Christian Peacemaker Teams activities in Europe.

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 6, 2016 Europe

Prayers for Peacemakers, April 6, 2016  Europe 

Pray for the refugees and migrants in Greece facing deportation this week because of the European Union’s agreement with Turkey.  Pray for CPT-Europe’s partners on Lesvos, who are facing the shutdown of their collaborative, humane camp at Pipka by the local authorities.  The mayor of Lesvos plans to ship all the residents from Pipka to detention camps, including some of the most vulnerable refugees: those with disabilities, lone women and children, survivors of shipwrecks.  Please prayerfully sign this petition to keep Pipka open.


April 10, 2016  Third Sunday of Easter
Frontex Corporation officials guard migrants they are deporting for the European Union.
Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
He asked, "Who are you, Lord?" The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Acts 9:3-5
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

CPT-EUROPE: "Sinking in the Sea and Walking for a Better World"

March 17, 2016
CPT-Europe: "Sinking in the Sea and Walking for a Better World"
By Ronbir Mohammad

(This article is the first in a new series of reflections: "The Border is Everywhere.")


In the summer of 2013, I walked with a group of refugees and allies from Malmö in the South of Sweden to Stockholm, the Swedish capital, as part of what we called “Aylstafetten.” We wished to transform Sweden to a country where refugees would be treated as human beings. Many of the refugees walking with us had no legal status and were “without papers.” For many of them, it was the first time experiencing solidarity from so many white Europeans.

As we moved in the capital amidst its power dynamics, some of those same dynamics were reproduced among the walkers, whether we wanted it or not. Some of us were white Swedes, others non-white Swedes born in Sweden, some non-white Swedes born outside Sweden who had acquired citizenship, others refugees with residence permits, and some refugees lacking residence permits but present in the country legally. The most vulnerable were refugees without papers who could be captured at any time and deported to “their countries”.

But during the walk we were equals. Whether we were swimming in the blue lakes of Sweden, walking past the small red houses in the countryside, or handing out leaflets and shouting slogans, we were equals. We were equals when we enjoyed the tasty Afghan food our fellow comrades made, or when we were singing, reciting poetry, and giving each other massages. We were comrades. During the month we walked, conflicts broke out and were solved. Stories of love, jealousy, tears, and laughter. The solidarity between the walkers was so strong that sometimes, as I was simply walking along and smoking, my heart was so filled with joy I wanted to shed tears.

Prayers for Peacemakers, February 24, 2016

Prayers for Peacemakers, February 24, 2016

Pray for the European Convergence currently taking place in Hamburg.  Pray for the participants as they come up with strategies for a CPT training in Europe this year and for continuing CPT-Europe’s ministry to refugees and asylum-seekers crossing the Mediterranean.

February 28, 2016  Third Sunday in Lent
Photo from last year's European Convergence in London
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk
 without money and without price.  Isaiah 55:1
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

CPT trainees demand independent investigation into Afghan hospital bombing

“The U.S. cannot investigate itself.”

“While you’re shopping, bombs are dropping.”

These were some the core messages Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) conveyed through signs and chants on 9 October 2015 when it marched through the streets of Chicago, demanding an independent investigation into the hospital bombing in Kunduz, Afghanistan by the United States armed forces. On 3 October, the U.S. military carried out a bombing raid on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, resulting in twenty-two deaths, including ten hospital staff and twelve patients.  Doctors Without Borders is requesting an independent investigation into the bombing from the International Humanitarian Fact-finding Commission (IHFFC).

Members of CPT gathered on Friday outside of the British Consulate in downtown Chicago dressed in blood-spattered hospital attire and carrying a black coffin to symbolize the deaths at the hospital in Kunduz.   Alicia R from London delivered a letter to the British Consulate urging the British government to request an investigation by the IHFFC.  Only a member country can request such an investigation.

As the march started, chants of “while you’re shopping, bombs are dropping” and “bombing hospitals is a war crime,” echoed through the streets.  At several intersections, members of the group dramatized the bombing by falling in the middle of the street as another marcher hit them with a sign shaped as a bomb that had the letters, “USA,” on it.

The procession stopped at the Canadian Consulate where two Canadian citizen trainees had a meeting to urge the Canadian government to also request an investigation by the IHFFC. During the meeting, other members held vigil outside. They sang and handed out information about the bombing to passers-by.

The march concluded at the US Federal Building where Kody Hersh from Philadelphia, PA and Douglas Johnson Hatlem from Chicago, IL knelt in front of the main doors preventing access as they prayed. Federal security locked the doors and rerouted pedestrian traffic, while CPT members and other supporters held a prayer vigil in memory of the innocent lives lost in Kunduz, Afghanistan. 

As of Sunday 11 October, no member country has yet requested an investigation from the IHFFC and Doctors Without Borders continues to speak out against the hospital bombing.


Prayers for Peacemakers, September 23, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, September 23, 2015

Pray for the refugees and asylum seekers who continue to land on the Greek island of Lesvos.  Pray for the CPT Europe workers and all the international workers, Greeks and tourists who reach out in compassion to ease their suffering.


 *Epixel for Sunday,September 27, 2015 
 Guardian video featuring CPT Europe workers helping refugees     
We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have

Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 124:7-8 
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings. 

MEDITERRANEAN: From the womb in exile to the tomb in exile

I have seen Mela Qadir, the Muslim priest of my home village, leading many funerals. “God has taken back your soul. When we leave now you are going to try to rise up and go back to your home, but the stones above you are going to prevent your head from rising up and you will realize that you are dead,” he said to the deceased, with his voice of authority, his edgeless mustache, his ironed Kurdish suit and his elegantly tied turban.

Mela Qadir guided everyone who died in my home village in this way, at the confusing point between this earthly life and eternity. He told all of them that two angels will come, that the grave becomes like a beautiful garden where the dead person can enjoy him-or herself until judgment day–if the person was a righteous person. If not, the walls of the grave would come together and he would feel the suffering he or she had caused other people a thousand-fold.

The dead persons in my home village had names. They had life stories, known to the people who attended their funerals. On this occasion, they shared stories about the dead persons’ childhood, goodness, who they were as fathers or mothers, how good they were at their work and how funny they were.

EUROPE: Why “prioritizing” Syrian refugees is a bad idea


A refugee boat arrives on the shores of Lesvos at the same time as a 
FRONTEX dinghy.                                             Photo: Ramyar Hassani

Since 2011, the bloody war in Syria has displaced millions of civilians to neighbouring countries and EU member states. Meanwhile there are other countries whose post-war situations have made life miserable for very large parts of their populations.

Since more than a year ago, European politicians have talked about prioritizing the Syrian refugees. However, the very high numbers of  Syrian refugees are people who were unable to make it to Europe “legally” due to intentionally harsh Western policies barring their entry. Around eight million Syrians are internally displaced, while another 3.75 million have gone to neighbouring countries like Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.

MIGRATION REFLECTION: Not since World War II… so many people looking for HOME


Afghan refugees on Lesvos

I have been home three weeks and am now able to re-enter Winnipeg society. I no longer have to cocoon in my house, unable to face the huge grocery stores and my friends who ask me how I am.  Already I can go hours without even thinking of  the people I sat with in Iraqi Kurdistan. I am forgetting the heat and the sweat and the burning hot wind. I am forgetting the tears and pain of mothers sitting on the sidewalk begging with their eyes, families in unfinished houses asking for a refrigerator so their water can be cool enough to drink and people living in flappy tents that fall down in the blustery winds.   I am forgetting the father looking at his 21-year-old son who is thinking of paying money to a smuggler to try to get to a life worth living. I am forgetting the words, "What else can he do?"

But there are still hours when I remember. When I read news of seventy people dying in a smuggler's truck because no one would open the doors.  When I hear from my colleagues working on the island of Lesvos of ordinary people risking the life and breath of their children to get onto inflated boats trying to find a society who will embrace them and say welcome. 

MEDITERRANEAN: A call for emergency ferry transportation and better basic humanitarian assistance

We urge the EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos to organise immediately emergency funding from European Union sources to help process and care for the hundreds of migrants and refugees who are arriving on the Aegean Islands each day.

This care would include 

Refugees queuing in front of a travel agency at 11 P.M.

1) A dedicated ferry to take only refugees & migrants from Mytilini to Athens not later than 17th August 2015. 

2) Improved co-ordination and provision of good quality tents, blankets, food and  drinking water within the grounds of the Moria reception centre, the Mytilini port area and the locally initiated Kara Tepe camp. 

Additional informational

On 13th August 2014, Christian Peacemaker Teams met and discussed with Mr. Spiros Galinos, the Major of Lesvos Island about the inadequate conditions of the registration and reception centre conditions and the difficulties of migrants and refugees wanting to leave the island. 

Knowing that the situation around the public holiday on the 15th August, would be difficult, the mayor requested 2 weeks ago that an additional ferry be made available. As of 12 noon on the 13 August 2015 he informed us he had still not received a positive response to his request. 

GREECE REFLECTION: Things can only get better

An Afghan man approaches me, asking politely if I am a doctor, and wants me to come and look at his daughter who has a stomach flu with fever for the fourth day. I explain to him that I am not a doctor, yet I try to remember whatever I know about stomach flu self help instructions: plenty of water, bananas, orange juice with bits…

Moving on some meters, another parent stops me, posing the same question, and I repeat the same answer. And then another one. And more. Moving another fives meters, a man approaches me and wants me to look at his daughter’s hands. It is an impetigo that has spread across both hands. It needs urgent antibiotic treatment. She is unable to move her fingers properly but she still gives me the most beautiful smile. Children…

We are in Kara Tepe, a camping area on the island of Lesvos where thousands of refugees wait for their documents to be processed so that they can continue their journey to Athens, and from there to continue their asylum process in other European countries.

There is no doctor in the camp, although thankfully we know that the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) will start operating here in the coming days. The municipality of Lesvos opened Kara Tepe in spring 2015 as a temporary holding place for about 1,000 persons – on the worst days there are over 3,500 persons.

With all the mess around her in the Kara Tepe refugee camping area she sits on a cardboard enjoying her
 potato chips.