquarters.

Boeing makes the GBU-39 small diameter bombs and the Apache helicopters used by the Israeli military during its recent war on Gaza.  More than 1300 Palestinians, mostly women and children, lost their lives, and thousands more were injured when bombs fell on neighborhoods, schools, hospitals and UN food warehouses.

Participants in the 19 January Martin Luther King Day witness sought to honor Dr. King's call to end racism, militarism and poverty.

"Taking this step to expose one of the biggest perpetrators of militarism is a fitting memorial to Dr. King," said CPT training participant Janie Stein. "The people of Palestine and Israel will have a greater chance for peace and security when corporations like Boeing stop sending weapons to the region."

January 23rd


We were on the Cimitarra River, following a narrow creek to an adjoining lake, gathering families from four surrounding villages for the "Celebration of Life and Resistance to Oppression" at Four Rivers.  The sponsoring organization requested CPT accompaniment because we were entering an area of conflict in the ongoing war. As the creek narrowed, we encountered a larger boat stuck in the plant growth, making the creek impassable to us.

IRAQ REFLECTION: Amna Suraka (The Red Security Prison)

Bullet holes and broken walls show marks of the battles during the 1991 uprising, when Kurds in Iraq took control of this Baath Regime prison in the northern Iraqi city of Suleimaniya.  Weathered tanks from the Iraqi military line one wall of the courtyard. The buildings have not been restored, remaining as a museum memorializing the cruelty of Saddam’s regime.

January 22nd

Prayers for Peacemakers, Thu., Jan. 22, 2009


Pray for the people of Gaza as they endure occupation and shortages. Pray for the leaders of Israel, Palestine, and the world as they seek a just resolution of this conflict.

Doug Pritchard
Christian Peacemaker Teams
Chicago, USA

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Missing children from Kashenda

What would you do if armed government soldiers came into your home, greeted you formally, and announced they were taking your twelve-year old daughter? She would be a “military wife,” available for sex, cooking, washing, carrying heavy goods, and other chores that soldiers will not do.

Last week, soldiers did this to families of two schoolgirls in Kashenda village, which CPT visited last weekend with its partner Groupe Martin Luther King. The girls are friends--one in the last grade of primary school, the other in the first year of secondary school. Their families are heartbroken. Their parents are afraid to leave their homes. 

January 21st

PALESTINE REFLECTION: The shape of the future

Recently, Jim Roynon and I visited an old friend of the team in Ramallah to discuss what shape CPT's future work in Palestine might take.  If she were not dealing with the slaughter in Gaza and supporting her colleagues there, she said, she would be visiting villages caught between the unfinished Annexation Wall and the actual 1967 border with Israel, an area known as the "seam line," because they do not know the horrors that await them.

Bir Nabala, she said is "the shape of the future."  Entirely surrounded by the Wall, it has only one entrance/exit . . .

January 17th

AT-TUWANI REFLECTION: Soldiers in the village

"There are soldiers in the village," came the call.  Right by our house in the village of At-Tuwani, where Christian Peacemaker Teams has had a presence since 2004, we saw an Israeli military jeep and humvee.  Soldiers were standing on the street with guns drawn.