Signs of the Times: Fall 2004, Vol. XIV, No. 4


Contents

 

 

HEBRON: BEATEN BUT NOT DESTROYED

“But this treasure we possess is in earthen vessels, to make it clear that its surpassing power comes from God and not from us. We are...struck down, but never destroyed. Continually we carry about in our bodies the death of Jesus, so that in our bodies the life of Jesus may also be revealed.” - 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

CPTers walk Palestinian children from the
village of Tuba to their school in at-Tuwani.

On September 29, 2004, Israeli settlers attacked CPTers Chris Brown and Kim Lamberty as they walked Palestinian children to school between the villages of Tuba and at-Tuwani in the southern Hebron District.

The attackers wore black clothes and masks and came from a settlement outpost called Ma’on Ranch. They did not pursue the school children who fled back towards their homes in Tuba, although the team later learned that settlers had thrown rocks at them. Instead, the men attacked Brown and Lamberty.

“I don’t remember much of the actual beating, or feeling any pain while it was happening,” Lamberty wrote later. “I remember thinking to myself that if I just lie very still and pretend that I am unconscious or dead, maybe they will go away. I also remember hearing Chris scream, realizing that he was taking a much worse beating and knowing that there was nothing that I could do for him.”

Lamberty recalled hearing one of the attackers say in English, “Get her phone,” then someone grabbed the cell phone and her fanny pack containing money and her passport.

By the time the settlers were finished, Lamberty had a broken arm and a damaged right knee. Brown, whom the settlers beat with bats and chains, suffered a collapsed lung.

Brown called teammate Diane Janzen, who soon arrived with a member of Operation Dove, an Italian peace group. Thirty minutes passed before Israeli police and soldiers responded to Brown’s call for help.

Meanwhile, a settler security person pulled up and asked what had happened. He did not offer any assistance, telling them instead that the settlers had attacked them because they had “upset the balance of power” between the Palestinians and the settlers.

Paramedics eventually took Brown and Lamberty to Soroka hospital in Beersheva where doctors treated their injuries.

The next morning, CPTers once again accompanied children to school in at-Tuwani. Israeli police and soldiers were on hand to provide security, but another squad of soldiers drove into at-Tuwani and told the villagers that CPT was endangering their children. They warned that if the children continued to walk near the Ma’on settlement, there would be worse violence. When CPT accompanied the children home after school, an Israeli lieutenant forced them to take a ten-kilometer detour.


Ten days after the first attack, on October 9, settlers struck again as CPTers Diane Janzen and Diana Zimmerman were walking with three Palestinian men, an Operation Dove member and two field researchers from Amnesty International. Three settlers with slingshots hurled stones at the Palestinians while another five attacked the accompaniment team. They hit Janzen and Amnesty worker Donatella Rovera with wooden sticks, then beat the Operation Dove member and stole his video camera.

Once again, the police did not arrive until thirty-five minutes after the internationals called for help.

CPT, Operation Dove and the Israeli peace group, Ta’ayush, originally set up the accompaniment project in mid-September after residents from four small villages reported that settlers repeatedly harassed their children going to a central school in at-Tuwani.

In the past, settlers from Ma’on have stoned Palestinian villagers, destroyed their crops, killed their livestock and poisoned their water supplies. CPT’s connection to the area dates back to 1996 when Hebron team members provided accompaniment for farmers harvesting their wheat.

The Sharon government previously dismantled Ma’on Ranch, the small outpost near Ma’on settlement, in a widely publicized move back in 1999. However, the media did not report that settlers re-established the outpost less than a year later.

The Israeli military continues to blame CPT, Ta’ayush and Operation Dove for the violence. “As soon as the peace activists are gone,” an Israeli military spokesperson told the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, on October 15, 2004, “things will calm down.”

Brown, Lamberty and Janzen are recovering well from their injuries and continue working with the team in Hebron and the south Hebron hills.

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“MANY ATTACKS BUT NO ONE KNEW”

Settler attacks on international peace workers accompanying Palestinian school children focused a media spotlight on the south Hebron hills. The flurry of attention prompted the head of the Israeli Civil (Military) Authority for the southern West Bank to meet with Palestinian villagers on October 31 and listen to their concerns.

According to village leaders, this was the first time such a high-ranking occupation official ever visited. “This meeting didn’t happen on its own,” they told CPTers. “We have had problems, and many attacks by settlers for years, but no one outside knew. You have brought us attention. Thank you for being here. Please thank all the Israeli and international peace groups whose help made this visit happen.”

Among the Palestinians’ complaints are severely restricted access to water and electricity; an Israeli military “stop work order” on the health clinic they are building; and Israeli military road blocks preventing travel to nearby cities for work and commerce.

HEBRON ACTION

Please inform your elected officials about the recent Israeli settler attacks on CPTers and ongoing harassment of Palestinian villagers in the south Hebron hills. Urge them to contact their State Department or Foreign Ministry and the Israeli Embassy with the following questions: What is the Israeli government doing to 1) protect the human rights and dignity of Palestinians living near the Ma’on settlement; and 2) prevent Ma’on settler violence and harassment of Palestinians and inter- nationals? For U.S. citizens, ask “Why is Con- gress providing aid to Israel which is used to build and expand settlements in occupied Palestinian territories?”

Use the following links to find your legislators:

  • U.S. Congress: http://www.house.gov/writerep
  • U.S. Senate: http://www.senate.gov
  • Canadian Parliament: http://www.parl.gc.ca

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AT-TUWANI: DRINKING TEA

by Maia Williams

The wind pulled itself over me like a thin cotton sheet the day after settlers attacked my friends and the Palestinian children of Tuba.

The little hand of one girl, Miriam, trembled with trust inside mine as we walked across the stark mountains to her school in at-Tuwani. She walked surefooted over the rocks on which I stumbled. Her nightmares lived in a dense forest which divided her home from her school.

During the crescent moons, I watched the summer become fall in the desert mountains and the sand flies linger in the house past dark. The nights looked like a tea glass, steam misting the sky.

I have drunk tea in ancient stone houses, concrete houses, tents, caves, on dirt roads, on mountains, in valleys, with sheepherders, with farmers, with women rocking babies, with old women weaving on wooden looms. I have drunk tea with little girls imitating their mothers. I have drunk tea while being taught Arabic, while teaching people English, while swatting flies, while sharing cigarettes, while eating taboon bread, while singing, while listening, while watching television at night and not understanding a word of the dialogue. I have sat underneath olive groves, drinking tea, and laughing while villagers shared stories about their mothers, their children being attacked by settlers.

Every house in this village had a demolition order and every day the men continued to construct new homes and drink hot zatar tea. Every year the women continued to give birth to children, bake fresh bread, and organize themselves in order that their daughters were safe and educated.

At-Tuwani was not an ideal, perfect village. It was a raw paradise. Beauty and violence spiraled around each other like waft and weave, like moths circling a light bulb.

Beyond ideals, there is ordinary life. On the edge of the world courage lies in surviving, because living is the most challenging act one can do in the face of childhood nightmares and annihilation.

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CPTer Jerry Levin holds a sign in
Wadi El Ghrous near Hebron. Israel
plans to build the “Separation Wall”
in this area of the West Bank.

HEBRON: LOOKING FOR HOPE

by Doug Pritchard

“When we are crushed like grapes, we cannot think of the wine we will become. Then we need to be reminded that our cup of sorrow is also our cup of joy and that one day we will be able to taste the joy as fully as we now taste the sorrow.” - Henri Nouwen

I have asked everyone I have met here in Palestine whether they have hope for the future and an end to this conflict. Most still say yes. There are still weddings and dancing in Hebron, even though unemployment and closures have delayed or restricted them.

Atta Jabber is living in the third home he has built in the Beqa’a Valley east of Hebron. The two previous ones were demolished by Israel for “lack of a permit,” which Israel almost never issues to Palestinians. Most of his family’s farmland in the valley has been confiscated for Israeli settlements.

Yet Atta says, “We always have hope. Our faith in God sustains us. We have always lived under occupation - Babylonian, Egyptian, Roman, Ottoman, British, Jordanian, now Israeli. But we survive. The refugees of 1948 still keep the keys to their houses in Haifa and Acre on their walls. We must hope.”

This stubborn hope reminded me that the Jews, through the centuries in the ghettoes and pogroms and finally the Holocaust, kept promising each other, “Next year, in Jerusalem.”

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HEBRON: CPTERS ARRESTED

Israeli police arrested CPTers Joe Carr and Christina Gibb at the Beit Romano military checkpoint near the old city of Hebron on November 4. They had been taking notes for an hour as part of CPT’s checkpoint watch, an effort to document the number of Palestinians whom Israeli soldiers detain at checkpoints.

Gibb and Carr were recording these statistics, as team members had for the previous two weeks, in full view of the military. The soldiers confiscated their log books and held their passports. Police arrived shortly thereafter and took them to the nearby Kiryat Arba police station.

The team asked the U.S. consulate and the New Zealand trade emissary to intervene. Police released the CPTers five hours later with no charges. Recently, CPTers have been under increased scrutiny by the Israeli police, army, and intelligence service.

Hebron team members September-November were: Lu Ann Brooker (Thomasburg, ON), Chris Brown (San Francisco, CA), Cal Carpenter (Minneapolis, MN), Joe Carr (Kansas City, MO), Christina Gibb (Dunedin, New Zealand), Bob Holmes (Toronto, ON), Maureen Jack (Fife, Scotland), Diane Janzen (Calgary, AB), Kathy Kamphoefner (Jerusalem), Bourke Kennedy (Skaneateles, NY), Nicholas Klassen (Ft. Langley, BC), Kim Lamberty (Washington, DC), Jerry Levin (Birmingham, AL), John Lynes (Sussex, England), Rich Meyer (Millersburg, IN), Paul Pierce (Jerusalem), Char Smith (Gibson City, IL), Maia Williams (Dale City, VA), Diana Zimmerman (Baltimore, MD), and intern Anna Bachman (Pt. Townsend, Wa). Hebron delegates were: September 27-October 9: Dorothy Gerner (Indianapolis, IN), J. Robin King (Grand Rap- ids, MI), Judith King (Indianapolis, IN), Timothy King (Indianapolis, IN), Paul-Philip Michelson, (Huntington, IN); November 22-December 4: Jonathan and Sarah Claassen (Winkler, MB), Bob Gross (N. Manchester, IN), Amy Knickrehm (Chicago, IL), Val Knickrehm (Goshen, IN), Nathan Lichti (Listowel, ON), Carol Long (Edmond, OK), Michael McMurray (Cleveland Heights, OH), Pat Minor-Nidley (W. Branch, IA), Denis Murphy (Chicago, IL), Neal Musselman (Roanoke, VA), Rachel Peterson (Kettering, OH), Carol Rose (Chicago, IL), Robert Schnepp, (Beaverton, MI), Luna Villota (New York, NY).

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COLOMBIA: SILENCED DREAMS

On September 6, 2004, Ancizar Giraldo was shot in the head by paramilitaries in the community of Los Yeques on the Opón River where CPT-Colombia works. CPTers and community members knew him as a hard-working man, dedicated to his wife and four young children, tirelessly tending the crops and animals on his small farm.

His unexplained murder struck renewed terror in the hearts of those living in Los Yeques and the neighboring village of La Florida. Yet many of the communities’ residents made it clear that fleeing their homes, thereby joining the ranks of nearly three million internally displaced people in Colombia, was not an option.

Words from Ancizar’s eulogy expressed their conviction: “This death begs us not to keep silent...Now is the time for us to raise our

voices, to continue working together as a community...so that this death will not be in vain.”

Following Ancizar’s funeral in the nearby city of Barrancabermeja, grieving community members issued a public statement condemning his assassination:

“Once again the ghost of death has reappeared in the village of Los Yeques...where Ancizar Giraldo, a farmer, father, husband, and friend, was assassinated. He believed in the value of life, liberty and dignity which led him to participate in our community’s peace process. All his dreams were silenced by a group of approximately 20 armed men...of the self-defense forces [paramilitaries]...

“Ancizar’s assassination is one of many acts of violence, including killings, disappearances and open combat, that we have experienced since returning to our homes on May 31, 2001 [after fleeing violent attacks in 2000]... The frequent presence of illegal armed groups produces fear. Our families face an uncertain future.

“Despite our fear, as an affirmation of life, we have made the decision not to displace... Today, more than ever, we call upon the illegal armed actors to respect us as organized civilians because all we want is to live in peace, rooted to our land.

“We urge the government to take necessary measures to assure that the illegal armed groups leave us out of their war...and respect our fundamental rights, especially the right to life.”

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LIFE, LIBERTY, DIGNITY

CPT-Colombia accompanies returned internal refugees in several villages a-long the Opón River in the Ciénaga del Opón township where government military forces, left-wing guerillas and right-wing paramilitary groups operate.

Earlier this year, residents of Los Yeques and La Florida united to launch a bold community initiative called the “Process for Life, Liberty and Dignity of the Ciénaga del Opón.” This initiative, supported by local peace, development, and human rights groups from the nearby city of Barrancabermeja, provides a holistic framework for community members to 1) publicly insist that armed actors in the region respect their right to live in peace and 2) organize to bring about much-needed economic development in the area.

Engaging in this process can carry significant risks. Atrocities such as the September assassination of Ancizar Giraldo present a formidable test to people’s faith and strength of conviction. CPT is humbled and honored to accompany these courageous brothers and sisters in this journey.

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COLOMBIA: PRAYER ACTION

Since May, 2001, when some 100 displaced families began to return home to the Opón River, seven community members, three sol- diers, one paramilitary, and three civilian workers have been killed in their villages.

People are very concerned because the government is providing no protection from illegal armed groups and they feel that they could be killed any day. “How many more must die!?” they ask, before government authorities make sufficient commitments to protect these fragile communities.

Please join with people of faith from Colombia, Canada, the United States and elsewhere in praying for an end to the years of violence in the communities of Los Yeques and La Florida. Please send the following prayer to political leaders who impact the situation in which they live:

• Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Vélez (Fax: 011-571-342-0592); • Barrancaber- meja Mayor Edgar Cotes (Fax: 011-577- 622-9091); • Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Pierre Pettigrew (Fax: 613-995-9926); • U.S. Senator Richard Lugar - Chair, Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Fax: 202-228-0360); • U.S. Secretary of State Collin Powell (Fax: 202-647-2283).

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PRAYER FOR PEACE IN THE OPÓN

God, we pray together as people of faith in Colombia, Canada, the United States, and around the world. Hear our cry during these dark times in the Opón River communities of Los Yeques and La Florida. Grant the people of these rural farming villages strength as they remember the

seven brothers, fathers and sons that have been killed by illegal armed groups in the past three years. Fill them with courage to face the fear of ongoing threats and violence.

We know, God, that “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it,” (John 1:5). We pray that the light of love may shine in all our hearts as we struggle to reject violence and embrace nonviolence.

We pray that the light of compassion may shine in the hearts of all political leaders, and especially in the hearts of Alvaro Uribe Vélez (President of Colomiba), Edgar Cotes (Mayor of Barrancabermeja), Collin Powell (U.S. Secretary of State), Richard Lugar (Chair, U.S. Senate Foreign Rela- tions Committee), and Pierre Pettigrew (Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs), that they may redouble their efforts to end the war and displacement and all the pain it causes.

We pray that the light of understanding may shine in the hearts of all involved in the armed struggle; that as victims of war and children of God, they may awaken to all the suffering being wrought by this violence and that they too may find healing and new lives of hope and reconciliation.

We also pray in thanksgiving for all the people in the Opón, Barrancabermeja, and Colombia who valiantly work to create a loving peace, that they may feel embraced and supported in their difficult struggle. Amen.

For Spanish go to www.cpt.org/archives/2004/sep04/0032.html

 

¡GRACIAS!

CPT-Colombia sends heartfelt thanks to everyone who sent prayers and condolences in the wake of Ancizar Giraldo’s assassination. We shared over fifty letters with his family and community. Your response to prayer and action alerts deepens the effectiveness of our work. Thank you for continuing to hold the people of Colombia in your prayers.

Colombia team members, delegates, and interns September - November were:
Adaía Bernal (Colombia), Rafael Boria (Chicago, IL), Martha Brimm (Durham, NC), Suzanna Collerd (River Forest, IL), Dan Dale (Chicago, IL), Jenny Dillon (Washington, DC), Duane Ediger (Chicago, IL), Jim Fitz (Tiskilwa, IL), Carmen Kingsley (Elkhart, IN), Erin Kindy (Tiskilwa, IL), Elaine Klemen (Chicago, IL), Jessica Phillips (N. Newton, KS), Sandra Rincón (Colombia), Chris Schweitzer (Fairfield, CT), Pierre Shantz (Blainville, QC), Adrian Tann (Chicago, IL), John Volkening (Sawyer, MI), Dwayne and Andrea Wenger Hess (Baltimore, MD), Mat- thew Wiens (Winnipeg, MB), Keith Young (Gobles, MI).

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DIALOGUE

In Dialogue, we highlight exchanges from our web site and e-mail networks regarding CPT’s vision and peacemaking ministry.

Following the beatings of Chris Brown and Kim Lamberty by Israeli settlers (see page 1), CPT was cradled in the care of supporters as expressed through hundreds of e-mail messages, including offers to help pay hospital bills.

Some who heard the news sent harshly critical messages as well. Most of these writers declined to grant CPT permission to publish their comments. Some asserted that CPT’s actions support terrorism; others suggested CPTers would be safer if they would stay out of the way.

Jennifer Kuiper, Bethlehem (friend of Chris Brown): I imagine the reactions that can rise up in people's minds, tricking us into creating permission for such incidents: “It’s a war;” “There are acts of violence on both sides;” “What were those crazy peace activists doing there anyway?” “If Palestinians wouldn’t go around blowing up Israelis, none of this would happen.” “Some people are just plain bad but there isn’t anything deeper going on than that.”

But there is something much deeper going on here. Civilian, third-party peace workers, who do not work for or against Israelis or Palestinians but in solidarity with nonviolence, walking with farmers’ children from their homes to school, are being beaten and left for dead. What is it in this world that allows these incidents to not just occur as isolated events but to grow into patterns and routine?

As long as the children wish to go to school, CPT will walk beside them. And together, the children and accompaniers will demonstrate for all of us the courage and strength of a nonviolent resistance to those who would prefer to see us dead. It is a different image of “hero” than the head-banded martyr holding his Kalashnikov or the uniformed soldier with his M-16 rifle, both waving their respective flags and willing to die to protect the ones they love. In the end, this alternative response holds hope for all sides and all children, regardless of leadership, borders and faith.

Duane Bartlett, Hartford, CT: To hold up an olive branch to a fanatic with an AK-47 is foolishness; especially when you are standing in the line of fire towards your children! Make no mistake, Palestine is the modern day version of WWII Germany, and you are perpetuating the cause of Hitler! Genocide!

Rebecca Dyck, Montreal, QC: I feel very strongly that Kim and Chris are out there suffering these attacks on my behalf. From the Peace & Justice Committee of the Mennonite Fellowship of Montreal, know that we are praying for your safety, as well as for the attackers to realize the errors of their ways.

Name withheld by request: As an American Jewish woman who follows the news from Israel very closely, I am horrified that the settlers would attack your people in such a savage way. Thank you so much for the work you are doing to bring peace to the Middle East. I wish that Muslims and Jews could work our difficult relationship out together but sometimes a third party is needed to guide the long trek towards peace.

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IRAQ: TEAM STAYS IN BAGHDAD

Recent kidnapping of international humanitarian aid workers has pressed CPT’s team in Baghdad to reassess the effect of continuing a presence there.

After heavily-armed men seized two Italian women and their two Iraqi colleagues from their home September 7, CPT’s small team followed local advice and stayed indoors for several days. The four aid workers, who were part of a humanitarian agency called A Bridge to Baghdad, were eventually released.

An Iraqi friend called the incident a “new step” aimed at foreigners. “It means no one is safe,” he said. Iraq’s Coordinating Committee for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) advised all foreigners to leave the country immediately.

IRAQ: IRON THICKETS

by Greg Rollins

rebar begs

with concrete flowers

in a desert garden tilled by rage

once dried by sanctions

such iron thickets

now bloom in bombed cities

where freedom has rained

sun soaked in dust

stubborn and bitter

the thickets will surrender

into brambles of rust


The October 19 abduction of Margaret Hassan (Iraq director of Care International and friend of CPT) intensified the team’s difficult discernment.

CPT’s local contacts have given a full spectrum of feedback. One advisor felt personally that the team should pull out of Iraq. “However,” he added, “it is better for us if you [foreign NGO workers] stay.”

CPT personnel are among the few foreigners in Iraq who are not part of the occupation’s security apparatus, overseas contractors, or media. “As such we provide an important alternative witness, a voice for nonviolence, and a resource for organizations and individuals building civil society in Iraq,” reports CPT Co-Director Doug Pritchard.

Team members continue to lie low and check in regularly with local partners. For now they say, “As long as the majority of our local base keeps their invitation open, we plan to stay and press on.”

Reflecting on the decision to stay, team member Matt Chandler said:

We can’t predict what might result if we were kidnapped or killed by insurgents or terrorists trying to use us as bargaining chips for their violent agendas. The Multinational Force (MNF) or Iraqi National Guard could spin it right around to justify retaliatory strikes or mass detentions of Iraqis. The news media would likely demonize any group who would hurt us, which could feed public support for the MNF’s excessively forceful military campaigns.

Nevertheless, we have decided to remain here at this time because we are still able to open doors with international authorities to help Iraqis work against injustice and violence, and because we envision a future in which we will be able to do this work more openly.

We understand that staying in Iraq despite our vulnerability as foreigners provides encouragement to Iraqi peacemakers. Perhaps we are getting closer to solidarity, and perhaps in doing so we can learn important lessons in nonviolence.

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IRAQ: NONVIOLENT PROCESSION TO NAJAF

by David Milne


Thousands of Iraqis fill the roads in a nonviolent procession to Najaf.

Tens of thousands of Iraqi men, young and old, sang and danced as eight lanes of traffic streamed toward Najaf on August 26. CPTers Greg Rollins, Peggy Gish and David Milne joined the procession of bus- es, cars, and flatbed trucks along the desert highway. They followed the path of the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani who had passed by not more than an hour before.

For weeks, American marines had been attacking the Mehdi militia who had occupied the shrine of Ali at the center of the old city of Najaf. Al-Sistani had called on Iraqis to converge on Najaf in a massive nonviolent effort to bring a peaceful solution to the bloody conflict and to reclaim their holy site.

The CPTers traveled with a representative of its partner group, Iraqi Human Rights Watch-Kerbala (IHRW-K). They heard occasional shots as they approached a checkpoint leading to the old city. At an intersection, near the checkpoint, they learned that Iraqi police had killed four Iraqis who tried to pass through less than two hours earlier.

CPT’s partners from IHRW-K decided not to proceed beyond the checkpoint and team members followed their lead. Streams of bullets whistled nearby and ricocheted off concrete as their vehicles left the area.

Later, the IHRW-K representative told CPT that, though he felt sad that Iraqi police had killed his countrymen, he also felt joy, hope, and confidence that the Iraqi people had made a new beginning -- they turned out in massive numbers and acted peacefully to help end the violence.

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IRAQ: GOD IS OUR BODYGUARD

by Mabel V. Brunk, Reservist

I entered a U.S. military base near Baghdad along with my teammate, Peggy Gish, our Iraqi translator and an Iraqi man who needed information about his imprisoned uncle. A soldier stopped us at a security checkpoint and asked, “Are they [the Iraqis] your body- guards?” Our translator promptly re- sponded, “God is our bodyguard.”

Bodyguard. From whom do we need protection? We have a choice: to look on all persons around us as potential enemies, intent on harming us, or to see others as our broth- ers and sisters, made in the image of God, waiting to be our friends.

Choosing God as our bodyguard changes our inner selves, enabling us to see others as our brothers and sisters. God offers protection for our whole be- ing - body, mind, and spirit.


Iraq team members September - November were:
Mabel Brunk (Goshen, IN), Matt Chandler (Springfield, OR), Tom Fox (Springfield, VA), Peggy Gish (Athens, OH), Cliff Kindy (N. Manchester, IN), David Milne (Belleville, ON), Maxine Nash (Waukon, IA), Sheila Provencher (South Bend, IN), Greg Rollins (Surrey, BC).

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KENORA /ASUBPEESCHOSEEWAGONG: TEAM IN TRANSITION

by Jim Loney

It was in the bone-chilling temperatures of December 2002 when the Anishinaabe community of Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows, in northwestern Ontario) began to blockade the clear-cutting of their traditional lands by the multinational corporation Abitibi Consolidated.

The community invited CPT to stand with them at the blockade in order to help prevent violence from angry loggers or the Ontario Provincial Police. Many people from Grassy Narrows feel CPT’s presence contributed significantly to the blockade’s success.

In Spring 2003, the Grassy Narrows band, executives from Abitibi, and government officials initiated negotiations; some clear-cutting continues on parts of Grassy Narrows’ territory as the talks inch along.

CPT has learned a great deal in the course of this project. Most importantly, those of us who are descendants of European settlers who killed, displaced and attempted to assimilate the First Nations of the Americas have had to confront the fact that we are an integral part of an ongoing system of colonizing aboriginal people. The occupation and destruction of Anishinaabe lands for cheap newsprint is simply the most recent expression of a centuries-long campaign of cultural genocide.

Now that the threat of overt violence at the blockade has passed, CPT’s project is entering a new phase. In August, the team moved into the nearby town of Kenora. Due to ongoing street violence against Aboriginal people, Grassy Narrows community members do not feel safe when they come to Kenora to buy groceries.

In order to reduce street violence, CPT plans to facilitate anti-racism training and activism, develop a Grassy Narrows solidarity group in Kenora, and support the Grassy Narrows community in their struggle to assert and defend their treaty rights.

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KENORA: CLEAR-CUT CHOIR

Rewritten hymns about clear cutting and relations between First Nations and non-First Nations rang across Market Square in downtown Kenora, ON, on September 10. A CPT delegation joined with allies of the Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) First Nation to form a Clear-Cut Choir, singing songs such as “Clear-cutting Hurts Both You and Me,” (tune: “Amazing Grace) and “We Value the Land,” (tune: “Revive Us Again”).


On September 30, participants in the Ontario regional CPT training formed another “Clear-Cut Choir” in front of the Ministry of Natural Resources in Toronto.

While members of the group set up banners and passed out leaflets, six trainees entered Minister David Ramsay's office to witness, pray, and deliver a letter urging the province to address the situation at Grassy Narrows.

“Through our singing we voice support for the stand the Grassy Narrows people are taking to preserve the forests and their way of life,” said delegate Katja Sander-Rehm. In the previous week, CPT delegates learned about the struggle that Grassy Narrows has undergone with Montreal-based pulp and paper company, Abitibi Consolidated over clear-cutting in their traditional territory.

Delegate Margaret Hoskins, who turned eighty during the trip, said, “What an ongoing tragedy this must be in the hearts of the people who have lived in this forest for generations who have no control over what is happening to their lands.” After returning home, Hoskins said, “I gained an understanding of my own, and my forbears’ contribution to racism and colonization. As a result I plan to research and write about the Blackhawk Warriors whose trail crossed the farmland where I grew up.”

Participants in the witness engaged passersby in conversation about clear cutting and the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. Many had never heard of the blockade.

“It is important to talk to people in the mainstream culture about these issues,” said delegate Charlie Clark. “Clear-cutting vast tracts of people’s traditional hunting, fishing, and trapping grounds to create junk mail and huge daily newspapers in Canada and the United States is not acceptable. It is time for the newcomers to this land to look at how we can change our ways to make more room for those whose land we have occupied to live their lives.”

 

DIALOGUE ON RACISM

CPTers in Asubpeeschoseewagong/Kenora struggle with questions of how to create a safe, multi-cultural space for a multi-racial team; how to interpret structural violence-reduction to our con- stituencies; how to be part of the on-going struggle of the Grassy Narrows community; how to develop a long-term team with the skills to expose and dismantle the violence of colonialism and racism, etc. Team members invite your comments and reflections on these questions. Please post your comments on CPT.D, CPT’s on-line discussion forum (see back page to subscribe) or write to the team at cptgn@kmts.ca,.


Asubpeeschoseewagong/Kenora team members Septem- ber-November were:
Kristin Anderson (Willmar, MN), Rebecca Johnson, Jim Loney, Doug Pritchard, (all of Toronto, ON), Jerry Park (Mt. Ranier, MD), Stephani Sakanee (Chicago, IL), Matt Schaaf (Winnipeg, MB), Kristyn Thurman (Camarillo, CA). Delegates Sept\ember 3-12 were: Sally Britton (Norwich, VT), Charlie Clark (Saskatoon, SK), Tara Gibbs (St. Paul, MN), Margaret Hoskins (Mt. Vernon, OH), Katja Sander-Rehm, (Greenville, NY), Paul Rehm (Greenville, NY), Paul Neufeld Weaver (Worthington, MN).

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ARIZONA: “TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!”

Physically separated by a 15-foot high wrought iron fence, two dozen people worshipped as one people along the U.S.-Mexico border August 24. At the “wall” that U.S. authorities constructed to divide the cities of Douglas, Arizona and Agua Prieta, Mexico, CPTers joined with local partners, visitors, and residents in reading scripture, praying, and singing together in both English and Spanish.

Participants passed copies of a liturgy based on Luke 10 through the fence so that all could worship together on the theme: “Who is my neighbor?” A Border Patrol officer watched from his truck.

Worshippers tied banners to the fence which read, “Mr. President, tear down this wall!” recalling a quote by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan referring to the Berlin Wall. People climbed onto the fence from both sides to attach the banners. Other signs called for the enacting of guest worker visa legislation, and quoted Ephesians 2:14 - “For Christ is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.”

People from both sides then moved forward and, with hands thrust through the fence, passed the Peace of Christ to one another.

CPT ended the summer-long Arizona project in September and is discerning next steps. For more information, see http://www.cpt.org/arizona/arizona.php.

Arizona team members in September were: Scott Kerr (Downers Grove, IL), Lisa Martens (Winnipeg, MB), Murray Lumley (Toronto, ON), Elizabeth García (Brownsville, TX), Diana Zimmerman (Baltimore, MD). CORRECTION! Team members June - August not included last issue were: LeAnne Clausen (Chicago, IL), Rusty Dinkins-Curling (Roanoke, VA), Lisa Martens (Winnipeg, MB), Jane Pritchard (Toronto, ON), Gretchen Williams (Boulder, CO), Diana Zimmerman (Baltimore, MD).

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CPT TRAINING

Thirteen people completed CPT’s Peacemaker training in Chicago July 16 - August 14. Five began 3-year terms as full-time Corps members (FT); seven joined the Reserve Corps committing to serve 2-12 weeks a year for 3 years (R); one person continues in discernment (D).

Left to Right - Front Row: Annaliese Watson (Grants Pass, OR) - R • John Lynes (East Sussex, England) - FT • Jocelyn Perry (New York, NY) - R ; Second Row: • Michael Smith (Gibson City, IL) - R • Suzanna Collerd (River Forest, IL) - FT • Christina Gibb (Dunedin, New Zealand) - R • Kristyn Thurman (Camarillo, CA) - FT; Third Row: Michael Lachman (Athens, OH) - R • Joe Carr (Kansas City, MO) - FT • Scott Smith (Grants Pass, OR) - R • Grace Pleiman (Brooklyn, NY) -D; Top Row: Tom Fox (Wash- ington, DC) - FT • Laurie Hadden (Markham, ON) - R.

Half of the participants shaved their heads in a public witness against Israel’s construction of a “security wall” in the West Bank. Palestinians refer to Israel’s destruction of farms and fields to make way for the wall as “shaving” the land.

Eleven people completed CPT’s Regional Training in Toronto, ON, September 24-October 11. Eight joined the Reserve Corps committing to serve 2-12 weeks a year for 3 years.

Left to Right - Front row: • Jeff Thiessen (Winnipeg, MB) continuing in discernment • Will VanWagenen (Somerville, MA); Middle row: • Mary Anne Tangney (Dundas, ON) - continuing in discernment • Esther Kern (London, ON) • Sally Britton (Norwich, VT) • Isobel McGregor (Ottawa, ON) - completed training; Back row: • Jill Foster (Gatineau, QC) • Bill Baldwin (Ottawa, ON) • Michael Brown (Baltimore, MD) • Kathleen O’Malley (Albuquerque, NM) • John Spragge (Toronto, ON).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IS IT YOUR TURN?

CPT delegations traveling to sites of conflict around the world offer encouragement to communities facing violence; challenge violent structures with non- violent public witness; meet with human rights work- ers, community and religious leaders; and advocate for more just government policies when they return home.

Many participants call their CPT delegation a “life- changing experience.” Some delegates have gone on to become full-time Peacemaker Corps members or CPT Reservists. Might this be the time for you to take the first step toward active involvement with CPT in the field? Fill out an application for a short-term delegation today! (available on-line at www.cpt.org; click on “Delegations”).

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PEACE BRIEFS

CPTer Kathy Namphy

Persistent for Peace: On August 22, 2004, CPT Reservist Kathleen Kampmann-Namphy died suddenly at age 69 while descending Mount Damavand in Iran. A mother of four adult children, she was an instructor in English and Humanities at Stanford University. Namphy participated in CPT delegations to Hebron and Iraq in 2002, and later served for three months with CPT in Iraq. She was scheduled to join the Iraq team for another 3 months in September. Friends, family and coworkers remember her as someone who was fearless in pursuit of her goals and passionately dedicated to her family and social justice. CPTer Cliff Kindy writes, “She had a persistence that I have seen in no other CPTer.”


Project ELF Closed!
Finally, after 36 years and 636 arrests, peace activists involved in the nonviolent campaign to shut down the U.S. Navy’s “nuclear war trigger” - Project ELF - tasted victory. The Navy closed the twin communication transmitters located in northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s upper peninsula on September 30. The giant ELF (extremely low frequency) antennae sent signals to submerged Trident submarines around the world enabling them to launch a first-strike nuclear attack.

Resistance to ELF involved state-wide referendums, federal law suits, marches, pole-cutting disarmament actions, and an 18-year-long campaign of line-crossing civil disobedience. Altogether, resisters served more than nine years in prison. CPTers in training contributed to the action campaign starting in 1993 with 55 individuals crossing the line, some more than once, over the last 11 years. Congratulations and thanks to Nukewatch and the many others who gave leadership to the resistance campaign!

 

REGIONAL GROUPS

CPT-Colorado “Adopts” Missile Silos: CPT-Colorado and other peace groups held their second annual protest in opposition to Minuteman III nuclear missile silos in northeastern Colorado on October 2. Each group ”adopted” a silo, with the CPT group renaming the “0-2” silo “Crying Children.” At the entrance gate they hung a banner with the words “Crying Children” and “Let’s find a better way” alongside two crosses of bright pink plastic tape. They planted daffodils adjacent to the gate, prayed and sang, then converged with other participating groups for an anti-nuclear rally in Greeley.

Ontario: Mulit-Faith Walk Against Secret Trials: CPT-Ontario members walked with Jewish and Muslim groups through the streets of Toronto on September 12, calling on the Canadian government to grant open trials to five Muslim men held under “security certificates.” Currently, neither the accused nor their lawyers have the right to examine the allegations against them. The government ultimately aims to deport the men to their countries of birth, where Amnesty International says their lives would be in danger.

Vigilers gathered at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building, then walked to the U.S. consulate, the city courthouse, and the headquarters of Canada’s governing Liberal party. Religious leaders said prayers at each stop and children of the detained men released white pigeons symbolizing freedom.

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REVIEW: “IRAQ, A JOURNEY OF HOPE AND PEACE”

Book Review by Jim Loney

It was fall, 2002, War clouds were gathering on the horizon. Battleships were steaming towards the Arabian Gulf. The Bush administration was building its case for war against Iraq. As Peggy Gish was discerning where she would serve as a CPT reservist that year, she was seized by CPTer Cliff Kindy’s musing: how many grandmothers would it take to stop a war?

Out of love for her own grandchildren, Gish boarded a plane on October 23, 2002 armed with the simple conviction that “war is wrong.” “Plunging into the unknown,” she had no idea how she would go about stopping a war or what lay ahead for her - a tragic car accident, getting kicked out of the country, an encounter with a “suicide bomber.”

Iraq, A Journey of Hope and Peace, is the story of Gish’s six-week CPT reserve duty which became a year-and-a-half long pilgrimage to a bombed and war-torn land - a time that spans the last days of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the bombing of Baghdad, and the chaotic aftermath of war. It is the story told from the perspective of an activist grandmother in continual dialogue with the suffering of the Iraqi people.

Gish takes us into Iraqi schools, hospitals and orphanages; a village turned into a prison by a U.S. army commander; Baghdad’s crowded markets and clogged streets; the gates of Abu Ghraib prison; the homes and hearts of ordinary Iraqis.

The book is an intensely personal account that reads much like a diary. Gish shares her struggles with fear, anger and making sense of the horror of war. In the course of chronicling the daily activities of the Iraq team, she paints a rare picture of life in post-war Iraq - the appalling human rights abuses, grinding poverty, tragic encounters with American soldiers, the catastrophic consequences of depleted uranium pollution. Readers interested in the treatment of Iraqis imprisoned by the U.S. as “security detainees” will find Gish’s first-hand account of CPT’s ground-breaking human rights work an invaluable resource.

Iraq, A Journey of Hope and Peace, published by Herald Press, is available from CPT offices for $15 U.S./$20 Cdn.

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I have two brothers in the Armed Services, and I have long been concerned that the U.S.’s blatant disregard for human rights for detainees - both in Iraq and in Gunatanamo - increases the likelihood that our own troops, if captured, will be treated the same way. I applaud the work CPT is doing to protect the human rights of Iraqi detainees - not only because human decency requires it, but because U.S. Christians working for the human rights of Iraqi detainees helps to protect captured U.S. military personnel from Abu Ghraib-type treatment. Thanks to CPT for stepping in where the U.S. government dropped the ball.
Erin (last name withheld by request)
St. Paul, MN
You make me puke! You demonize the U.S. for protecting our borders from illegals who understand the hardships involved to cross illegally. Yet you never say anything about Red China when they hunt down illegal North Koreans escaping from repression or famine. You leftists pretending to be Christians are the reason I left the Catholic Church, which has become a front leftist group.
Kenneth Reinsch
internet
I like including the antagonistic letters to the editor. Even by including these it defuses anger and is very consistent with violence reduction.
George Epp
Chilliwack, BC
Please pass on my admiration and promise of prayers in their discernment for those electing to stay in Baghdad. Isn’t there something in John’s Gospel about the good shepherd not running?
Barry McGrory
Toronto, ON
My name is Caitlin Clark and I am proud to give you $28.34 from a lemonade stand my friend and I had.
Caitlin Clark, age 11
Chicago, IL
In Acts 2:11-19, Rhoda heard the knock as the others were inside praying. They did not realize that the thing they were praying for was right in front of them. Your organization must be very strong to be able to swim against a tide of hate and strife that characterizes much of the fare these days.
Brian Carter
Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
You all are truly a sign of hope to me and the many people seeking that better world to come. Memories of delegations to Hebron are etched in my mind and heart and are flowing into local actions here.
Tom Shea
Traverse City, MI

 

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GREETINGS FROM CO-DIRECTORS

As we take on the responsibility of co-directing CPT, we share this from Isaiah 40:31 - “Those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

What a time to be Christian Peacemaker Teams! We are a living part of God’s good work in the world at the very juncture of in-breaking peace.

In the work of peacemaking we hear Jesus’ word: “Love your enemy.” We seek to learn that refrain by heart. Sometimes it flows freely through us. Sometimes we sing it out of key. Sometimes our greatest challenge is bringing every ounce of grace that we have learned loving the enemy to our life together in the beloved community working for peace.

Know that we commit to hold you, the larger CPT community, faithfully in prayer. We also count on your support in prayer and in the work. "

- Carol Rose, Co-director-Operations (Chicago)
- Doug Pritchard, Co-director-Program (Toronto)

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CREDITS


Signs of the Times is produced four times a year. Batches of 10 or more are available to institutions, congregations and local groups for distribution. Any part of Signs of the Times may be used without permission. Please send CPT a copy of the reprint. Your contributions finance CPT ministries including the distribution of 17,000 copies of Signs of the Times.

The work of CPT is guided by a 15-person STEERING COMMITTEE: Tony Brown, at-large • Walter Franz, Mennonite Church Canada • Elizabeth García, Corps Rep • David Jehnsen, On Earth Peace • Cliff Kindy, Church of the Brethren • Susan Mark Landis, Mennonite Church USA • Maxine Nash, at-large • Lee McKenna duCharme, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America • Orlando Redekopp, Church of the Brethren • Ben Richmond, Friends United Meeting • Jacqui Rozier, at-large • Hedy Sawadsky, at-large • John Stoner, Every Church a Peace Church • Rick Ufford-Chase, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship • Brian Young, Friends United Meeting.

CHRISTIAN PEACEMAKER CORPS: Scott Albrecht • Kristin Anderson • Adaía Bernal • Chris Brown • Cal Carpenter • Joe Carr • Matt Chandler • Kryss Chupp • LeAnne Clausen • Suzanna Collerd • Claire Evans • Tom Fox • Mark Frey • Elizabeth García • Diane Janzen • Kathleen Kern • Scott Kerr • Cliff Kindy • Erin Kindy • Jerry Levin • John Lynes • Lisa Martens • Rich Meyer • Maxine Nash • Jessica Phillips • Doug Pritchard • Sheila Provencher • Sara Reschly • Sandra Rincón • Dianne Roe • Greg Rollins • Carol Rose • Matt Schaaf • Pierre Shantz • Kristyn Thurman • Kathie Uhler • Stewart Vriesinga • Maia Williams • Keith Young. RESERVE CORPS: Jane Adas • Art Arbour • Matthew Bailey-Dick • Nina Bailey-Dick • Bill Baldwin • Benno Barg • Nathan Bender • Christy Bischoff • Rafael Boria • Lisa Brightup • Sally Britton • Paul Brohaugh • Gary Brooks • Ellis Brown • Michael Brown • Tricia Brown • Mabel Brunk • Chris Buhler • Judith Bustany • Robin Buyers • Pat Cameron • Bob Carlsten • Elluage Carson • Amy Clark • David Cockburn • Dan Dale • Anita David • Jenny Dillon • Rusty Dinkins-Curling • Bill Durland • Genie Durland • Korey Dyck • Duane Ediger • John Engle • John Finlay • Jim Fitz • Alyce Foster • Jill Foster • Lorne Friesen • Ron Friesen • Christina Gibb • Art Gish • Peggy Gish • Michael Goode • Jesse Griffin • Bob Gross • Matt Guynn • Laurie Hadden • Carol Hanna • Wes Hare • Anne Herman • Donna Hicks • Bob Holmes • Tracy Hughes • Cole Hull • Sally Hunsberger • Maureen Jack • David Janzen • Allen Johnson • Rebecca Johnson • Kathy Kamphoefner • Kathy Kapenga • Bourke Kennedy • Esther Kern • Joel Klassen • Nicholas Klassen • Michael Lachman • Kim Lamberty • Mary Lawrence • Wendy Lehman • Gerry Lepp • Gina Lepp • Sis Levin • JoAnne Lingle • Jim Loney • Jan Long • Reynaldo Lopez • Murray Lumley • Barb Martens • Ben Martin Horst • K. Elayne McClanen • Cathy McLean • Bruce Miller • Cynthia Miller • Marilyn Miller • Robin Miller • David Milne • Phyllis Milton • Anne Montgomery • Tim Nafziger • Bob Naiman • Paul Neufeld Weaver • Henri Ngolo • Wanda Ngolo • Pieter Niemeyer • Germana Nijim • Kathleen O’Malley • Jerry Park • William Payne • Jocelyn Perry • Amy Peters • Lorin Peters • Paul Pierce • Rick Polhamus • Jane Pritchard • Kathy Railsback • Steve Ramer • Vern Riediger • Jim Roynon • Jacqui Rozier • Stephani Sakanee • Jim Satterwhite • Eric Schiller • Betty Scholten • Chris Schweitzer • Janet Shoemaker • Lena Siegers • Allan Slater • Char Smith • Michael Smith • John Spragge • Carol Spring • Charles Spring • Jerry Stein • Harriet Taylor • Kitty Ufford-Chase • Rick Ufford-Chase • Kurtis Unger • Will VanWagenen • Dwayne Wenger Hess • Haven Whiteside • Rose Whiteside • Matthew Wiens • Dick Williams • Gretchen Williams • Doug Wingeier • Jane MacKay Wright • Joshua Yoder • Mary Yoder • Diana Zimmerman

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