Afghanistan

Prayers for Peacemakers 23 May 2018 Lesvos

Prayers for Peacemakers 23 May 2018  Lesvos

Pray for the LGBTIQ+ refugee community on Lesvos who are both living with and who have fled persecution, discrimination, and violence because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

 On Lesvos there are approximately 8,500 officially registered refuges, 6,500 of them are residing in Moria camp, otherwise known as Moria concentration camp. The refugees who fill the barbed-wired walls are living in horrible conditions, have no privacy and no sanitary facilities to speak of. For the LGBTIQ+ community, Moria is a living hell. On a daily basis they have to deal with discrimination, harassment, verbal and sexual violence perpetrated by other refugees, the migration service and the police.

 - “Due to the way I dress, I am already subjected to mockery and homophobic abuse. People go as far calling me a mistake of nature, saying that I am shameful for my country. The same verbal abuse that I suffered in my country—it hasn’t changed here in Moria. […] For gay people like us, Moria is hell.” (Abigail, Cameroon)

 -"Three policemen surrounded me in the street in [Lesvos' principal town] Mytilene and touched my ass, only me, because I am effeminate. They asked if I had a condom with me.“ (Suad, Irak)

 No access to a fair asylum procedure. LGBTIQ+ people have to prove their identity during the asylum procedure during which time they also face homophobic and transphobic sentiments and remarks.

 "The interviewers told me I'm not really gay because I'm 'active'. The interrogators followed an "Islamic rule" that only the receptive partner in anal intercourse, "the one who is taken," is gay.” (Suad, Irak)

 For people who have to keep their sexual orientation secret their entire life out of fear, these things are horribly traumatic. Added to this is the fact that most of the translators also live in the same camps, and are therefore in a position that can endanger the asylum case of the LGBTIQ+ person.

 When the LGBTIQ+ person does not come across as “queer enough” in the initial interview,  the officials do not believe their story, and the person is at risk of getting deported back to Turkey or their home country. Especially the people who come from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Cameroon are at risk of getting rejected. They are seen as “economic refugees” and their process gets quickly recorded and closed, while in their home-countries homosexuality is criminalised and LGBTIQ+ people have to deal with discrimination and violence on a daily basis.

 Find out more at Lesvos LGBTIQ+ Refugee Solidarity

LESVOS: CPTer documents minute-by-minute account of fascist attack on Afghan refugees in Sappho Square, Mytilene

The following represents a minute-by-minute report that the Christian Peacemaker Team on Lesvos made of the night of 22-23 April when fascists attacked the Afghan refugee families who were occupying Sappho Square in Mytilene, Lesvos.  The families were nonviolently protesting their internment at Moria Camp, saying it was the "Guantanamo of Europe," and demanding that they be allowed to move forward with their asylum process.

19:10 Police in riot gear made a small circle around refugee protestors. The policeman told a western foreigner (reporter) to move for his safety because something might happen. (Reported by a foreign volunteer).

19:40 The refugee group told the CPTer to stay inside the circle; the men formed two lines to protect the women. 

19:50 A sound of marching and drumming moved toward the square. Some Greek people standing on the other side clapped their hands to welcome the march group. Greek people sang the national anthem (maybe). The leader of the refugee protestors told people to stay quiet when the Greek people sang their national anthem. Two police buses blocked the sight of the refugee protestors.

Prayers for Peacemakers. 7 June 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers. 7 June 2017

More and more people are becoming aware of the consequences of the industrialization of our world. The pollution of the air, soil and water resources has increased notably because of the so called development. Extremely dry seasons, prolonged cold winters, numerous floods and landslides are just some examples of the impact of the massive industrial production, global scale transportation and abuse of natural resources. For this reason, the country representatives signed an agreement to continue working for and supporting the development while decreasing the pollution and the global warming. But we need to understand that it's the consumption and production of things that we perceive we need that takes away or destroys what we all truly need: healthy and sufficient food and water, clean air and respect for life.   

Let us pray for our world, for clean air and water. Let us pray for those who struggle to protect what is left and to regenerate what is lost. Let us pray for those who make decisions that will impact not only our present but also our future and the future of the life on Earth. Let us pray for each one of us to learn more, to care more, and to do more. We all deserve a better planet and many of us bear responsibility for the disasters that take place not only where we live but also in other parts of the world. So help us God.

 Mocoa, Colombia Landslide

Psalm 96:10-13

Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns." The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth. 

GREECE: Arc of voices. The work of resistance of CPT partners on Lesvos.

CPTnet

23 May 2017

GREECE: Arc of voices. The work of resistance of CPT partners on Lesvos.

by Rûnbîr Serkepkanî

Images of boats, of people with arms stretched out for water, of children getting barbecued by the midday sun at the port, hunger strikes and many other unpleasant things—these are the images which I associate with Mytilene, and for a very good reason. Nearly 1,000,000 people have passed through this island in the last three years. As a part of Christian Peacemaker Teams on the island, I have witnessed all of that and more. For me, these tragedies are not merely some news story happening in a far away country, but something deeply personal. When someone gets deported from this island to a future of insecurity, potentially facing incarceration and death, it is personal for me. If I have not actually met that person, I certainly know someone who is a friend of theirs.

We who are bearing witness to what is happening now know who is responsible. It is the vampiric tendencies of capitalism, the weapons industry and the profit-worshiping corporations. It is the sultans, emirs, presidents and lords of war with their armies. Our main partner Lesvos Solidarity was founded by local mothers from Mytilene as Village of all Together several years ago. Lesvos Solidarity has been the main obstacle standing in the way of the total exploitation of refugees and the oppression against them. 

The powers-that-be have built an infrastructure of separation and subjugation. At the same time Lesvos Solidarity has been working in the opposite direction. They occupy an abandoned summer camp and have renovated it step by step, transforming it into a shelter for refugees. Here the local people of Mitylene host the refugees and help them recover from the bombs that fell on them, the boats that capsized under them, the memories of their comrades who became martyrs for the freedom of movement.

 World without Borders

Prayers for Peacemakers. 10 May 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers. 10 May 2017

On the first day of May most countries commemorate the International Worker's Day or the Labor Day. Millions of people take to the streets and march for their rights. They demand better and just conditions to carry out their jobs. 

When we sit at the table, when we get dressed, when we go to bed, when we go to our places of study, work or worship, when we buy food, when we feel sick and need a doctor, even when we make banners for a protest... Many people have worked hard to make these activities possible. And how many of them have been exploited, abused or forced by people or circumstances to do it?

Let us pray for each and every worker on this planet. Let us pray for respectful and just conditions for all to carry out their work activities. Let us pray, and work for change, for a fair wage and for the end of all forms of slavery. Let us pray for all mothers to be able to receive adequate maternity leave. Let us pray for all children so that they can enjoy their childhood instead of exploitative work. Let us pray for both women and men so they can receive equal salary for same work and thus overcome the economic gap.

Psalm 128:2 You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.

Misael Payares, a leader of the farming community of Las Pavas' nonviolent resistance

Misael Payares, a leader of the farming community of Las Pavas' nonviolent resistance. Photo credit: CPT Colombia.

Prayers for Peacemakers. 19 April 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers. 19 April 2017

In the last three months the government of the United States of America bombed Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan. Tensions in the Middle East, Russia, North Korea and around the world escalate rapidly. The numbers of killed civilians grow everyday. We need to do something! 

Last weekend, the Christian community celebrated Easter: Jesus has risen defeating death. Following the example of Jesus, let us arise and take action for peace and to stop death. Let us support or take part in peacemaking initiatives and organizations. Let us advocate for all who seek refuge from bombs. Let us pray for all who suffer in the wars in Syria and other countries. Let us pray for each one of us and that our creativity and strength would persist.

bombing hurts please stop

Galatians 6: 7-9

A person harvests whatever he plants: The person who sows through human means will harvest decay from human means, but the person who sows in the Spirit will harvest eternal life from the Spirit. Let’s not get tired of doing what is good, for at the right time we will reap a harvest—if we do not give up.

Prayers for Peacemakers 15 March 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers 15 March 2017

Last week the world commemorated the International Women's Day. Also we would like to acknowledge the power and leading role of women in struggle for justice and peace all around the world.

Let us pray for all women members of the CPT projects, for all the women in the Administrative team and all our women partners around the world. Each and every one of them does amazing things in order to build a better world. Let us pray for all girls around the world. Let us pray for a better future for them.

Girls plain in the river. Colombia

Let us pray for men as well, because they need to overcome sexism and work as allies of women in their struggles. Let us pray and work together for a better world where all women, men and every individual have the same opportunities, same access to justice, education and social securities, and freedom to live in peace and for peace. 

Prayers for Peacemakers 1 March 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers 1 March 2017

Created, Guided, and Delivered for Liberation: A Prayer for Times Like These. 

by Chris Knestrick 

Creator God, 

 You created us for right and just relationships.

 You have called your people back to your embrace

                  To that garden of equality and mutuality

                   To healthy relationships based on respect and love

                   To be laborers that harvest life. 

Creator God, You created us.  

Children painting 

Prayers for Peacemakers. 11 January 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers. 11 January 2017

Snow. For a lot of people snow is a synonym of a warm home. For others snow is a beautiful landscape in which they can get lost. Other people, those who have not seen or felt the snow, dream about snowflakes on their hands. However, not everyone shares the same perception of snow.

Let us pray for all refugees and people without home in Europe, Middle East, North America and the rest of the world who are suffering because of harsh winter conditions. Let us seek ways in which we can help them. Let us pray for political leaders to accept and understand that it is necessary to implement changes in order to stop the global warming. Let us pray for all those who have a cold heart so that the warmth of friends, family and community allows their hope to return.

Syrian woman walks wit her sons under the snow

Photo credit: Aljazeera.

Mediterranean: On Borders, Cooks, and Farmers

 

Massom* is young–I’d guess about 30, likely a bit younger. He’s one of the refugees who like to interact with the Greek organizers and the ever-changing group of international volunteers, practicing his English and helping out around the camp. This is a self-organized camp for some of the most vulnerable refugees who have arrived at the island of Lesvos, and Massom interacts with others here in ways that, for a variety of valid reasons, not many others are as apt to do. He’s there with a dustpan if he sees you sweeping. He helps to unload the deliveries of produce from area farmers into the room where we organize daily distributions. He’s all about making tea for anyone who wants it, anytime—his excuse to come and go often from the kitchen. He frequently succumbs, with great compassion, to the demands of little Myriam, a curly-headed toddler essentially on her own and dependent on the kindness of fellow residents and volunteers for the attention her mother—who suffers from severe depression—is unable to provide with much regularity. Massom enjoys staying close to the food scene, many times a week serving our communal lunch.