CPTnet

CPTnet is the news service of CPT, providing daily news updates, reports, reflections, prayer requests and action alerts.

 

LESVOS REFLECTION: Into the night sea; waiting for the refugees to arrive across the sea

CPTnet

6 November 2017

LESVOS REFLECTION: Into the night sea; waiting for the refugees to arrive across the sea

by Michael Himlie

As a Christian Peacemaker Team member (CPTer) on Lesvos, I worked on the Night Watch, monitoring vessels in the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece, and awaiting refugees to arrive on Greek shore in the night. While the other Night Watch volunteers are just as intimately focused on the care, rights, and well-being of the refugees crossing as I am, it was hardly ever talked about on an individual basis as we sat through the night together. Typically the conversations consisted of the number of refugees crossing, the conditions of Moria, changes in Greek or European Union (EU) laws and regulations, where boats need to land or where the smugglers launch them. Never do we talk about refugees as individuals. Perhaps this is a coping mechanism for some of the Night Watch volunteers who have been through many arrivals, some of them traumatic. I still look into the night sea and view individual lives on the other side.

Beach 1

When I look into the Aegean night sea between midnight and morning, I am almost always tired, and as the weather turns unfriendly, I’m rather cold. Through the binoculars I see the glimmering lights of the Turkish coast and a few vessels: cargo, coast guard, fishing boats, and maybe some rubber dinghies carrying refugees. Monitoring the patterns and actions of the coast guard boats gives us a good idea whether there is a refugee boat that the coast guard is harassing, illegally pushing back to Turkey or picking up. Meanwhile, in the back of my mind, I am thinking: “oh what I would do for a cup of coffee.”

However, the night on the Turkish coast, from the stories of refugees, is vastly contrary to that of mine on the Greek side, and far more horrifying. Refugees pay smugglers thousands of Euros each to cross just fifteen kilometers of water. They have no guarantee that they will make it to EU soil. Usually the boat is meant to hold only fifteen people on a river, not 70 or more people in open water. If they are lucky, ahead of them lies a detention center with strict and changing policies for asylum case procedures. But they do not know this.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 2 November 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 2 November 2017

Pray that the new path that Iraq and other countries forced Kurdistan to undertake will not lead to spiraling violence, but rather guide its people to new structures of life and sustainable freedom.   

There is very little hope left in Iraqi Kurdistan. In a month since the referendum on independence, Kurdish people in Iraq lost most of what they have struggled for and gained in 25 years. To punish people who voted in an overwhelming majority that one day they would like to live in an independent country, the Iraqi military alongside brutal militia forces supported by Turkey and Iran invaded and took control of around 50% of the territory Kurdish forces controlled. The reports speak of killed civilians, rape of a mother and daughter, arbitrary arrest of youth, destroyed and pillaged Kurdish homes, and mass displacement. The militias presence threatens also Christian and Yezidi peoples who have just recently returned from their exile caused by ISIS to rebuild their towns.

To isolate Kurdistan and further instill its dominance, Iraq banned all international flights to/from Kurdistan and took control over the land border crossings with Turkey, Iran and Syria. Turkish airstrikes in the border regions continue to endanger shepherds and farmers. CPT partners fled their villages because of massive Iranian troops movements in the mountains.

The silence and seeming approval of the USA and other foreign powers shocked, and broke hearts of, our partners and friends. Many people blame Massoud Barzani - since two days ago, a former president of Iraqi Kurdistan - for the downfall due to his role in the referendum process and inability to create a united and inclusive government. On the other hand, Barzani's supporters attacked the Parliament building, wounded journalists and torched offices of rival political parties. Members of Christian Peacemaker Teams fear an ignition of a civil war between different Kurdistan's parties and fractions.    

Boy points at Kurdistan flag, text reads: There is no peace without self-governance

As people of peace around the world, let us pray and engage with even more energy in the work for peace. Not a peace that would uphold the oppressive structures and attitudes, dominance or status quo. But peace that will become a moving force of liberation of hearts and minds, of people's dreams, and of land. Let us pray that hostilities between the Iraqi and the Kurdish armies, as well as among various fractions cease. Let us pray for protection of families and communities at risk of being targeted by armed groups. Let us demand that Iraq, the USA, and other powerful governments support the peoples' aspirations for self-governance and dreams of freedom. Please pray for the CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team and its partners in these difficult times. New hope has emerged that this new order would ignite new lights of transformation for Kurdistan and its internal structures; that new Kurdistan will rise from the ashes of the old.

Learn more about the situation from the perspective of CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team here and here.

COLOMBIA: Celebrating Resistance

CPTnet

31 October 2017

COLOMBIA: Celebrating Resistance

by Carolina Gouveia

Doña Fanny Garcia

Doña Fany García, co-founder of Cahucopana, while planting in memory of the victims killed from her region. “Forgive is not to forget, it is to not allow history to repeat itself." Photo: Caldwell Manners

September 17 was a long day. We woke up early and traveled to Remedios, Antioquia where we met a caravan of about 30 people who were also preparing for the long journey of another 6 hours until the village of Lejanías. Joy and energy were palpable during this long ride. People were loud, singing and even dancing. The reason for the party may seem odd at first: Cahucopana (Corporation for Humanitarian Action, Peace and Coexistence of North-Eastern Antioquia) was recognized as a subject of collective reparation by the Unit for Attention and Reparation of Victims of the conflict in Colombia. They were celebrating that the state recognizes them as victims. It seems absurd but it makes sense.

The conflict in Colombia lasted more than 50 years. Many people lost their lives. Many lost sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. Many of them do not know what happened to their family members. According to the Victims Unit, Colombia has 8,532,636 direct and indirect victims of the armed conflict.

In 2016, the peace agreement between the FARC, formerly known as Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and the state created the Integral System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition. This system exists in order to guarantee that what happened during the conflict will never happen again. One of its mechanisms is the recognition of individual and collective victims, such as the organization Cahucopana. Upon being recognized as victims, the process of reparation begins. Depending on the context, it may include restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction, which means the verification of the facts and full and public disclosure of the truth, and guarantees of non-repetition.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 26 October 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 26 October 2017

Pray for refugees who are protesting against horrible living conditions and asking for protection as winter comes to Lesvos. Pray that their demands would be heard and for the CPT team that accompanies them.   

CPT-Lesvos accompanies refugees who have been protesting for six days in the main square of Mytilene against their confinement on Lesvos and the inhumane conditions of the overcrowded Moria camp. The winter is quickly approaching and the camp lacks basic services and adequate protection from the cold weather and winds that will hit the island soon. Last winter, people died of hypothermia. 

Snow covering tents in Moria
Refugees in the cold: The EU hotspot Moria on Lesbos, January 7th, 2017. Photo: Twitter / @GiorgosKosmop.


The police have harassed and threatened the protesting refugees and given them false promises. Children, women and men responded by singing. When a heavy rain came pouring down, people of solidarity in Mytilene mobilized to provide raincoats and shelters.

Please pray that the Greek and European Union authorities would hear and acknowledge voices demanding protection and respectful living conditions for people who fled war and other forms of suffering. Pray for the members of CPT on Lesvos who provide accompaniment and daily presence at the protests and advocate for respect and freedom for those who came hoping to find safety and better lives. Let us pray and work together for open and caring hearts and open borders during crossing of which no one else will ever die again.   

Children from Lesvos 

 #Opentheislands  #Winteriscoming

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) A week in photos October 17-23

 

Multiple Home Raids

 
Pictured here: After it was alleged an Israeli child was hit by a rock by a Palestinian whilst swimming in Abraham's Well, Israeli Forces conducted house to house raids in the Carantina neighbourhood, adjacent to Tel Rumeida. Over 60 soldiers stormed Palestinian homes with families present, breaking down doors and in some cases remaining in the houses for over an hour. Frightened children looked on unaware as to why the Israeli soldiers were present.

(10/21/2017)