Archive

April 19th, 2018

COLOMBIA PHOTO ESSAY: Love for the land

 

 

From Barrancabermeja to the heart of Las Pavas.

This photo essay summarizes the experience of the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Holy Week delegation. It collects stories. Stories made into songs and memories that give an account of some dynamics and realities of the Magdalena Medio region, in particular the Las Pavas community.

April 18th

CALL TO ACTION: Support the Moria 35!

The Lesvos team of CPT Europe would like to invite you to join a campaign in support of 35 African refugees who were arrested arbitrarily by the Greek police, now known as the "Moria 35." They will go to trial trial on April 20th, after ten months of being detained.

Prayers for Peacemakers 18 April 2018 Lesvos

Prayers for Peacemakers  18 April 2018  Lesvos

Pray that the Moria 35 receive justice when they stand trial on 20 April 2018.  If convicted, they could receive sentences of up to ten years and/or deportation.

On 18 July 2017, thirty-five people were arbitrarily arrested during a violent police raid in Moria camp on Lesvos.  That morning a peaceful protest took place in Moria camp, where people demanded that the authorities lift the geographical restriction imposed by the EU-Turkey statement, allow people to travel to mainland Greece, and denounced the inhumane living conditions in the camp. During the demonstration, a confrontation occurred between the police and some of the protesters. An hour after this skirmish had ended, riot police violently raided the African section of the camp and arrested people at random. There is substantial evidence of brutal police violence during the raid, the arrests and in the police station. Many of the people arrested were not even present in Moria camp at the time of the protest. The Moria 35 all face identical criminal charges including arson, resisting arrest, attempted assault, rioting, damage to private property and disturbing the public peace.  No credible or individual evidence appears to exist against any of them.  Authorities have kept them in prison since 18 July. The risk of conviction not only includes a prison sentence, but also an impending threat of deportation.

Members of CPT Lesvos visited some of the people in Chios prison to collect their personal stories in order to counter the state narrative that paints these people as criminals. The team acts as a part of a broader campaign that calls for justice and solidarity for the Moria 35. Pray for justice.

April 11th

Prayers for Peacemakers 11 April 2018 Colombia

Prayers for Peacemakers 11 April 2018  Colombia

Pray that in the upcoming presidential election, Colombians will vote with a heart of peace and not of stone.

On 11 March Colombians voted for a new congress and on 27 May they will vote for a new President. Ivan Duque, right wing presidential candidate supported by former President Alvaro Uribe, a staunch opponent of the agreement between the FARC and the government, promises to make changes that could drastically derail its implementation.  Duque and Uribe argue that the agreement is too lenient, that former guerrilla members did not receive enough punishment for their crimes.  They prefer a system where FARC ex-combatants are imprisoned rather than receive an alternative sentence in exchange for telling the truth and providing reparations to victims of the conflict. The international community has called the agreement one of the best in history.  

This ambivalence has created a climate of uncertainty in Colombia, generating new levels of violence not seen since the signing of the agreement over a year ago. Although the agreement does not resolve Colombia's issues of violence and injustice, it has helped to bring an end to the war and to shift the focus to the root issues of inequality.  The Colombians most at risk for violence need the agreement to endure.

April 5th

CPTer Esther Kern receives Muriel Duckworth Award for Peace Activism at VOW International Women's Day Dinner, Toronto

Esther Kern at her award banquet surrounded by her Christian Peacemaker Team colleagues

On Thursday, 8 March 2018, Esther Kern, former Canada Coordinator of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) received the Muriel Duckworth Award for Peace Activism at the Voice of Women for Peace International Women’s Day Dinner held at Friend’s (Quaker) House in Toronto.  She was a member of a select, influential group of women at the event to receive awards for such diverse contributions as Youth Peace Leadership, Peace Writing, Peace Activism, Peace Education and Award of Distinction. 

April 4th

Prayers for Peacemakers 4 April 2018 Palestine

Prayers for Peacemakers 4 April 2018  Palestine

Pray for the children of Al-Khalil/Hebron, Palestine.  Pray for them as they walk to school through checkpoints.  Pray for them as their backpacks are searched by Israeli border police.  Pray for them as they run in fear from soldiers. 

Pray that in the midst of this all-encompassing occupation of their lives and land that their sumud—steadfastness, perseverance, and resistance— is strengthened.  Pray that the tear gas and guns and checkpoints and soldiers disappear.  Pray that the children of Al-Khalil will one day walk freely to school.

March 28th

Prayers for Peacemakers, 28 March 2018 Kurdistan

Prayers for Peacemakers, 28 March 2018  Kurdistan

 

Pray for the family members of the four men who died in a Turkish airstrike following the Newroz celebration of freedom. Pray that the protests that spread again over Iraqi Kurdistan remain nonviolent and bring about the changes the people demand.  Pray that the world not remain silent against the recent Turkish military invasion into Iraqi Kurdistan that threatens the lives of many communities. 

 Iraqi Kurdistan’s six-months-long blockade has ended. The Iraqi authorities have finally lifted the ban on international flights to and from the region. The first airplanes from neighboring countries began landing again in the region’s capital Erbil. Sulaimani is still waiting for the reopening of flights.

At the same time, the Turkish military, encouraged by the silence and inactivity of the international community towards their bombardment and invasion of Syrian Afrin, which killed hundreds and forced over 150,000 people to flee their homes, invaded the border regions of Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkish ground forces are about fifteen miles deep within the Iraqi Kurdistan territory (Sidakan district), building bases and attacking armed groups. Farmers and shepherds, many of whom CPT partners with, are under great threat.

 On 21 March, Kurds and other people around the world celebrated Newroz, the coming of the New Year and the festival of liberation from tyranny. On the Newroz night Turkish fighter jets bombarded Sarkan village and killed four young men: Bezhan Mustafa, Mohammad Ismail, Darbaz Mohammad, Sherko Mahmud. Two of them were relatives of a close CPT friend. Our hearts are with their families and friends. 

This week, new anti-government protests spread around many towns and cities of Iraqi Kurdistan. Teachers, medical workers, and other government employees are asking for the government to pay their salaries. They march and gather in the public spaces and block roads. In the governorate of Sulaimani the security forces have taken on a peaceful, respectful approach even towards people who have set up tents and camp on a major road in front of the Sulaimani courthouse. We hope that the security forces’ attitude continues and the government hears and affirms the people’s demands. In other parts of Iraqi Kurdistan, the security forces have beaten and arrested people, including teachers and journalists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 26th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Spring Newsletter 2018

 
 

Hasan - the Principal of al-Ibrahimi Boys School

Al-Ibrahimi Boys School is located near the Ibrahimi mosque and the Palestinian neighborhoods of Qitoun, Salaymeh and the Old City. Qitoun checkpoint, Salaymeh checkpoint and the Mosque checkpoint are all situated close to the school. The majority of students and teachers come to school through Qitoun checkpoint on their way to al-Ibrahimi Boys School. The school is located on streets where Palestinians are only allowed to walk and are prohibited from driving on. Below are the words of Hassan after he answered the question “What is it like for you as a Principal to go through the checkpoint everyday?” Read more...

March 21st

Prayers for Peacemakers 22 March 2018 Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

Prayers for Peacemakers 22 March 2018  Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

On World Water Day (22 March), please hold the people of Grassy Narrows, Wabaseemoong, and  Wabauskang First Nations in your thoughts and prayers as they remember those who have died and continue to suffer the health impacts of mercury poisoning.  CPT-Indigenous Peoples Solidarity and other supporters will be accompanying community members of Grassy Narrows as they hold a vigil in Dryden, Ontario, where a pulp and paper mill dumped ten tonnes of toxic mercury into the Wabigoon River in the 1960s, poisoning the people upstream. May the hearts and minds of the public be open to understanding and justice for the intergenerational environmental harm caused by this industrial activity. 

Youth from Grassy Narrows perform "Home to Me" at Queens Park, Toronto, at June 2016 River Run. Only a month earlier, leading North
 American mercury researchers released a report describing a number of promising possibilities for eliminating mercury in the
 English-Wabigoon river system, which, until then, the Ontario government repeatedly claimed would only make matters worst." 

March 20th

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Apply by 8 April for the Nakba Day Delegation to Palestine

Come to Palestine with Christian Peacemaker Teams to observe Nakba Day 2018!  Seventy years after Zionist forces drove out Palestinian inhabitants from their homes, the Israeli state—whose prime Minister is currently embroiled in multiple corruption scandals—continues to dispossess Palestinians of their lands and livelihoods in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.  Nevertheless, Palestinian and Israeli nonviolence activists remain steadfast, building a nonviolence movement of hope and resilience. CPT delegation members will gain a perspective on how ongoing issues affect daily life, and will experience the power of Palestinian and Israeli citizens overcoming what seem to many to be permanent obstacles.

Delegates will meet with Palestinian and Israeli human rights representatives and peace workers in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. They will visit Palestinian families whose homes and livelihoods are threatened by expanding Israeli settlements. They will travel to the city of Al Khalil (Hebron) and the village of At-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills and experience firsthand CPT's work alongside Israeli and Palestinian partners. They will challenge the structural violence of the Occupation through nonviolent public witness.