Signs of the Times: Summer 2000 Vol. X, No. 3

Contents

Articles: Departments:

CPT Challenges Toxic Toys

A group of conference-goers attending a workshop on violent toys at a conference in Goshen, IN took time on Friday, June 23, to visit and rate six area toy stores on marketing violent toys to children.

Workshop participants used nine criteria for rating each store on a scale of one to ten, with ten indicating "toxic" access and availability of violent toys. Stores received "toxicity" demerits for selling realistic-looking toy guns, placing violent toys at children's eye-level, displaying violent video games on demo screens, or selling notoriously violent video games.

Announcing their findings to the press, participants delivered a "Certificate of Acknowledgment" to a northwest side Wal-Mart Store with a score of 43 (least offensive), and a "Notice of Toxicity" to the Wal-Mart Super Center (southeast Goshen) and Toy Works, each with a score of 68.

The workshop was a follow-up to an earlier experiment carried out in January 2000 by a group of pastors who visited the stores to ask that violent toys be removed from the shelves. "We found that store managers do have a role to play in what items are sold at the local level and they can respond to local pressure," said Reservist Rich Meyer, Millersburg, IN.

The workshop/witness received further testing this summer at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in Kansas City and the Mennonite Church Canada Annual Conference in Alberta.

"If 500 congregations across North America would make this a priority in their local communities, we could change the culture of children's toys forever," envisioned CPT director Gene Stoltzfus.

The CPT Steering Committee embraced that vision and invites congregations and meetings to participate in the "500 Churches Against Violent Toys" campaign.

"CPTers and supporters have been raising the concern that violence is not child's play through creative challenges to retailers of toxic toys for more than seven years," said Jan Long, CPT staff member and Church of the Brethren pastor. "This workshop/witness provides an excellent way for hundreds of church groups to join that challenge."

By late August CPT expects to refine these materials into a packet for congregations and meetings. Late summer/early fall is the time to begin planning for a series of witness events during the holiday shopping season.

Here's what you can do:

  • Contact CPT to order the "500 Churches Against Violent Toys" organizing packet.
  • Develop a congregational or interfaith working group to provide leadership for your church's participation.
  • Plan a series of workshop/witness events in your local area during the holiday shopping season. (In the U.S., the day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year.)
  • Evaluate your experiences, report your findings to CPT, and celebrate declining levels of toxic toys in your community.


Back to the top

Chiapas: Pain on All Sides

by Art Arbour

"He was a good son. Why was he killed?" Alonzo said through his tears. On May 7 his son, Antonio, and two others were killed when a truck was ambushed by four men wearing ski masks and carrying automatic weapons on a lonely road near Tzajalchen, a small community in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico.

All the victims were indigenous Mayans, but of differing political persuasions. The motive for the crime was thought to be robbery. Since Antonio was a member of the nonviolent Christian group Las Abejas (the Bees), Alonzo was particularly distressed about the violent way his son died.

The driver of the truck and his mother, both from a community aligned with the Mexican government's PRI party were also killed in the ambush. The woman's husband suffered a head wound and her small daughter still carries a bullet in her back. At a memorial prayer service with the CPT group, the little girl's grandfather reported that several family members have been killed in violent incidents over the last five years. "We indigenous people are killing ourselves," he said.

On Sunday, May 28, an eight member CPT delegation and CPT's Chiapas team followed a fourteen-hour pilgrimage through slick mud that included visits to the ambush site and the victims' families to express condolences and pray for peace. Gifts of candles, white flowers, and Mayan crosses were presented to both families.

About two weeks later on June 12, seven state police officers were killed in an ambush in the county of El Bosque. That incident occurred just days after a commemoration marking the two-year anniversary of a massacre of five Zapatista supporters by police in the same area. The Zapatista guerillas denied responsibility for the attack which took place in a heavily militarized zone.

CPTers offered condolences and prayers for the fallen officers at two state police stations in the nearby county of Chenalhó. Inside one facility, two officers joined the circle as CPTers lit a candle and prayed for healing for the bereaved families and companions of the men who were killed, and for an end to violence in Chiapas.

Federal and state authorities are still investigating both ambushes. Amidst all the unknowns (motives, identities of the perpetrators, etc.) one thing is clear – both incidents have elevated tensions in the volatile Chiapas conflict. With a third of the Mexican Army, several police forces, and dozens of paramilitary groups operating in the state, there are guns everywhere. An atmosphere of fear and impending violence pervades many peasant communities as the pain continues on all sides.

Members of the CPT delegation were Art Arbour, Nathan Bender, and Diego Méndez of Toronto, ON; Matthew Bailey-Dick, Waterloo, ON; Ellis Brown, Kitchener, ON; Isobel McGregor, Nepean, ON; Claire Evans, Chicago IL; and Dorothy McDougal of Fredericton, NB. CPTers and volunteers with the Chiapas team in April, May and June included; Mark Frey (Newton, KS) , Scott Kerr (Downers Grove, IL), Pierre Shantz (Elmira, ON), Lynn Stoltzfus ( Harrisonburg, VA), Sara Reschly (Mt. Pleasant, IA), Frank Moore (Houston, TX), Rick Polhamus (Fletcher, OH), Diego Méndez (Toronto, ON), William Payne (Toronto, ON), Anne Herman (Binghamton, NY) and Gene Stoltzfus (Chicago, IL).

 


Back to the top

Mexico City Speaking Tour

By Scott Kerr

"It is the responsibility of our generation to make peace in Chiapas" was the message brought by José to Cuernavaca and Mexico City in June. José, who helped translate the Bible into Tzotzil (one of the indigenous Mayan languages), is a leader in the refugee community of X'oyep, a mountain village in Mexico's southernmost state of Chiapas. He and five other members of the pacifist Christian group "Las Abejas" (the Bees) went on a week-long speaking tour organized by Mennonite Central Committee workers and members of the Mexican Mennonite Church to help the people in these two large central Mexican cities understand the current situation of conflict in Chiapas.

At a well-attended press conference, José was able to describe to the world the conditions of the camps for thousands of internally displaced Mayans and the environment of fear in which they are forced to live. José and the others are from communities where friends and family have taken refuge after fleeing military and paramilitary violence.

An estimated 20,000 people have been displaced from their homes in the state of Chiapas. José's tiny village of X'oyep grew from a population of thirteen families (less than 150 people) to over 1100 in the space of a few months in 1997.

Sebastián spoke through tears saying, "The conflict in Chiapas is not a religious one or one that is between communities. It is a social conflict to eliminate the indigenous communities."

CPT workers Scott Kerr (Downers Grove, IL) and Pierre Shantz (Elmira, ON) accompanied the Abejas in order to connect to the churches and nonviolence communities in Central Mexico. Discussions with SERPAJ (Servicio Paz y Justicia – Peace and Justice Service), a faith based organization working for justice nonviolently, led to a tentative agreement to hold a joint nonviolent public witness at military bases throughout Mexico this summer.


Back to the top

CPTer Denied Entry into Israel

TEL AVIV – "Why is Israel afraid of a farmer from Indiana?" Cliff Kindy scribbled his message on the wall of his holding cell in Ben Gurion airport amidst hundreds of others written in Turkish, Rumanian, Russian, Spanish and many other languages.

On Sunday, May 28, Kindy arrived in Tel Aviv ready to spend six weeks with the Hebron team. At 5:45pm he was pulled aside at passport control and asked him if he had thrown stones on previous trips. "I don't throw stones," Kindy said. "I'm a pacifist trying to walk in the footsteps of Jesus."

It wasn't until 1:30am on Tuesday that Kindy was escorted to an Air Canada flight bound for Montreal and then Chicago. During his 32 hours in custody, Kindy was not allowed to call the Hebron team or the CPT office in Chicago to alert them about his situation.

"We're disappointed that he won't be joining us, but mostly we're just really glad he's safe," said Natasha Krahn when she and other team members finally learned of Cliff's whereabouts. His absence left a team of three in Hebron to do all the work involved with hosting a delegation, visiting families involved in the Campaign for Secure Dwellings and monitoring clashes happening in the streets.


Back to the top

Hebron: Clashing Perspectives

By Rick Carter

Imagine living your entire life in an area roughly the size of Rhode Island. How would you feel if, when you attempted to cross the border, soldiers turned you back because you didn't have permission?

The despair here is acute. Young people long in vain for things that most people in the first world consider normal. Things like a secure home, a good job, a university education, travel, and the freedom to choose for oneself are denied them by the Israeli Occupation. The pressure builds and builds. They feel trapped. They have no hope. They strike at their oppressors with all they have – stones.

Here they call them "clashes." These "clashes" are really a tool of the occupation – they are a carefully controlled release of tension, a letting off steam, a means of maintaining control. They both relieve internal pressure and serve to justify the occupation.

The international media flashes pictures all over the world of "riots." The Palestinians are painted as villains, the Israelis are seen as victims. The world is appalled and the occupation is once again justified.

In Hebron, clashes are restricted to very specific locations at the borders between the Palestinian controlled area and the Israeli occupied section. The clashes I've witnessed have been very organized. There is a police line from where the Israeli soldiers fire their rubber-coated bullets. Then young Palestinian men throw stones. Bullets, stones; bullets, stones. By some unseen force the clash suddenly ends, the soldiers leave and the street returns to normal.

On days the Israelis don't want clashes they require the Palestinian police to suppress them. The penalty for not doing so is closure of the West Bank to tourists, thus impacting the Palestinian economy.

Everything that happens here is politically motivated and serves someone. Perception is everything. One should always ask, "who stands to gain from the event?" In the case of the recent clashes, Israel has clearly gained at the cost of the Palestinians' public image.

 


Back to the top

Hebron: Questions Without Answers

by Natasha Krahn

"There are settlers at Ibrahim's house (not his real name), threatening to destroy it." I was startled out of a sound sleep by the urgency in my teammate's voice. We both knew Ibrahim had worked so hard to rebuild his first house after it was destroyed and now he was rebuilding yet again. All that time and energy was being threatened. Why?

When we arrived, there were about 20 settlers from a nearby settlement gathered just outside the house. Fifteen Israeli soldiers and five police stood in between the settlers and the house.

Palestinians had gathered from all over the area to join Ibrahim in protecting his house. There were about forty people inside when we entered. We were welcomed with open arms and questions of, "Laysh?" ("why?" in Arabic). All I could reply was, "I don't know."

I don't have answers to a lot of questions. Why were the settlers allowed to mill around outside Ibrahim's house? Why were the Palestinians kept crowded inside like animals when it was the settlers who came to destroy? Why did the police, who spent a lot of time talking with the settlers, not record their names and license plate numbers? Why does Ibrahim now have to gather this information, facts the police should have collected at the scene, in order to file a complaint?

All Ibrahim wants is a house for his wife and children. He is building on land which has belonged to his family for generations. His father has documents dating from WWI which state that the land is theirs. The settlers claim the land belongs to their settlement which was built in 1970 and stands about one kilometer away from Ibrahim's land.

I watch the fear and enmity that exists between Israelis and Palestinians being passed down from generation to generation. I think of Ibrahim's mother's question, "Laysh?" and still the only answer I can give is "I don't know."

CPT members who worked in Hebron in April, May and June of this year include, Natasha Krahn (Waterloo, ON) , Jane Adas (Highland Park, NJ), Grace Boyer (Hampton, VA), Rick Carter (Newton, KS), Julie Hart (Newton, KS), Sara Reschly (Mt. Pleasant, IA), Jamey Bouwmeester (Elgin, IL), Anita Fast (Vancouver, BC), Reihard Kobar (Hamburg, Germany), and Anne Montgomery (Brooklyn, NY).

 


Back to the top

Puerto Rico: CPTers Arrested in Vieques

Fifty-six activists, including four members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), were arrested on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, after crawling under the fence at the U.S. Navy's Camp Garcia on Saturday evening, May 13. They were transferred to a detention center in San Juan on the main island Sunday, May 14, and appeared in court the following day. After receiving citations, they were told they would be informed of a later court date by mail and were then released. So far two CPTers have received trial dates in August.

The peacemakers sought to re-establish the nonviolent resistance camps that had effectively halted U.S. training maneuvers for over a year on Vieques since civilian worker David Sanes Rodríguez was killed by a stray bomb in April, 1999. The Navy resumed bombing practice shortly after FBI agents and Federal Marshals removed 217 protesters – including eight CPT delegation members – from 15 civil disobedience camps on the base May 4.

CPTers detained on May 13 were Andy Baker (Chicago, IL), Ambrosia Brown (N. Manchester, IN), Mary Anne Grady Flores (Ithaca, NY), and Cliff Kindy (N. Manchester, IN). JoAnne Lingle (Indianapolis, IN) and Dianne Roe (Corning, NY) provided support for those in detention.

 


Back to the top

Dialogue

In Dialogue we lift exchanges from CPT.D, an open e-mail discussion on CPT's vision and work. In this issue we share snippets of conversations that span the Americas – from CPT's work with the Mi'kmaq First Nation in New Brunswick, Canada during the spring lobster fishing season to the South American country of Colombia where CPT sent an exploratory delegation in April.

On June 3, CPTNet carried a release entitled "Major Federal Assault on Treaty Rights Fails to Break Spirit of Mi'kmaq Fishers." In it, CPTer Doug Pritchard described "a pre-dawn attack" by 40 police and fisheries officials to confiscate 35 lobster traps set by Aboriginal fishers exercising their treaty rights off Canada's east coast.

The report continued: "Today's federal assault on the Aboriginal fishery was on a far larger scale than anything seen before in the community. It also distracted federal officials from monitoring hundreds of thousands of traps currently set by other fishers under Canada's fish management plan. Mi'kmaq fishers have been setting traps under a plan approved by the Esgenoôpetitj Fish and Wildlife Commission. In so doing, they have exercised their treaty right to fish commercially which was upheld by Canada's Supreme Court in last fall's "Marshall" decision. However the Canadian government refuses to recognize the right of First Nations to regulate their own fisheries and insists on imposing Canada's regulations unilaterally. This denies the nation-to-nation basis on which the treaties were originally negotiated.

 

Kent Wilkins, Bruce Peninsula, ON: Your use of the term "attack" and "assault" simply shows the inherent bias and distorted false reporting in regards to the fishing dispute. The credibility of CPT itself is being brought into question.

Rich Meyer, CPT staff, Millersburg, IN: I don't see how the use of the words "attack" and "assault" amounts to distorted or false reporting. The scene described seems to me to qualify as an assault on the personal property of the native fishers – how is it wrong to describe it as such? And what would you call it when a relatively large group of uniformed people under single command move to take control of an area and to deprive their opponents of continued exercise of free movement within that area? Sounds like an attack to me.

I'll agree that all reporting involves bias. For example, most main-stream media show their bias by reserving words like "terrorism" for non-governmental forces. But surely even the federal forces are capable of an assault, aren't they?

So here we see CPT's bias – that we call an attack an attack, no matter who does the attacking, and we call an assault an assault, no matter who does the assaulting. That's what it means to be against violence – we don't give the government forces special licence for their official violence.

It is different from the bias that most reporters bring, which legitimizes official violence and only condemns the violence of those who oppose the government. Who was it that asked, "what are governments, but organized bands of brigands (one who lives by plunder)?"

CPT sent a six-person exploratory delegation to Colombia April 7-17, 2000.

 

Andrew Taylor, Bluffton, OH: From your trip report I don't know which group is the #1 killer in Colombia – the army or the guerillas? I know both kill but I remember during the long El Salvadoran Civil War that two things stood out about who the oppressed poor identified with: 1) they were too intimidated in the resettlement camps to admit their partisan FMLN-option to Americans, 2) after the war, I found out from my sister-in-law who had been there for nine years that the poor she knew anywhere in the country were overwhelmingly pro-FMLN – despite the latter's mixed moral profile. Is the situation in Colombia so totally unlike El Salvador (or Guatemala, etc) in the 80's in this regard – or do Americans/Canadians etc. just never get told?

Paul Weaver, Worthington, MN: Actually "common crime" is responsible for 85% of the violence in Colombia. Of the 15% that is political, the paramilitaries are responsible for the majority of killing.

Paul Paz y Miño, Amnesty International USA, Oakland, CA: There is a great deal of evidence to show that not only does the Colombia army permit the paramilitary groups to operate, but they work in collusion with those groups. There are over 400 arrest warrants issued for paramilitary members, but the army have refused to enforce those warrants. This is not a random act, but a clear policy to protect members of the paramilitary, and as long as such impunity reigns there will be little hope for the rule of law in Colombia. Also, unlike Central America, when guerrilla members have disarmed in the past and tried to become political parties, they have been murdered by the thousands in Colombia (the UP party was all but wiped out).

Kathy Kern, CPT staff, Rochester, NY: I found it striking that most of the people we talked to had a very thorough "plague on all your houses" attitude, more than I've seen in any other country. Church leaders in Urabá told me that pastors had been killed by both paramilitaries and guerillas. Working with displaced people – depending on who has displaced whom – can make one a target of both sides. Working to get kids out of street gangs can make one a target of both sides, since both guerillas and paramilitaries recruit from the gangs. Team member Val Liveoak, who worked in El Salvador for four years, was also struck by this. Her theory is that the guerillas in Colombia are so much richer, have access to so many more resources than the guerillas in Salvador and Guatemala, that ideology has taken a back seat. There are many Colombians who support the guerrillas' ideology, but it's nothing like in Central America.

Andrew Taylor, Bluffton, OH: So how can a group of Christians in the U.S. cast a little light on this horrible darkness? Do you have anything more you can tell us on where we should direct our efforts in this situation?

Paul Paz y Miño, Amnesty International USA, Oakland, CA: As with Central America, there has been evidence to link U.S. aid to human rights-violating units of the military and with units cooperating with paramilitary groups. Colombians are responsible for violence in Colombia, as the U.S. government (and its citizens) are responsible for supporting that violence and helping to maintain impunity instead of ending it. Everyone's hands are dirty, and the obligation of U.S. citizens is to stop funding the military as long as it works with paramilitary allies, continues to commit human rights violations, and does not enforce the rule of law. None of this is meant to say that the guerrillas are not responsible for violations, but currently, they are not receiving U.S. aid.


Back to the top

Lessons from a Lobster Tag

by Nina Bailey-Dick

Members of Christian Peacemaker Teams were stationed in Esgenoôpetitj (es-guh-NO-buh-ditch) First Nation (EFN), New Brunswick, Canada, April 4 - June 30 during the lobster fishing season. The Canadian government aggressively seized Mi'kmaq lobster traps bearing EFN tags instead of the government's Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) tags. The seizing of EFN lobster traps meant not only a huge financial loss for native fishers but also a blatant rejection of their treaty rights as affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada in September 1999.

"May I have one of those tags?" I asked, referring to the strips of purple plastic with "0017851MFWC 2000 COMM.LOB" stamped on them.

"Sure!" replied Leo, a Mi'kmaq fisher. When I held out my hand he snapped the Esgenoôpetitj First Nations tag around my wrist.

"I'm going to wear this tag on my wrist until the government recognizes the Mi'kmaq people's fishing rights," I said. Some of the fishers chuckled at the thought of how I might be a grandma and still have a worn strip of purple plastic around my arm. "I rarely wear jewelry," I continued, "because I find it too restrictive. But I want to do this as a reminder of the restrictions you face."

Four weeks later back in Waterloo, Ontario, this tag is driving me crazy. When it feels restrictive I am reminded that I should try living as a Native person in a European culture to really know what restrictive means.

When it catches on my clothes, I am reminded that I am free to dress the way I want, but many Native people were and are discriminated against for wearing traditional clothing.

When it gets in the way while caressing my lover, I am reminded that at least our marriage is respected and affirmed while traditional Mi'kmaq marriages are still considered "unofficial" by the Canadian government.

When I felt terrible after the tag scratched my baby niece as I gave her a bath, I was reminded of how terrible First Nation parents must have felt (and still feel) when their children were torn from them to be raised "properly" in residential schools according to European standards.

The minor inconveniences of wearing this EFN tag remind me of the major inconveniences and systemic oppression that First Nations people live with every day. Just as I cannot remove this band without breaking it, they cannot stop struggling for recognition of their rights to fish and to live independently of the federal government without hurting themselves and future generations. The difference is that I chose to wear this band while First Nations people did not choose to bear this oppression.

From my place of white privilege and comfort I can never fully understand Native reality. Oppression cannot be explained; it must be felt. Before I went to New Brunswick I knew a lot of the facts around the fishing situation in Esgenoôpetitj but it didn't affect my heart. In my nearly three weeks of being on the reserve, keeping watch at the shore for the DFO, confronting DFO officials, and talking to the people of Esgenoôpetitj, I came to do more than know about the situation - I began to feel it.

Of course it is not this strip of purple plastic speaking to me. It is the voices of the people of Esgenoôpetitj mixed in with the voice of God that swirl in my head and my heart and compel me to keep working for the recognition of native rights.

Doug Pritchard, CPT Canada Co-ordinator, was issued a summons July 12 to appear in court in Neguac, New Brunswick, on charges of obstructing a fisheries officer. The charge resulted from an incident in Esgenoôpetitj, New Brunswick on June 12 which Pritchard videotaped. Several Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) boats swamped native fishing boats then rammed into each other. The charge carries a maximum fine of $500,000.

 


Back to the top

Peace Briefs

War Taxes Accepted Here – Each year CPT receives contributions given in lieu of U.S. federal military taxes, like a recent one from Ray and Wilma Gingerich. They wrote to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), "We find it illogical and immoral to pay for war." They also requested that CPT send a letter to the IRS confirming receipt of money. In its confirmation letter, CPT requested that the IRS send the Gingeriches a letter "commending them for their courage and innovative expressions of citizenship."

United Methodists Honor CPTer Dianne Roe – Dianne Roe, Corning, NY, was the focus of the United Methodist Church's Peace with Justice Sunday, June 18, 2000. Roe, 57, is in her fifth year as a full-time CPT worker serving in Hebron with Palestinian families whose homes are being destroyed by the Israeli government. The Methodist materials called Roe a witness on behalf of the church by being with her neighbors and providing an active, nonviolent presence in an unjust situation.

Unarmed Peacemaking – CPT Reservist Jim Satterwhite recently spoke as a panelist on "Unarmed Peacekeeping: New Models For Dealing With and Preventing Violent Crises (Case Study: Kosovo)." Satterwhite believes that involvement of groups such as CPT supporting Kosovar Albanians' nonviolent resistance to Serbian repression could have made a difference in the years leading up to the war in Kosovo. When the international community ignored these nonviolent efforts to effect change, the Kosovar Albanians turned to more violent tactics, thus helping to spur a cycle of violence that paved the way for the massive ethnic cleansing that ultimately took place. For a copy of Satterwhite's presentation contact him at Bluffton College; Tel: 419-358-3279; e-mail: satterwhitej@bluffton.edu.

War College Witness – CPTers John Stoner and Elayne McClanen joined with local groups in silent vigils for peace at the Army War College in Carlisle, PA June 10, where 335 military officers graduated from advanced, year-long courses in strategic and tactical warfare. Included in the graduating class was 43 International Fellows. The vigilers called for new efforts in peace studies, but Col. Robert Bray, one of the graduating students, said the vigilers do not understand the mission of the War College, which he describes as learning how to maintain peace through negotiations, policy and strategy.

Israeli Home Demolitions – The Israeli government has demolished a total of 2,659 homes housing 16,700 West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza Palestinians since 1987. In 1999, partly on Prime Minister Barak's watch, Amnesty International reported that at least 39 Palestinian homes, 20 of which were in East Jerusalem, were demolished by the Israeli authorities leaving more than 140 Palestinians, including 70 children, homeless. According to Amnesty International, more than one third of the 65,000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem face the threat home demolition.

LaSalle Bank Out of Burma – ABN AMRO, a Dutch multinational bank and owner of Chicago's LaSalle Bank, has closed its operation in Burma. Synapses Project Burma (affiliated with CPT) conducted a campaign to educate ABN AMRO employees and the general public about the human rights situation in Burma. For 2½ years, Don Erickson, coordinator of Synapses Project Burma, spearheaded the campaign by placing occasional "educational ads" in community newspapers, leafleting at the Bank's offices, initiating delegations to the Bank and soliciting various groups and personalities to write letters of concern directly to the Bank. Several years ago, Erickson led a similar campaign which resulted in Amoco withdrawing from Burma. Pro-democracy leaders in Burma have called for South Africa-style economic sanctions against the ruling military junta.

 

Back to the top

Announcements

CPT Sunday Materials Available: Worship materials for CPT Sunday, August 6, 2000 are posted on CPT's web site. Designed to coincide with the anniversary of the U.S. military's nuclear destruction of Hiroshima, the resource packet contains a litany, stories for adults and children and ideas for sermons, nonviolent direct actions, and adult discussion classes. www.cpt.org/publications/cptsunday.php.

Corps Members Needed: Four of the nineteen full-time CPT Corps members are "retiring" this year. CPT is seeking replacements for each of them plus six additional full-time workers for three-year terms by January 2001. Benefits include meaningful work, good co-workers, and plenty of room for imagination. Contact Jan Long; CPC Coordinator; P.O. Box 135; Blacksburg, VA 24063; Tel/Fax: 540-951-2788; e-mail: cpt2@igc.org.

New CPT Staff Position – Immediate Opening: CPT seeks a creative, energetic Coordinator for Special Projects and Regional Reserve Corps Development.

Responsibilities include:

1. Develop and support local Reserve Corps clusters, particularly in urban and minority areas.

2. Implement special peace projects including itineration of CPTers and time-specific campaigns arising from the work of teams in the field.

Hours, location, and subsistence salary negotiable. Interested persons should contact Gene Stoltzfus at CPT's Chicago office.

 

Back Issues Available: Past issues of CPT's quarterly newsletter, Signs of the Times, are available on the web at: http//www.cpt.org/publications/pubs.html

 

Puerto Rico Fast and Vigil – On July 25, a coalition of churches and grassroots organizations began a fast and vigil in front of the U.S. Navy's Camp Garcia on Puerto Rico's Vieques Island and in Washington, DC, calling on President Clinton to meet with representatives of the Vieques peace community. Organizers ask that supporting organizations and individuals participate in the fast on a rotating basis. For more information contact Andres Thomas Conteris at the FOR Task Force on Latin America and the Caribbean; Tel: 202-232-1999.

Corrections:

In the last issue of Signs of the Times, Vol. X, #2, we mistakenly reported that Kathleen Kern's article in The Mennonite, "Against the System: Civil Disobedience and the Biblical Record," was awarded first place in the category of Theological Reflection by the American Church Press. The award was given by the Associated Church Press. CPT apologizes for the error.


Back to the top

Letters

On May 10 we went with CPTers to visit one of the demolished houses and meet the family who has been so tragically displaced. These special people and their burden are etched indelibly in our memories. We thank God for your organization and commitment to peaceful resolutions. Our prayers are with all of you as you spread God's love and compassion throughout the troubled areas of our world.

Fred and Sharyn Brooks

Worthington, OH

I am one that appreciates ALL of the CPT news that comes via e-mail. I don't get it all read carefully, but just scanning it gives background and understanding. I hope you don't give in to those who want you to sort it all out and give them just what they are specifically interested in! We all need MORE information, not less. I wonder if we'll hear more about Vieques.

Margaret Metzler

Goshen, IN

You are doing great work on behalf of all of us, and I think most Mennonites would enthusiastically support your proposed work in Colombia. May God give you continuing wisdom as you decide on the next steps.

Ron Byler

Associate General Secretary

Mennonite Church USA Executive Board

Elkhart, IN

Thank you for your courage and your perseverance. We are sorry to hear that the powers of domination succeeded this time in preventing Cliff Kindy's entrance. We will continue to fight the good fight for the sake of God's people here in Palestine and Israel.

Liz Peel

Sabeel Center

Jerusalem

I'm a student at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. I met some members of your CPT-Hebron team as part of a semester of study in the Middle East this fall. I just wanted to inform the team that I follow news about the clashes closely, both on your site and through other sources, and that I pray for your team and all involved in the conflicts frequently. Don't lose heart.

Jason Welle

Northfield, MN

To Members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams: Throughout Lent, you organized a vigil of prayer and fasting during which day and night you suffered hunger and thirst, cold and heat, with the faith that all together, Christians and non-Christians, we might return to God. You felt the suffering that we have endured for more than two years. You helped us bear the weight of the cross that we have been carrying. It was as if you were Simon who was forced to carry the cross of Jesus' passion. For this reason, brothers and sisters, we give you deep thanks for your action of prayer and fasting here at the military camp. Although you came from far away, you stood beside us and brought us consolation. Clearly we are one in Christ Jesus, who suffered for us now 2000 years ago. We of the Civil Society of the Abejas (the Bees) feel united with you. Los Desplazados (the displaced)

Juan Diego X'oyep Refugee Camp

Chenalhó County, Chiapas, Mexico

I was reading your article [on Colombia] and what the pastors said about feeling abandoned really touched me. I just came back from a three-week missionary trip to Colombia sponsored by my church. The night we arrived in Florencia a bomb went off just 3-4 blocks away from the church. I began to pray for this trip for 1-1/2 years prior to going, to make sure this was God's will. I just celebrated my second-year anniversary in the Lord while I was in Colombia. Now that I have been there, my burden for Colombia is so much stronger.

Juanita Arellanos

Moline, IL

 


Back to the top

CPT Calendar 2000-2001

  • Middle East Delegations: Nov 14-27, 2000; Feb 9-21; May 25 - Jun 6; Jul 27 - Aug 8; Nov 16-28, 2001.
  • Chiapas Delegations: Nov 17-29, 2000; Feb 19 - Mar 3; May 14-26; Jul 18-30; Nov 19 - Dec 1, 2001.
  • Burnt Church Project: Aug 15 - Oct 15, 2000 - New Brunswick
  • Peacemaker Training: Aug 4-7, 18-27 - Kitchener, ON; Dec 27 - Jan 23, 2001 - Chicago, IL.
  • CPT Steering Committee Meetings: Oct 19-21, 2000 - Toronto, ON; Mar 22-24, 2001 - Chicago, IL
  • CPT Sunday: Aug 6, 2000; Aug 5, 2001.
  • Peacemaker Congress VI: Sep 20-23, 2001 - Joyfield Farm, North Manchester, IN.
  • Delegations to Puerto Rico and Grassy Narrows to be announced.


    Back to the top

    Book Review

    by Rich Meyer

    Risking for Change (Kate Penner, ed. First Freedom Foundation)

    Risking for Change collects 75 stories in poetry and prose. The writers are ordinary people describing in simple words moments of witness. Some tell of the development of convictions, some describe the consequences of resistance. Includes preachy polemics and searing self-criticism. Primarily North American, with strong Canadian content including a modest account of CPT's volunteer web master, Gary Good. The stories are divided into categories according to the guiding concern (environment, poverty, etc.) with nearly half of the book focused on resistance to war and militarism. Paperback without illustrations, this is not quite a coffee-table format; but leave these unpretentious action stories laying around as design ideas for your life.