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August 11th, 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 11 August 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 11 August 2017

On the occasion of the international observance of the Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, let us pray for and engage in active solidarity with the indigenous peoples struggle for their rights and protection of land.

This week the world observes the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples. The indigenous peoples have too often been erased and silenced from the history and the present. The discussions about the future rarely consider indigenous peoples' voices and reality. Yet, their voices and message sound clear and louder each day. This year marks the 10th anniversary since the world and regional power groups adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Now is the time to implement it. Especially and more so among the people of faith, who have committed to worship and follow the God of peace, justice and love.

Let us reflect on what actions could we take in solidarity with the indigenous peoples who struggle to reclaim their cultural realities and to protect their lives, land and resources. Let us pray that we might comprehend more clearly what actions do we as people of faith need to take. Many of us in Christian Peacemaker Teams are descendants of settlers on lands of others. And some of us come from communities massacred and dispossessed by others. Let us pray for the renewal of strength and energy for the indigenous organizers and communities who ask for respect for their lives, rights and for just and equal opportunities. Let us pray for those who committed to live and work as allies and in solidarity. Let us carry in our thoughts and prayers members of the CPT Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Team in Winnipeg, Canada.

Youth from Grassy Narrows

Consider watching a music video from an indigenous community of Grassy Narrows that CPT partners with.

Also, here you may read the latest updates from the CPT Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Team.

August 9th

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

 

Occupied Bodies 

 
Pictured here:  The violation of a body search is commonplace under occupation here in Hebron. After settlers had attacked Palestinians with stones, this Palestinian teenager was stopped and searched arbitrarily by Israeli soldiers. As is frequent, he was forced to pull up his top, spin around and wait by a wall until he was allowed to walk past.

(04/08/2017)

August 7th

COLOMBIA: Lack of guarantees slows the peace process

CPTnet

8 August 2017

COLOMBIA: Lack of guarantees slows the peace process

by Hannah Redekop

Map showing the number of social leaders who have been killed

Leaders assassinated in 2017

The fears of human rights defenders in the region are becoming reality. While giving a summary of the context in the Magdalena Medio región, a member of the social movement of Barrancabermeja commented that “we knew that the postconflict period would be more difficult but we didn’t know it would be so hard”.

Several human rights and victim organizations met together on July 19th with the Peace and Coexistence office of the municipality of Barrancabermeja in order to analyze the new realities of the country in the context of the implementation of the peace accords.

A national representative of the Executive Secretariat for the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) attended the meeting to inform about the new justice mechanism created out of the peace accords. However, this mechanism is not yet functional and has not yet been given the resources to collect evidence and testimonies.

This is one of the many examples that prove that the implementations of the peace accords is behind schedule.  The FARC combatants have handed over their weapons, but there are no security guarantees for them.  There has been great neglect on behalf the the state to institute justice and amnesty for the members of this guerrilla group, whose leaders only recently terminated a 25 day hunger strike after the state expedited a decree that would free the remaining imprisoned guerrilla fighters 

August 3rd

Prayers for Peacemakers, 3 August 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 3 August 2017

Pray for the Yazidi people of Iraq whose genocide began three years ago. Pray for freedom and restoration of life for several thousand women and children still in the hands of ISIL.  


How to pray for people undergoing a genocide? What can we pray for?

On 3 August 2014, Daesh (known also as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL) invaded, pillaged and took control of the city and region of Sinjar (also known as Shingal) in Northern Iraq. Majority of the nearly 170,000 inhabitants of the region identified as members of a unique and ancient ethno-religious group that names themselves Êzidî, or Yazidi.  Daesh massacred around 5,000 men and took into slavery over 7,000 women and children. The rest of the people fled to a nearby mountain where many died of thirst, hunger and temperatures reaching above 48C/120F.

In the following days and weeks over a hundred thousand Êzidî survivors reached the relative safety of Kurdistan region of Iraq, while thousands stayed in displaced peoples' camps across the border in Syria, or on the Sinjar mountain. Thousands of others embarked on a grim journey towards the European Union.
 
Today, most of Shingal, though free of ISIL, lies in ruins and desolate. Several thousand women and children that Daesh kidnapped and enslaved found freedom or death. Several thousand continue to endure slavery and sexual exploitation. Their relatives keep on searching for them.

We might pray for Êzidî women, youth and children who have endured the seemingly unbearable and hope that they may find new life, freedom, healing, justice and peace. We might pray that the families be able to reunite with their loved ones. We can carry in our prayers Êzidî peacemakers who have reclaimed their lives despite displacement and unimaginable suffering and loss, and established initiatives and organizations of support, accompaniment, justice, and communal restoration and healing.   

Yazidi girl recites a poem in commemoration of the genocide

August 2nd

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) A week in photos July 25- August 1

 

Hebron Settlers Occupy Palestinian Home

 
Pictured here: Israeli settlers supported by Israeli soldiers, Border Police and Israeli Police illegally entered a home owned by the Abu Rajab family which is close to the Ibrahimi Mosque and next to  Al Fayhaa girls school in Al Khalil (Hebron)  Read more. Settlers have been evicted on two previous occasions, the last time being in 2015 when they failed to show the Israeli Civil Administration proof of ownership.  If the settlers are successful in this attempt to take permanent possession of the house it will almost create a complete encirclement of the Old City of Al Khalil by settlements.
A Palestinian family of sixteen which includes eight children under fifteen years live on two floors of the building and have been subjected to violence whilst trying to move in and out of their home. The area was declared a Closed Military Zone and at this time it is not known if that order has been lifted.


(July 25, 2017)

August 1st

CPT Mediterranean: Urgent Action Request from Lesvos

CPTnet
1 August 2017
CPT Mediterranean: Urgent Action Request from Lesvos - Please share the information and join a 24-hour fast in solidarity with Behrooz Arash who is at risk of death

by CPT Mediterranean/Lesvos

Behrooz Arash is dying. He sent a voice message to CPT members on Lesvos in which he said that his skin was falling off his body. We have been worried about his situation for a long time. The body gets damaged after the loss of 10% of the body weight. Behrooz has lost far more than that. He weighed 60 kilograms when he started his hunger strike 35 days ago. The last time he was checked, he weighed only 44 kilograms. That happened last week. We expected the police to respond to the demands from the doctors, the lawyers and others to take both Behrooz Arash and Kozhin Hussein to hospital. However the police kept them in jail. We expected them to care about the survival of the hunger strikers, that they would value their lives, but we were wrong. Until this very moment, they are locked inside a cell and prevented by the police to receive medical care or vitamins. They are in this critical situation without any medical support.

Three men on a hunger strike holding banners: My life has value

July 31st

PALESTINE: What would you risk for peace?

CPTnet

31 July 2017

PALESTINE: What would you risk for peace?

by Rachelle Friesen 

In April 2017, more than 1,600 Palestinian political prisoners went on a hunger strike. As I write this article, strikers have refused food and have been drinking only salt water for the last 31 days. They are protesting being held without charge or trial, medical negligence, poor treatment and the lack of family visits. The strikers are putting their bodies at risk to nonviolently protest their treatment; many are experiencing severe fatigue, malnutrition and dizziness.

Throughout Palestine, people are rising up in support of the hunger strike. Nonviolent resistance to the policies of occupation are not new. When I lived and worked in Palestine with Mennonite Central Committee, part of my job was to accompany and support the nonviolent resistance. Every week, activists would protest against the separation barrier in various villages around the West Bank, and every week those same activists were faced with violent repression from the Israeli military, who used tear gas, sound bombs, rubber-coated-steel bullets, live ammunition and beatings by soldiers. 

While putting their bodies in danger, they also risked arrest. At the Nakba demonstration in 2015, Mazzen Al Azzah, a friend and nonviolent activist, was arrested. When he was released, it was on the condition that he would not attend any more demonstrations. When I asked him what he was going to do, his response was, “I will go. I am not afraid. This is part of the struggle.”

Palestinian man

July 28th

Prayers for Peacemakers, 28 July 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 28 July 2017

Prayer for participants of the 48th CPT's training for peacemakers.

Eleven peacemakers from Brazil, Uruguay, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany and the USA are training in Chicago, USA to become members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). This one-month-long training is an intense time for those who are discerning their future with the organization. Trainees explore their personal and group strengths and challenges, share deep emotions and experiences and learn new skills needed for the work and life on one of the teams of CPT. The training days are long, busy, tiresome, and filled with stress as well as joy.

Let us pray for the trainees: their emotional and physical well-being, health and resilience as they continue to grow, experience and internally transform. Let us give thanks for their commitment to building partnerships that transform violence and oppressions. Let us also hold in our prayers the trainers and members of the administrative team of CPT who are accompanying and supporting this training in Chicago. Let us also remember when we pray the five peacemakers from Palestine, Nigeria, Philippines, Pakistan and Netherlands who oppressive structures and personal and health emergencies prevented from being able to come and take part in this training.

Chicago Training team poses in front of a banner "50 years od suffering - US-Israeli occupation of Palestine

On 21 July training participants alongside CPT members and supporters carried out a public witness action to encourage consumers to stop buying products that supoort occupation of Palestine.

July 27th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) A week in photos July 18-24

A week of occupation in photos: July 18 - July 24
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"Day of Rage"

Pictured here: Two Red Cresent Society ambulances wait to transfer injured to hospitals as clashes erupted across the occupied West Bank on the Day of RageJuly 21, 2017.  Palestinians are protesting new Israeli security measures at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif complex. In Hebron, Palestinians gathered at the Hussein Stadium for Friday prayer. Following prayer, CPT witnessed clashes that erupted from Bab al-Zawiya, and reached the area of the Hebron governmental hospital. CPT observed Israeli soldiers who took over the roof tops of several Palestinian homes and turned them into temporary military posts, where the soldiers shot tear-gas, rubber-coated bullets, and live ammunition at Palestinians.
 
 (July 21, 2017)

July 24th

GREECE REFLECTION: The Tree with the Ten Fruits; conversations with a boy named Sina at Pikpa.

CPTnet

24 July 2017

GREECE REFLECTION: The Tree with the Ten Fruits; conversations with a boy named Sina at Pikpa. 

by: Rûnbîr Serkepkanî

Sina does not believe in the standardized definition of things. His mind does not comprehend standardized frameworks. He understands life as flowing — flowing into dreams, trees, animals and seas. He is passionate about planting. Outside his family’s house he has sown dozens of flowers, herbs and other plants in little pots. Once I was sitting on the bench outside the office. And he came up to me with one of them. “I planted this!” he says, “I love planting”. Chicki, one of the dogs of the camp, is present, and Sina tries to feed Chicki with the plant. Chicki is not really interested.

After he sailed to Athens with his family for his interview at the asylum office, he came back full of new impressions and ideas about things. He trots past me once riding on a stick. “Is that your new horse, Sina?” I ask him. He stops and wipes the sweat from his brow with his arm. “No, it is not,” he said, “It is my new train”. Then he approaches me. “We went to Athens by ferry. The ferry was so big. We went to the top of the ferry and the sea was all around us,” he exults. “How was Athens?” I ask. “Athens is too crowded. We went by train. It is like a big snake which goes under the ground. We went inside it and it took us all the way to my uncle's place,” he replies. “I have to get on my train again,” he finishes. Then he rides off aboard his train.

Lesvos