Signs of the Times: Summer 2002 Vol. XII, No. 3

Contents

Hebron Re-occupied

Early in the morning of June 25 Israeli forces re-occupied the Palestinian-controlled area of Hebron (see sidebar). Tanks and helicopters attacked the headquarters of the Palestinian Administration (PA) and security offices killing three Palestinians and injuring seven. The Israeli military prevented ambulances from attending to the wounded.

Israeli troops patrolled the city, raiding homes and placing the entire Palestinian population of 130,000 under round-the-clock curfew. Several Palestinian houses were destroyed by Israeli fire.

As the siege continued, CPTers documented damage to buildings and homes. Late in the night of June 28 the Israeli army set off two large explosions reducing the Palestinian Authority headquarters to rubble. The blasts ripped off shutters in nearby houses and a school, hurling window frames and glass shards everywhere. At one home, a five-year-old boy sleeping on the floor of his parents' bedroom suffered cuts to his forehead from the shattering glass.

When CPTers told residents they had come to report on the damage, one man asked, "The physical damage or the psychological damage?" he said none of his family had slept for the four days of heaviest shooting. "It's not from the noise, but from worry. What will happen to my children?"

In another house the grandmother said, "Tell Sharon and Arafat, enough is enough. God forbids this. They have banished peace, but we want peace."

CPTer Jim Satterwhite reflected, "In the quest for security, Israel's policy of increased repression is breeding the very insecurity and fear it is meant to avert."

CPT Hebron's team during May-July included: Le Anne Clausen (Mason City, IA), Diana Epp-Fransen (Winnipeg, MB), Peggy Gish (Athens, OH), Bob Holmes (Toronto, ON), Kathy Kamphoefner (Beijing, China), Mary Lawrence (Lunenburg, MA), Jerry Levin (Birmingham, AL), JoAnne Lingle (Indianapolis, IN), Anne Montgomery (Brooklyn, NY), Rick Polhamus (Fletcher, OH), Dianne Roe (Corning, NY), Greg Rollins (Surrey, BC), Jim Satterwhite (Bluffton, OH), and Janet Shoemaker (Goshen, IN).

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Angry Settlers Assail CPTers

Angry Settlers Assail CPTers by Bob Holmes

On May 22, CPTers Kathy Kamphoefner and Bob Holmes were called to photograph a destroyed Palestinian vegetable garden, vineyard and orchard that lies next to the Israeli settlement of Karme Tzur near Halhul, just north of Hebron. Israeli settlers had bulldozed the land four days earlier.

Mohammed (not his real name) pointed out his three dunams (3/4 acre), explaining that three years ago the Israeli military had ordered him not to go there. The CPTers, approaching on the settler road, were challenged by Israeli security personnel but proceeded to take photos. As they walked away, a white car came after them and three armed and angry Israeli settlers stepped out.

They grabbed Holmes and shoved him towards the car yelling that he was under arrest. Holmes replied that they had no authority to make arrests and asked that they call the Israeli police. Then four Israeli soldiers arrived in a jeep. One soldier pushed Holmes against the car and demanded his ID. Refusing, Holmes again requested that the police be called. The still angry settlers then demanded the film. When Holmes refused to hand it over, they forcibly took both cameras, wrestling Kamphoefner's from her backpack. A soldier ripped out the film and exposed it. Holmes' digital card was removed and confiscated.

With cameras back in hand, the CPTers walked away, somewhat surprised that the soldiers had not detained them longer. Fortunately, the card removed from the digital camera was blank. The one with the photos documenting this latest destruction of Palestinian farmland was safely in a CPT pocket.

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Shooting Up Beit Ummar

On July 16, Israeli forces entered Beit Ummar mid-morning , shooting for more than an hour as they moved through the town.

CPTers Dianne Roe and Greg Rollins went to investigate and found that the soldiers shot out the town's electrical transformer, causing an oil leak and cutting off all electricity. They also shot out more then ten streetlights and shot holes in many water tanks on the roofs of houses and the school. (The town's residents are already living with a reduced water allotment for the dry season.)

While the shooting continued in another area of town, Rollins and Roe provided accompaniment for a municipal employee as he fixed the town's electrical transformer.

On Sunday night, July 14, the Israeli army detained 32 men from 10pm to 3am. They kept the men standing in an iron cage measuring 3 x 5 meters opposite the Road 60 checkpoint. Municipality spokesperson Ghazi Brigith told the Beit Ummar team that the army threatened to teargas the men if they made any noise and told them, "Next time we will arrest your wives and children."

CPTers have provided an intermittent presence in Beit Ummar north of Hebron since April.

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One Day It Will Be Better

On June 2, a CPT delegation joined about 200 Palestinians and 15 international activists marching to a roadblock near the village of Deir Ibzia, just east of Ramallah, to protest collective punishment. The Israeli army blockaded the entire village after Palestinian gunmen - who everyone acknowledges came from elsewhere - killed Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint in January.

When a line of armed Israeli soldiers stopped the marchers at the barricade, the townspeople sat down and held a press conference. Speaking with great passion, Palestinian leaders related the hardship of the blockade - farmers unable to move their produce to market, workers traveling with great difficulty and danger to Ramallah, scarce medicine and expensive food.

After the group walked peacefully back to town, the CPTers returned to the checkpoint for a prayer vigil of their own. They shared communion in the midst of barb-wire, stone barricades and nervous armed Israeli teenagers.

As the delegation departed, the army captain guarding the checkpoint said, "I believe in what you are doing. One day it will be better."

Members of CPT's May 24-June 5 delegation were: Kristin Anderson (Willmar, MN), Suzanne Belleci (Brattleboro, VT), Christopher Brown (San Francisco, CA), Korey Dyck, Diana Epp-Fransen, and Kurtis Unger (Winnipeg, MB), Maureen Jack (St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland), Nicholas Klassen (Vancouver, BC), Paula Rainey (Alameda, CA), Heather Steckle (Markham, ON), Letitia Wise (Stauffville, ON), Mary Yoder (Columbus, OH) and Pieter Niemeyer (Mt. Albert, Ontario). Hebron CPTers Bob Holmes (Toronto, ON) and Greg Rollins (Vancouver, BC) joined the witness.

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Nonviolence Training in Palestine

Hebron CPTers assisted in nonviolence training for a group of Palestinians in Bethlehem this June.

Participants included young members of Arafat's political party, Fatah, among others. CPTer Kathy Kamphoefner noted, "The Fatah youth rigorously debated the ideas of nonviolence with amazing levels of complexity and involvement. They did not all agree with violent means and many strongly criticized the strategy of suicide bombing."

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Entry Denied

CPT Reservist Michael Goode of Chicago was denied entry to Israel at Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, on June 23. At least seven members of an Italian delegation arriving at the same time were also turned back. Goode was interrogated briefly by Israeli Interior Ministry officials, detained without access to U.S. consular services, and finally ushered to a return flight with his passport stamped "Entry Denied" in red ink. Authorities gave no reason for turning Goode away.

Since Goode's denial, other CPTers have been able to enter Israel successfully. But on July 2, 17 members of a delegation sponsored by the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) were also turned back.

When explaining the July 2 action, Israeli Interior Ministry spokeswoman Tova Ellison is quoted in the Israeli newspaper Ha'artz: "They wanted to show solidarity with the Palestinians. The State of Israel is in a state of war at the moment and no other country would allow its enemies or those who support its enemies to enter." Since the beginning of April, about 120 foreigners have been expelled from Israel and more than 200 have been refused entry according to the Ha'artz article.

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CSD News

CPT's Campaign for Secure Dwellings (CSD) links North American churches with communities and families in the Hebron district threatened with land confiscation or home demolition. For information about becoming a CSD partner, contact Rich Meyer; Tel: 574-642-3920; e-mail: cptcsd@npcc.net.

Caterpillar Campaign
CSD partner Wesley United Methodist Church in Naperville IL has joined efforts to challenge Caterpillar Corporation's part in reducing Palestinian homes to rubble. Caterpillar produces the D-9 bulldozers used by the Israeli military to systematically destroy the homes and hopes of thousands of Palestinian families in the Occupied Territories. The Caterpillar Campaign, started in January by the Israeli peace group Gush Shalom, urges Caterpillar to end its business relationship with the Israeli government until it ceases its policy of home demolition.

Kansas Peace Walk
Manhattan (KS) Mennonite Church, a CSD partner since 1998, was instrumental in planning a walk to promote justice and peace in the Middle East on May 10. About 120 men, women and children of Islamic, Jewish, Christian, and other faiths joined in a the 3/4 mile trek between a local Islamic Center and Methodist church. Members of the three faiths issued a public statement condemning the current level of suffering, violence and death taking place in Israel and Palestine. CPT Reservist Patty McKenna and delegation member Bob Atchison of Manhattan Mennonite have both visited Israel and the West Bank with CPT.

Welcome Back Rich
After a six-month sabbatical developing culturally-relevant conflict resolution curriculum in Lesotho, Southern Africa with his wife, Brenda Hostetler, Rich Meyer has re-joined CPT's staff. In addition to resuming the coordination of CSD, Meyer has assumed the position of Support Staff for the Hebron team, working full time from his home office in Millersburg, IN. Many thanks to Anita Fast (Vancouver, BC), two-year veteran of CPT Hebron, who coordinated CSD in Meyer's absence.
While catching up on the Hebron team's recent activities, Meyer's attention was drawn to the June 25 Hebron Update: "...Epp-Fransen and Shoemaker spent the night at Al-Alia Hospital. Shortly after 9:00 pm, two tanks pulled up out front. Epp-Fransen glared at them, and they went away." Meyer asked, "Do we cover 'glaring at tanks' in training? I just checked Gene Sharp's list of 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action, and the closest I can find would be #25 - Displays of Portraits (no, that isn't quite it); or perhaps #31 - Haunting Officials (I guess I'd have to see the glare to know); a glare by itself wouldn't be a Rude Gesture (#30)..."

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Eyes of the World

Members of CPT's April 20 - May 1 delegation to Colombia marched through the heart of Barrancabermeja proclaiming the power of international attention to reduce violence.

Under a banner proclaiming "The Eyes of the World are Present Here," the group carried symbols of human rights documentation including large eyes, a huge ear, a camera, a telephone and a pencil.

Delegation members sang songs in many languages and made stops at the mayor's office, the police station, the port (where the military and paramilitaries maintain a strong presence and often interrogate or capture civilians), and at a soccer field in the heart of Barrio Arenal (one of the poorest neighborhoods of the city, heavily dominated by paramilitaries.) At each site, delegates prayed and pantomimed a scene depicting the growing attention of outside observers withering the power of an armed actor.

"We quickly attracted attention," reported Tim Stoltzfus-Dueck (York, PA). "The sentiment of curious passersby changed from amusement to genuine interest and support when they read our leaflets describing our commitment to peace and solidarity with victims of the war."

At several points, particularly in Barrio Arenal, police on motorcycles with automatic weapons closely tracked the group's activities. A large, unidentified man questioned two delegation members about their plans and purpose.

"I was struck," added Stoltzfus-Dueck "by the courage of Colombians who joined their voices with ours at great risk to their own safety to proclaim the coming of peace."

Delegation participants were Tom Cavanagh (Lennoxville, QC), Antonio Gutierrez (Chiapas, MX) Diane Janzen (Calgary, AB), Lee McKenna (Toronto, ON), Linda Oneill (Forest Grove, OR), Jessica Phillips (Kimberton, PA), Katie Stoltzfus-Dueck (York, PA), Tim Stoltzfus-Dueck (York, PA), Erin Yoder (Goshen, IN), Conrado Zepeda (Chiapas, MX), and co-leaders Christine Forand (Priceville, ON) and Matt Schaaf (Winnipeg, MB).

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Coca Cola in Colombia

On July 3, Colombia CPT delegation members visited striking workers at the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Barrancabermeja who chained themselves to the plant's fence in protest of severe human rights violations. According to the local union president, seven union leaders in Coca-Cola plants have been killed nationwide and 50 workers are under current threat. Two weeks earlier, his four-year-old daughter was the victim of an attempted kidnaping.

"Big companies benefit from these assassinations, so they pay paramilitary members to carry them out," explained another union leader. Killing off the leadership undermines union strength making it easier for companies to hire more temporary workers. Temps receive about $150 U.S. per month instead of the union wage of $400. The union has brought a lawsuit in U.S. court charging that Coca-Cola bottling companies hire paramilitaries to kill, threaten and intimidate plant workers.

"Please urge the U.S. government to put pressure on Colombia to stop human rights violations," the union president exhorted CPT delegates, "and relate the real facts about Coca-Cola to North Americans."

Members of CPT's June 29-July 10 delegation were: Lisa Brightup (Wichita, KS), Mark Frey (Chicago, IL), Penn Garvin (Mifflinberg, PA), Donna Meyers (Stowe, PA), Doug Orbaker (Mifflinberg, PA), Haven and Rose Whiteside (Tampa, FL).

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Poetry

LA VIDA (Life)

by Carol Spring
						Barranca, Barranca, city of oil
			Dark skin shining in hot sun
			Uniforms camouflaging truth
			backing up big oil
			In smoky air, sign claims oil industry
			is "giving la vida to Colombia"
			Day and night
			drills pump la vida from soil
			Plodding stationary buffalo
			pulling in circular motions
			Day and night
			a flaming factory transforms la vida
			into gas and a thousand things
			pouring out hot soot
			Day and night
			multinationals buy la vida
			lining Swiss bank accounts
			of rich Colombians
			Day and night
			young folk with automatics
			suck la vida from piping that shoots
			crazily across thick country
			Day and night
			military colors kidnap, kill
			oil factory unionists who want
			fair working conditions
			whilst making la vida
			Day and night
			So many afraid.
			Who is
			WAY, TRUTH, and LA VIDA?
			Is Christ's kingdom in our midst?
			Show us your way, O God.
			

[This poem uses no letter "e" since that key was no longer functional after heavy rains dumped water on the Colombia team's computer keyboard.]

 

To God

[Regarding people under death threat who are not afraid to be killed quickly, but are afraid of being tortured to death or mutilated after death.]

						God, look at this one - his eyes, fingernails, good ears - 
			who wants to live free like anyone would;
			Really lovely, this one.
			I wanted to draw to your attention
			that this one would die for his people.
			He's that sort.
			I figured you would understand that;
			and would at least pay some attention.
			
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Boat Motor Needed

From the Team: CPT Colombia owns two canoes. One has a new motor that works well. The older canoe has an old used motor that breaks down every three trips (no exaggeration). A new motor will cost a round $2500 U.S. If you would like to contribute toward a new motor for the Colombia team, send a check to CPT with "motor fund" in the memo line. Thanks! Back to the top

Paramilitary Encounter

by Keith Young

On the evening of Friday, June 28, after three months of no contact with paramilitaries, CPTers Lisa Martens (Winnipeg, MB) and Keith Young (Comer, GA) encountered nine heavily armed men drinking coffee at a civilian's house on the banks of the Opón River.

The commander introduced the group as AUC (United Auto-defense Forces of Colombia), the country's largest paramilitary group, and said he was already familiar with CPT's work in the region. He declared that their objective was to fight the guerrillas, not bother civilians. Then he offered one of the four family members an injection of medicine for an injury. The civilian cautiously refused.

After a few minutes, the commander informed CPTers that he and his men were leaving. Martens and Young insisted that they had to follow the AUC members until they were away from the civilian population. The commander said he did not want CPT to follow because he would not be able to explain their presence to his commander.

Young followed them for fifteen minutes further down the trail until they came to the river, while Martens went to the river's crossing-point in CPT's canoe. A civilian took the AUC members across the river in his boat.

Across the river there were no houses and the only way through the thick vegetation was an uncut path that runs for many kilometers away from the Opón River's civilian population. CPTers verified that the armed men had taken this path then camped near the crossing point that night in case the paramilitaries returned.

CPT's Colombia team members May-July were: Duane Ediger (Dallas, TX), Kerr, John Marks (Portland, OR), Lisa Martens (Winnipeg, MB), William Payne (Toronto, ON), Matt Schaaf (Winnipeg, MB), Pierre Shantz (Waterloo, ON), Lena Siegers (Blyth, ON), Carol Spring and Charles Spring (Palo Alto, CA), Stewart Vriesinga (Lucknow, ON), and Keith Young (Comer, GA).

 


Lena & friends

 

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Afghanistan: Terrorism and Rebuilding

by Gene Stoltzfus

In January, Doug Pritchard and I traveled through Afghanistan. We witnessed the destroyed houses, deserted neighborhoods, abandoned fields and villages, roads with huge craters, ravaged orchards, and dry irrigation systems - all the results of bombing and terror campaigns. The bombs destroyed generations of people's hopes, the wealth of their traditions and their economic life.

We lived with families who abandoned their homes due to the terror created by war lords armed and trained by the CIA. We visited villages where U.S. bombs had destroyed houses and irrigation systems since October 2001. We visited Red Cross warehouses once stocked full of supplies for refugees now totally destroyed by Coalition bombing. We listened to people tell stories about how the culture of violence destroyed their indigenous traditions for nonviolently resolving conflicts. Now CPT invites you to 1) help rebuild Afghanistan and 2) join a long overdue conversation about terrorism. Your church or group can help by taking a careful look at terror in the modern world based on what you have seen and heard since September 11.

You can contribute towards rebuilding houses in Afghanistan destroyed by campaigns of terror - the first caused by the U.S. and Pakastani operatives arming war lords to defeat the Soviet Union, and the most recent caused by the U.S. and British bombing. At the same time, CPT strongly urges you to share your convictions about terror with others in your local community, including the media.

This call for conversations deliberately blurs the common separation between terror which is state-sponsored and that which comes from dissatisfied insurgent groups. Nation states have long recognized that if they can convince their citizens of such a separation, they can use the rhetoric of "national security," "just war," "war on drugs," or "war on terrorism" to further their ends. The course of history and the ideology of violence will not change unless grassroots Christian people organize themselves to name and denounce all forms of terror.

Over the past 10 years CPT has fielded teams in many settings where terror is a fact of life. We have learned that organized people who refuse to kill can make a difference. We invite you to join us on this journey by helping to rebuild homes and a community of faith in confidence that God's purposes of enemy-loving will prevail. People are counting on us to live out this vision.

Groups prepared to receive financial donations for Afghan Housing are listed below along with suggested resources for developing discussions about terror.

Contributions towards housing reconstruction in Afghanistan may be sent to:
Church World Service - Afghan Housing Project P. O. Box 968; Elkhart IN 46515.
Church of the Brethren General Board; Emergency Disaster Fund - Afghan Appeal 1451 Dundee; Elgin, IL 60120.
Mennonite Central Committee (Canada) - Afghan Housing Appeal 134 Plaza Drive; Winnipeg, MB R3T 5K9. Mennonite Central Committee (U.S.) - Afghan Housing Appeal 21 South 12th St.; P.O. Box 500; Akron, PA 17501

Resources:
"The War on Terrorism and the Terror of God" by Lee Griffith; Erdmans.
"A War Without End" by David McReyolds; War Resisters League; wrl@warresisters.org.
"A Moral Response to Terrorism: a Study Series" - Sojourners Magazine; Tel: 1-800-714-7474.
"War on Terrorism - Is there an Alternative?" - packet of materials from QPSW; davidg@quaker.org.uk
"The One who Showed Mercy: An Invitation to Conversation on Loving God and Loving Neighbor" - Mennonite Central Committee; Tel: 717-859-3889; e-mail: mailbox@mcc.org.

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Terrorism and Immunity

The U.S. veto of U.N. plans for an International Criminal Court, a clear message that the United States considers itself above the purview of international law, raises grave concerns for peacemakers. Why is the U.S. so intent that its soldiers be immune from international prosecution for war crimes? A serious discussion of terrorism which includes state-sponsored terrorism is more necessary now than ever. CPT invites suggestions on how committed peacemakers can confront this new reality.

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Esgenoôpetitj Update

The situation in Esgenoôpetitj (Burnt Church, NB), remains uncertain as the fall lobster season approaches. CPTers have been present during fishing seasons the past two years, as Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) agents and non-aboriginal fishers have opposed - sometimes violently - aboriginal fishers who have sought to exercise their treaty rights to regulate their own fishery.

The government is pressing the community to sign an agreement essentially giving up their treaty rights by accepting Canadian government regulation and monetary compensation. If such an agreement is not signed, the DFO has again threatened to seize boats and traps of aboriginal fishers who try to fish under their own regulations.

Already the loss of equipment after repeated DFO seizures over the past three years has weakened the community's ability to sustain its livelihood. The community has asked CPT to have a standby team ready to accompany them in the event of a contested fishery again this year. The fall fishing season is set to begin August 1.

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Saskatoon, SK: Burn the Death Lists

by Doug Pritchard

On July 5, fifty people attending the Mennonite Church Canada Annual Assembly in Saskatoon walked one kilometre from the assembly site to the Market Mall and gathered to pray for an end to the violence in Colombia. They burned sample "death lists" commonly used for targeting Colombians for assassination and raised up a "life list" while praying for protection for all the persons named on these lists.

Recently arrived refugees from Colombia, Dario Hernández, Adriana Ramírez, and their children Angie and Erika, spoke at the vigil. Hernández said through a translator, "Armed men killed my father. Then they wanted me. They threatened me. We had to move around a lot to escape them. We are very grateful that we could come to Canada."

Vigillers delivered a petition with 150 signatures gathered at the Mennonite assembly to the Market Mall office of the local Member of Parliament, Lynne Yelich. In November 2001, while attending hearings on Colombia held by the Parliamentary Subcommittee on Human Rights, Yelich said, "I am appalled at what I am hearing. I did not know this was even going on in Colombia."

The petition urges Members of Parliament to call for: (1) an end to the Colombian government's support for paramilitary groups as it responds to guerilla violence; (2) strict controls on Canadian companies investing in Colombia; and, (3) an increase in the number of Colombia refugees sponsored by Canada.

Yelich was unable to meet the vigillers in person but promised to submit the petitions to Parliament and wrote a letter saying, "...thank you once again for the altruistic work that you do in fighting the profound injustices that so many Colombian citizens are inhumanely subjected to."

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Winnipeg, MB: Clean up the Mess


"You have to clean up this mess! Someone could get hurt!" barked a security guard to CPTers kneeling in silent prayer by a small pile of river debris placed near the door of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly chambers.

"That's exactly why we've come here to pray," responded Lisa Martens, CPT Corps member from Winnipeg. "The debris caused by hydro dams up North is hurting and even killing aboriginal people. It's the legislators' job to see that the mess gets cleaned up."

The songs and prayers of forty peacemakers, including eleven CPT Reservists in training, resounded throughout the legislative building, bringing their concerns for hydro justice to lawmakers on Monday, May 13. Dams generating hydroelectric power have caused tremendous damage to the lakes and rivers throughout the lands of the Pimicikamak (Pim-a-CHICK-a-mack) Cree Nation at Cross Lake in Northern Manitoba.

The Northern Flood Agreement (NFA) signed in 1977 by Manitoba Hydro together with the provincial and federal governments assured the Pimicikamak Cree that the excessive debris, eroding shorelines, and other environmental effects from the dams would be taken care of. Twenty-five years later, the mess remains.

CPTers visited the offices of a number of Manitoba legislators prior to the prayer vigil to gauge their awareness of the problems at Cross Lake. Then, at noon, the strains of "Oh, Healing River" began to echo from the foyer.

As the time drew near for legislators to begin their afternoon session, the group commissioned a small team to carry piles of debris brought from Cross Lake to the doors of the chambers. Legislators entering the chambers had to walk past the praying CPTers and piles of debris.

CPT Reservists who planned and led the vigil were: Korey Dyck, Egon Enns, Kurtis Unger, and Matthew Wiens (Winnipeg, MB), Lorne Friesen (Winkler, MB), Scott Albrecht (Waterloo, ON), Robin Buyers (Toronto, ON), Dave Janzen (London, ON), Ed Olfert (Prince Albert, SK), Stephani Sakanee (Chicago, IL), and Eric Schiller (Ottawa, ON).

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Chicago to Peoria Peace Walk

Twenty-three CPTers and supporters gathered at Boeing's World Headquarters in Chicago on July 6 to mourn the deaths of Palestinian and Israeli children in violence fueled by U.S. corporate support. The vigil kicked off a seven-day, 170-mile peace walk from Boeing, which sells Apache Attack Helicopters to Israel, to the Caterpillar plant in Peoria, IL which makes the bulldozers used by the Israeli military to systematically demolish Palestinian homes.

During the current upheaval in Israel and Palestine, Hebron CPTers have witnessed the Israeli government use Boeing-made helicopters as a weapon against innocent Palestinian civilians, including children. CPTers have also documented over one hundred home demolitions in the Hebron district alone over the past seven years with bulldozers courtesy of Caterpillar.

CPTers Michael Goode (Chicago, IL) and Cliff Kindy (N. Manchester, IN) were joined by supporters as they visited churches, mosques and community centers along the way, sharing their concerns and urging Boeing and Caterpillar to stop supporting the Israeli Occupation.

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CPT Challenges Policymakers

On May 10, CPTers held a prayer vigil in Chicago's Federal Plaza, then visited Senator Dick Durbin's office to challenge his support for a $35 million appropriations bill to increase Colombia's army presence guarding the Cano Limon-Covenas oil pipeline in Arauca.

Sara Reschly (Chicago, IL) and Scott Kerr (Downers Grove, IL), both recently returned from Colombia, told him they had personally observed paramilitaries establishing checkpoints five to ten minutes from Colombian Navy positions on the river where CPT Colombia works.

Durbin expressed keen interest in the Colombian military's close relationship with the AUC paramilitary group which the United States defines as a terrorist organization and asked for further CPT documentation. Nonetheless, Durbin claimed it would be a "disaster if the U.S. withdraws completely" from Colombia.

The CPT delegation included Reschly, Kerr, Claire Evans and Mark Frey (Chicago, IL), and Janet Shoemaker (Goshen, IN).

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Witness in Washington

More than 20 CPTers and supporters participated in rallies, vigils, and a massive march estimated at 80,000 strong in Washington, DC last April to oppose the U.S. government's exportation of violence to Colombia and Israel/Palestine.

CPTers Duane Ediger (Dallas, TX), Scott Kerr (Downers Grove, IL), and Jim Fitz (Tiskilwa, IL), all recently returned from CPT work in Colombia, visited congressional offices offering firsthand testimony of the effects of U.S. policy there. William Payne (Toronto, ON) did the same with the Canadian Ambassador.

At one of the vigils, CPTers burned a "death list" recalling all those whose lives are threatened by armed groups in Colombia. They then rooted a small plant in the bucket of ashes and presented it to U.S. Senator Gramm as a symbol of the hope for new life arising out of Colombia's violence.

In a separate action, CPT Reservist Chris Schweitzer (Siler City, NC) was among 32 people arrested for blockading roads to the Capitol building. The charges were later dropped.

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Chicago: Bloodshed Brought to You by Boeing

Chicago police arrested three people including CPT Training participants Jessica Phillips (Encinal, TX) and Char Smith (Gibson City, IL) on Monday, July 22, during a prayer vigil outside the Boeing World Headquarters. The arrest occurred after vigillers poured 12 gallons of environmentally-safe concentrated food coloring into the Chicago River. The section of river below Boeing Headquarters ran red as a graphic symbol of the bloodshed caused by Boeing weapons around the world.

As the red dye spread throughout the water, 30 CPTers and Chicago-area supporters conducted a worship service of prayer, singing and litany at the entrance to Boeing. Participants gave examples of violence involving Boeing weapons that CPTers have witnessed including

  • Apache Helicopters attacking Palestinian communities;
  • Boeing's automatic weapons being used to threaten civilians in Colombia;
  • the effects of a "smart" bomb on a residential neighborhood in Afghanistan.

Authorities charged Smith and Phillips with "dumping" and released them that night at 11:20pm. They are scheduled to appear in court on September 20, 2002.

The Boeing witness was organized by Peacemaker Corps and Reserve Corps applicants participating in CPT's summer training. In addition to Phillips and Smith, group members included: Kristin Anderson (Willmar, MN), Lisa Brightup ( Wichita, KS), Tricia Brown (Newberg, OR), Diana Epp-Fransen (Winnipeg, MB), Penn Garvin and Doug Orbaker (Mifflinburg, OR), Ali Gohar (Harrisonburg, VA), Sue Rhodes (Cumbria, England), Stewart Vriesinga (Lucknow, ON), Mary Yoder (Columbus, OH), and Kathie Uhler (Brooklyn, NY).

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Manitoba Regional Group Formed

On June 17, Reservists fresh from training in May launched CPT-Manitoba. Korey Dyck and Kurtis Unger, recently returned from a delegation to the Middle East, spoke of their experiences after a shared meal and group worship. Participants are exploring opportunities to work with Pimicikimak Cree Nation, other aboriginal groups, and those dealing with urban and gang violence in Winnipeg. CPT-MB plans their next meeting for late August. For more information contact Korey Dyck; e-mail: mennonaut@hotmail.com. Back to the top

Cleveland Memorial Service Brings Hope

The CPT-Cleveland regional group grew out of the Peace and Justice Ministry of Lee Heights Community Church in response to violence in the community, especially among youth. A year ago, a young member of their congregation was killed by a 19-year-old boy with a pistol. Sunday, April 14, Lee Heights hosted a Memorial Celebration for D'Angela McLaurin and others whose lives have been taken through acts of violence. The celebration included reflective, dramatic, poetic and scripture readings, songs by an exuberant children's choir and a moving Children/Youth Praise Dance performance. Among the sixty-one attendees were parents of several victims of fatal violence who shared their personal testimonies, their pain and their words of hope and encouragement. Back to the top

Dialogue

In Dialogue, we lift exchanges from CPT.D, an open e-mail discussion of CPT's work.

Barry King, Vermontville, NY: Does anyone know the meaning of the adopted name of bomb conspiracy suspect José Padilla, aka "al-Muhajir"?

Kathryn Tallaa, Brook, IN: The word "al-Muhajir" means "the emigrant." The "al" is important as it points to a specific person. Instead of just "an emigrant" it becomes "the emigrant." Even though this man was given an Islamic-Arabic name, he is Hispanic by ethnicity. Does that mean they need to fingerprint and watch all Hispanics also? The racial profiling burns me up.

Dan Bull, Montclair, NJ: As things presently stand, Mr. Muhajir will probably never be given a trial, will never be informed of the charges against him, will not be allowed to confront his accusers, and will not be allowed to have a lawyer. How does this happen? By the simple expedient of declaring that Mr. Muhajir is an "enemy combatant." This government now stands ready to deny fundamental rights to both citizens and non-citizens alike.

Barry King: The constitutionality question is not cut-and-dried, but it does appear to be identical to the case of one of the Nazi infiltrators/saboteurs detained in 1942, who was a U.S. citizen. The "enemy combatant" category was used for him, and the constitutionality of that usage was confirmed unanimously by the Supreme Court.

Mike Smith, Gibson City, IL: When FDR established the precedent of the "enemy combatant" category, it was not as though all checks and balances were thereby destroyed. The president could have been overruled by Congress, the Supreme Court, or the voters in the 1944 election. All declined to do so. Which means that if you want to condemn the choice you must condemn the entire country.

Barry King: On CPT-D I have seen writers castigating the government, sometimes for failing to prevent terrorism, and at other times for over-zealousness in preventing terrorism. Which will it be? Keeping Romans 13 in mind, we as Christians have no grounds to say to law enforcement authorities that we forbid them to use force in the course of the performance of their jobs. Wasn't it an argument made by some that the response to 9/11 should be a "law enforcement" response rather than a "warfare" response?

Sally Gillette, Los Gatos, CA: Law enforcement means the enforcement of constitutional rights as well as the rules of the world court. It doesn't mean the suspension of rights for certain classes of people.

Dale Daugherty, Colorado Springs, CO: I think a slight distrust of the government is a healthy thing, but which is worse: to automatically believe whatever one is told, or to automatically disbelieve whatever the government says?

Rusty Dinkins-Curling, CPT Reservist, Roanoke, VA: I wonder about al-Muhajir and his rights being taken away for who he was hanging around with (no freedom of assembly if you're assembling with the wrong people). When I was in Hebron I spoke to some people accused of being members of Hamas, a known terrorist group. Am I now subject to arrest? Can I be held without charge or even accusation?

Martin Lehman, Sarasota, FL: It is right and proper that terrorism be resisted. The difficulty is that the antagonists choose to resist terrorism with terrorism, and so the terrorism increases. The Jesus Way is to not resist evil with evil but to overcome evil with good. I do not understand why those who should know better defend American evil by arguing that it is not as evil as Al Qaeda evil.

John K. Stoner, CPT Steering Committee, Akron, PA: A country which has dangled the sword of nuclear holocaust over the world for half a century and claims that someone else invented terrorism is a country out of touch with reality.

Allen Stoltzfus, Harrisonburg, VA: Who is out of touch with reality? Terrorism existed long before the US.

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Peace Briefs

Vigilers Greet War College Guests - On Saturday, June 8, three men and six women wearing black and holding signs declaring "Militarism Is Killing Us All," and "We Need a Peace College," greeted guests of 43 graduating International Fellows outside the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA. Due to security measures at the post, all guests were compelled to walk directly past the vigilers after parking off base. CPT Reservist Elayne McClanen reported, "It was a perfect opportunity to offer a departing message for these officers to take home to their respective countries."

From a Puerto Rican Prison - Robert Rabin of the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques sends "love and respect to CPT friends" from federal prison in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Rabin, whom participants in CPT's delegations to Vieques know as a tireless advocate in the struggle against the U.S. military presence on Vieques, is currently serving a 6 month sentence for a civil disobedience action earlier this spring. In a letter to H.A. Penner (Akron, PA), who served 20 days in the same prison for a witness as part of CPT's May 2001 delegation, Rabin writes: "Warm greetings from your old Guaynabo hang out! It is an honor to participate in this struggle, and I feel quite privileged to do so here in jail although I'd rather be at the Peace and Justice Camp right now!! There are twelve of us together in this unit and one woman still in prison here." Rich Williams (Brooklyn, NY), who spent 30 days in Guaynabo for the same nonviolent witness as Penner, writes: "One year since I was in prison? It seems longer than that! In jail, I had time to be inspired by reading the New Testament. I spent time considering my faith and how I had lived my life. I also had the chance to consider a calling - what God might have planned for me. I realized that CPT and my trip to Vieques was a gift. The chance to stand with others and fulfill a Christian call was a gift. The chance that jail provided for reflection and restoration of my faith in God was a gift. During this year I have continued the change that this long jail sentence started in my life. I thank God and CPT for the chance to reaffirm my faith and put it in action by witnessing and humbly supporting those who struggle to live in Brooklyn, in Vieques, and elsewhere."

COB Ecumenical Award - The Church of the Brethren's (COB's) Committee on Interchurch Relations presented CPTer Cliff Kindy with their 2002 Ecumenical Award during the denomination's Annual Conference, held June 30-July 3 in Louisville, KY. Kindy is a COB member and an organic farmer from North Manchester, IN. He has served with CPT since 1995 on teams in Hebron, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and in native communities in North America. The committee described Kindy as a "man of keen vision who is willing to listen to those who see things differently, a person of strong faith who kindly accepts those of different faith, a leader with determination who would rather suffer injustice than inflict it on others." With characteristic modesty, Kindy accepted the award on behalf of CPT.

War Resister's League Peace Award - At a celebration dinner June 7 the War Resister's League (WRL) presented their 40th Annual Peace Award to Christian Peacemaker Teams in New York City. The award cited CPT "for their work of carrying compassion into areas of intense conflict," and added, "They have gone in peace where others move only with armed guards. Where others speak of love, they risk living it. They have made the path by walking and would welcome us on the journey." Long-time member of CPT Hebron, Anne Montgomery (Bronx, NY) accepted the award on CPT's behalf.

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Letters

Reading about your wonderful work for the beleaguered Palestinian people, I am wondering when you will send a group to stop the terrorists who are blowing us up all the time. It's quite unpleasant to be blown up. So please send your next mission to the many restaurants and bus stations across Israel to absorb the blast of the bombs filled with nails and screws and metal parts. I doubt you will come on this mission. You know that suicide bombers have no mercy and no ethics. And you know the Israeli army has both.
Michal Anosh
Israel
I forward the CPT Hebron e-mails to my extended family. They don't all agree with what I send. One of them asked why you don't have a team in Israel. What should I answer him? I agree with your work and keep you in my prayers.
June Shenk
Internet
I attended a presentation by a CPT delegation member following his visit to the Middle East. The impact of what you do is incredible. May you have the strength to keep bringing people to see the real issues at hand, the human suffering and not the politics.
Tyseer Aboulnasr
Kanata, Ontario
You people are the most radical Christian fundamentalist group on the planet. There will never be peace, so tough. Long live conflict! Down with the lies! Violent toys and video games will continue to be sold to kids and you can't stop it. HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!! You are unpatriotic because you don't support the war on terror and you want to throw out the first and second amendments. Get out of this country and shut down your website!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous
Internet
Tell me, you who call yourselves "Christian Peacemaker Teams" - who would ever listen to you when you take such a one-sided view? How could you negotiate anything when you think Israel is the villain and Palestine the damsel in distress in a low budget TV Movie? You could never possibly do like Jimmy Carter does, sittin down with both sides and saying: "Okay, this side needs to do this, and this side needs to do this and everybody needs to settle down." Sorry, you're not peacemakers. You're political activists. Period.
Martin Whitman
Nashville, TN
Recently a Pax Christi prayer sheet reached me advising of your efforts to achieve nonviolent solutions to the Middle East conflict. May these efforts be blessed with open hearts and minds of authorities to hear your pleas. Prayers for you all.
Sheila
Currajong, Australia
I commend CPT for supporting war tax resistance. I strongly believe we can't really be working for peace when we are paying thousands of tax dollars to finance the wars we oppose!
Erin Kindy
CPT Reservist
Comer, GA
It is nice to see a Christian organization that is not doing everything within its power to start WWIII (Armageddon) so that Jesus Christ will come again. Keep up the good work.
Ian Dorion
Catemaco, Mexico
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CPT Calendar 2002

Delegations
Colombia: June 29-July 10, October 5-16
Middle East: July 25-August 6, September 13-26, November 19-December 1
Puerto Rico and Chiapas: TBA
CPT Steering Committee Meetings: October 17-19, 2002; Kansas City, KS
Peacemaker Training: Application Deadline - October 15; Training - December 27, 2002-January 23, 2003, Chicago, IL

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Credits

STEERING COMMITTEE: Bob Bartel, Paul Dodd, Arlyn Friesen Epp, Pat Hostetter Martin, David Jehnsen, Cliff Kindy, Nancy Maeder, Orlando Redekopp, Hedy Sawadsky, Muriel Stackley, John Stoner, Dorothy Jean Weaver.

STAFF: Gene Stoltzfus - Director/Program Coordinator, Claire Evans and Mark Frey - Administrative Coordinators, Kryss Chupp - Training Coordinator, Sara Reschly - Special Projects (Chicago, IL); Duane Ediger - Colombia Project Support (Dallas, TX)); Rich Meyer - Hebron Project Support/Campaign for Secure Dwellings (Millersburg, IN); Jan Long - Personnel Coordinator (N.Liberty, IN); Doug Pritchard - CPT Canada (Toronto,ON).

CHRISTIAN PEACEMAKER CORPS: LeAnne Clausen, Claire Evans, Mark Frey, Bob Holmes, Kathleen Kern, Scott Kerr, Cliff Kindy, Jerry Levin, JoAnne Lingle, Lisa Martens, Anne Montgomery, William Payne, Rick Polhamus, Sara Reschly, Dianne Roe, Greg Rollins, Matt Schaaf, Janet Shoemaker, Lena Siegers, Carol Spring, Charles Spring, Keith Young

RESERVE CORPS: Jane Adas, Scott Albrecht, Nait Alleman, Art Arbour, Amy Babcock, Fred Bahnson, Matthew Bailey-Dick, Nina Bailey-Dick, Benno Barg, Nathan Bender, Grace Boyer, Gary Brooks, Ellis Brown, Chris Buhler, Judith Bustany, Robin Buyers, Pat Cameron, Bob Carlsten, Elluage Carson, Cat Grambles, David Cockburn, Rusty Dinkins-Curling, Bill Durland, Genie Durland, Duane Ediger, Anita Fast, John Finlay, Christine Forand, Ron Forthofer, Alyce Foster, Angela Freeman, Lorne Friesen, Ron Friesen, Pierre Gingerich, Art Gish, Peggy Gish, Dorothy Goertz, Amy Gomez, Michael Goode, Jesse Griffin, Matt Guynn, Carol Hanna, Wes Hare, Anne Herman, Donna Hicks, Esther Ho, Ben Horst, Tracy Hughes, Cole Hull, Rebecca Johnson, Kathy Kamphoefner, Joanne Kaufman, Bourke Kennedy, Erin Kindy, Joel Klassen, Brian Ladd, Mary Lawrence, Wendy Lehman, Gerry Lepp, Gina Lepp, Levin, Sis Levin, Val Liveoak, Jim Loney, Reynaldo Lopez, Krista Lord, Murray Lumley, Barb Martens, Elayne McClanen, Patty McKenna, Diego Méndez, Carl Meyer, Rich Meyer, Bryan Michener, Cynthia Miller, Marilyn Miller, Robin Miller, Phyllis Milton, Bob Naiman, Paul Neufeld Weaver, Henri Ngolo, Wanda Ngolo, Pieter Niemeyer, Reuben Penner, Paul Pierce, Jane Pritchard, Kathy Railsback, Vern Riedeger, Carol Rose, Jim Roynon, Jacque Rozier, Jim Satterwhite, Carleta Schroeder, Chris Schweitzer, Pierre Shantz, Mary Alice Shemo, Jerry Stein, Lynn Stoltzfus, Harriet Taylor, George Weber, Dick Williams, Gretchen Williams, Doug Wingeier, Jane Wright, Joshua Yoder.

ASSOCIATES/VOLUNTEERS: Colombia: John Marks, Stewart Vriesinga (interns); Hebron: Diana Epp-Fransen (intern); Webmaster: Mark Byler; Building manager: Paul Becher, Chicago Office: Stephani Sakanee (intern), Barb Williamson (volunteer), PLUS the indispensable team of Chicago volunteers that make our newsletter mailings possible!