Archive

May 28th, 2017

IRAQI KURDISTAN: As adults, we are just afraid for our children; residents of Merkejia speak with CPT about the impacts of the Turkish bombings.

CPTnet

29 May 2017

IRAQI KURDISTAN: As adults, we are just afraid for our children; residents of Merkejia speak with CPT about the impacts of the Turkish bombings.

by: Julie Brown

The explosion was massive, even through the small video on Kak Najib’s phone we could see the devastation and huge plume of smoke that engulfed the whole side of a nearby mountain. This was just one of many bombs that fell on the area surrounding the village of Merkejia last fall.

Merkajia is an Assyrian village that lies within the northern mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. These mountains are a dividing point between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan as well as a battleground between the Turkish government and The Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK.  While media sometimes gives nod to this decades long conflict, the realities of life for those like the villagers of Merkejia, people whose communities are on the frontlines, are rarely told.

"Last November, the Turkish airplanes dropped a barrage of bombs on the area surrounding this small village", Kak Najib, the Mukhtar (village leader) of Merkejia, told CPT on 11 May 2017. The first bombs fell in the evening when Kak Najib and his family were in their house. He explained that at first they stayed inside their home and took shelter but as the bombs continued to fall they went outside afraid that one could hit the house and it could collapse on them. The women and children left the village and only the men stayed behind to protect their homes and property. “As Assyrians we believe that we will die one day and that we should not be afraid of death. I have seen many wars, Saddam forced me to go to Kuwait.  As adults, we are just afraid for our children,” he explained.

The bombs shattered all the windows in every home in Merkejia and cracked several walls. Kak Najib pointed to a large crack in his home just over a large portrait of Jesus hanging in his family room.  When CPT asked how people could show solidarity with the villagers of Merkejia he simply said, “Let people know that we are being bombed.” 

                                                          Wall inside Kak Najib´s house   

                                             Walls inside Kak Najib's house in Merkajia. Photo by: Julie Brow 

May 26th

Prayers for Peacemakers. 26 May 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers. 26 May 2017

Oftentimes, we are not thankful for all the blessings in our life and we do not recognize the privileges we have. When we are able to have a job, to have a legal status, to feel safe and free, to be healthy or able-bodied, for example. When often strongly realize and feel their lack but not so much their presence.

Today we want to remember all these privileges and blessings. We would like to encourage you to embrace the positive situations in our lives and share our love and solidarity with people who do not experience the same. Let us pray for those of us who are not physically or emotionally well. Let us pray for all who are seeking meaningful jobs to be able to thrive and support our families and communities. Let us pray for the undocumented people and those fleeing wars and oppression to be given asylum and receive respect for their humanity and rights. Let us pray for all who live in the midst of war to be able to find strength to continue resist violence and death. Let us pray for and support each other in our needs and difficulties so that we may find a path forward and overcome what stands in our way.

Yezidi family

Luke 17:20-21

One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.”

May 24th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) A week in photos May 16 - 22

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) A week in photos May 16 - 22

 

Constant Threat


Pictured here:  These three photos capture three arrests of Palestinians this past week, two of whom are under 16. 

In the past three weeks CPT has witnessed an increase in systematic detainments and arrests of Palestinians in the H2 area of Al Khalil by the Golani infantry brigade. The Golani brigade has been in the Old City almost constantly, where soldiers require Palestinians to show their IDs and arbitrarily detain members of the local community for anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours. Local shopkeepers, as well as men, women, and children who live in H2 have been detained several times per day as they try to move around their neighbourhood. 

Protests in solidarity with the Palestinian political prisoner's hunger strike have resulted in clashes occurring more than once a week. Israeli military have used excessive force against the Palestinian protesters, who have suffered from tear gas inhalation, skunk water spray, rubber bullet wounds, and injuries from live ammunition. Israeli forces purposefully escalate the clashes by quickly advancing into Palestinian controlled H1, apprehending those who are at the front of the clash and then retreating with boys they have detained. Their provocation of Palestinians also allows for them to take photos to use as evidence against "stone throwers" and as justification for later arrests. A total of 8 people were arrested in a clash on Friday, 19th May and at least 6 people were arrested in the clash today, 22nd May. 

Golani forces have become aggressive in their search for young men who have participated in the clashes. Young Palestinian men specifically are being targeted, to a point where the local community members are living under constant threat of house raids, arbitrary detainment, and arrest. On the 21st of May, a 12 year old boy was detained and held overnight, the video footage of his detainment can be found here


(May 16-22, 2017)

May 23rd

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

May 19th

Prayers for Peacemakers. 19 May, 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers. 19 May, 2017

This week we would like to share a good news and express our gratitude for the nomination of CPT for the Nobel Peace Prize. The American Friends Service Committee has announced their official nominee for the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize and it is Christian Peacemaker Teams!  

This is a great honor for the organization. At the same time, we acknowledge that we are but partners to those who truly transform the world. We wait for the time when our presence in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine, Canada, U.S.A. and Greece will not be needed anymore. We would prefer that both Peace and Justice have already prevailed in each corner of this world.

Kak Bapir from the village of Basta tells the story of the struggle against indiscriminate Turkish bombardments

May 17th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) A week in photos May 9 - 15


AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) A week in photos May 9 - 15

 
 

Behind Closed Doors

 
Pictured here: Israeli occupation forces continue to target young Palestinian men this week with accusations of stone throwing.  On Wednesday, the soldiers took an 18-year-old Palestinian man inside the Israeli military gate at Bab al Baladeyeh for questioning. He was released twenty minutes later with a cut on his wrist. When CPT asked the soldiers what had happened, they laughed and refused to comment.  

(May 10, 2017)

May 15th

COLOMBIA: Leveling the playing field. Women Walking Together in Faith

CPTnet

15 May 2017

COLOMBIA: Leveling the playing field. Women Walking Together in Faith

by Shirley Redekop

Viewpoints 

The saying goes, “There are two gifts we should give our children: one is roots, the other is wings.” My husband and I encouraged our children to fly and prayed we gave them roots.

One day in a sermon my husband said, “I believe in what Christian Peacemaker Teams [CPT] does, but I also fear one of our sons will join them,” referring to its placing of teams in communities confronted with situations of life-threatening conflict.

Well, it turns out it is our daughter Hannah who is now a long-term CPT volunteer in Colombia. She’s been there for four years now, walking with farmers who are at risk of being forcibly displaced from their land, and learning about the challenges women face in that setting.

My roots are in Pennsylvania, growing up on a farm with two older brothers. I was expected to help with outside work as well as in the house. My dad also taught me to shoot a hunting rifle and ride a motorcycle. But I realized my brothers were not expected to help with housework and were given cars for their 16th birthday. I felt they had an unfair advantage.

Now as I’ve mothered the next generation, I pondered what message I passed on to our only daughter. After reading an article Hannah sent me about an experience she had at a women’s regional peacebuilding meeting, I found my answer.  Here’s what she wrote:

 “The most impacting moment for me [at the first meeting of women from northeastern Antioquia] was a fireside conversation around apple sugar-cane tea. The women gathered around holding hands and introduced themselves, then moved into small groups to share their experiences: ‘When did you realize you were a woman?’ ‘What have your struggles been?’ ‘What is the role of women in your society today?’

Hannah, su familia, un compañero de ECAP y una de las mujeres de la región.

Pictured from left to right: Maria Angela Peinado; Hannah, Fred and Shirley Redekop; Maricela Jimenez; and Pierre Shantz. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)

May 12th

CANADA AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Walking for Indigenous Rights.

CPTnet 

12 May 2017 

CANADA AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Walking for Indigenous Rights.

by CPT Canada 

The black and white Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights flag waves beneath the sky-scrapers in down-town Toronto. A group of approximately 30 people have been walking for nearly a week. Battling rain, cold, sun and traffic, and ranging from 11 months to 86 years, the walkers bring on looks and questions from folks passing by. Toronto is not foreign to demonstrations or actions, yet there is something different about this group. Its steady focus and determination draw the attention of a local freelance journalist who spontaneously joins the walk for an hour. “What are you folks walking for he asks?” 

The Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights, organized by CPT Indigenous Peoples Solidarity and Mennonite Church Canada, is a 600km walk from Kitchener to Ottawa in support of the full adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).  While the Canadian government signed onto UNDRIP in 2016 there has been few changes in regards to federal policy or material conditions on the ground. 

Bandera del peregrinaje 

May 11th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) A week in photos May 2 - 8

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) A week in photos  May 2 - 8

 

 
 

Child detentions

 
Pictured here: Many young Palestinian men and boys were targeted by Israeli forces this week who accuse them of throwing stones in the clashes last week.  In the above photo, a 14-year-old boy from a village outside of al-Khalil/Hebron was on his way with two of his friends to pray at Ibrahimi mosque when soldiers detained him for over an hour, questioned him, and blindfolded him before taking him into the military base.  Below, a 16-year-old boy from the Old City was taken by Israeli soldiers behind the military gate and detained for 20 minutes.  

(May 1 & 6, 2017)

May 10th

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.