Signs of the Times: Winter 2000 Vol. X, No. 1

Articles and Features


Mexico

Renewing Our Hearts: Las Abejas Call on Soldiers to Abandon Military Bases

Abejas Women lead the Dec. 28, 1999 Procession of the Renewing of Our Hearts
Abejas Women lead the Dec. 28, 1999 Procession of the Renewing of Our Hearts
At Majomút, the largest army base in the
			highlands, soldiers were surprised when the Abejas handed them lighted candles and a leaflet challenging them to disarm and go home.
			"Mexican Soldier," read the leaflet, "...We have
			asked for the demilitarization of the region but the government
			doesn't listen...We now ask you to leave the military
			camp...Don't shed the blood of your brothers and sisters
			because when you kill a person, you are killing God."
At Majomút, the largest army base in the highlands, soldiers were surprised when the Abejas handed them lighted candles and a leaflet challenging them to disarm and go home. "Mexican Soldier," read the leaflet, "...We have asked for the demilitarization of the region but the government doesn't listen...We now ask you to leave the military camp...Don't shed the blood of your brothers and sisters because when you kill a person, you are killing God."

"We cannot talk of peace and want war. We cannot seek reconciliation and provoke violence with the presence of weapons. We cannot live in a land of justice while militarization increases. If our hearts don't match our words, we walk in darkness." Thus declared more than one thousand members of pacifist Christian group, Las Abejas, on December 28, 1999, as they knelt in prayer at four military bases calling on soldiers to lay down their guns. CPTers joined the "Pilgrimage for the Renewal of Our Hearts" -- inspired by scriptural themes of Jubilee -- which began in the refugee community of Acteal and wound 15 miles through the mountains of Chenalhó county for seven hours.

"As the procession approached its final destination, municipal authorities were terrified that the throng intended to take over the government offices," reported Sister "J" who works with the Abejas. "They were completely stunned when 1000 people filed into the town square and dropped to their knees in prayer." December 28 is the Feast Day of the Holy Innocents, the baby boys who were killed by decree of King Herod in the biblical account (Matt. 2:13-18). As Herod felt threatened by the birth of Jesus, so the government of Mexico feels threatened by indigenous people of Chiapas like the Abejas, who are raising a voice for justice and peace in the region. Both Chiapas state and Chenalhó county officials were implicated in the more recent slaughter of innocents two years ago when 45 members of the Abejas -- mostly women and children -- were gunned down in Acteal as they fasted and prayed for peace.

Members of CPT-Mexico who participated in the pilgrimage were: Claire Evans (Chicago, IL), Anne Herman (Binghamton, NY), Sara Reschly (Mount Pleasant, IA), and Lynn Stoltzfus (Harrisonburg, VA).


Back to the top

CPT in Mexico

Since beginning a full-time presence in Chiapas in June, 1998, CPT has focused much of its violence-reduction work in the highland county of Chenalhó. With some 20 army bases dotting the mountain ridges and valleys, it is the most heavily militarized region in the state. Most of these installations are "civic action" camps, offering free meals, haircuts, and medical and dental care. Many community residents see the military presence as a threat and reject such services. In addition to the military, paramilitary groups, made up primarily of village residents who support the ruling PRI government, continue to operate in Chenalhó. Military and paramilitary actions and threats have displaced 10,500 people since 1997 accounting for more than 1/3 of the county's residents and over half of the total 20,000 internal refugees statewide. Among the displaced in Chenalhó are about 2500 membes of Las Abejas (the Beed), a group of 4000 Mayan pacifist Christians. CPT has frequently joined with the Abejas to confront the militarization of Chenalhó through public pilgrimages and prayer vigils.


Back to the top

Chiapas: Prayers for Peaceful Change

Participants in CPT's peacemaker delegation to Mexico last November joined more than 100 members of Las Abejas (the Bees) in a public vigil to pray for an end to violence. Trudging through ankle-deep mud on steep mountain trails, the group made its way from the refugee community of X'oyep to the Mexican army base about a kilometer away. On the grounds of the base, where CPTers and Abejas had previously planted corn to symbolically reclaim the land for life-giving purposes, the group prayed for peaceful changes that would enable thousands of displaced villagers to return to their communities and soldiers to return to their homes. The prayer vigil took place just days after eight more families fled their homes in the mountain village of Canolal because of paramilitary threats.

Members of CPT's November delegation were: Jacqueline DeCarlo (Washington, DC), Karis Engle (Boynton Beach, FL), Rob Hanson (Boise, ID), Nelson Martin (Lansdale, PA), Leonard Nolt (Boise, ID), and Duane Ediger (Dallas, TX). CPTers who participated in the vigil were: Mark Frey (North Newton, KS), Cliff Kindy (North Manchester, IN) and Sara Reschly (Mount Pleasant, IA).


Back to the top

Chiapas: Permission to Pray Denied

Chenalhó County, Chiapas, Mexico -- Just around the bend from the entrance to the village of Acteal, one has a clear view of several communities from which many Abejas refugees have fled. Down in the valley is Quextíc; straight across the way is Chimíx; and just out of sight beyond the far ridge is Canolal.

On November 25, CPTers decided to make the 2-hour trek from Acteal to Canolal where, earlier that month, paramilitary threats compelled 45 men, women and children to flee. Team members hoped to visit with residents and pray for peace at different sites in the village, but they received a cold reception from state police and local townspeople. Community leaders insisted that the team needed permission from the municipal authorities in Chenalhó before they could pray in Canolal.

CPTers noticed graffiti on houses and the school building proclaiming the inhabitants' loyalty to the political party that has ruled Mexico for 70 years -- the PRI. In Canolal, as in other villages throughout the highlands, some community members have taken up arms to enforce that loyalty. Most observers assert that those weapons and the training to use them come from the military.

Before departing, CPTers did form a prayer circle and invited the handful of men who denied them entry into town to join them. All but one did. That one was later identified by members of the displaced families from Canolal as a prominent paramilitary leader.

A month later, CPTers returned to Canolal with a letter from the County Commissioner. Thirteen military vehicles and over 100 soldiers were there setting up another civic action camp. Community leaders decided the letter still wasn't good enough. Maybe if they came with a Protestant pastor, known to the community, then they could come and pray.


Hebron


Back to the top

CPT in Hebron

CPT began a violence-reduction presence in the West Bank city of Hebron in 1995 soon after Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinian Muslims at prayer in the mosque. Despite years of talks between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, progress towards peace remains elusive. Palestinian families in the Hebron District continue to suffer under the Occupation as Israeli authorities persist in demolishing homes, confiscating land to expand Jewish-only settlements, tightening access to water resources, and refusing to implement certain terms of previous agreements such as re-opening the central wholesale market. CPTers continue getting in the way of violence in Hebron. Daily patrols, regular visits to families involved in the Campaign for Secure Dwellings to stop home demolitions, and joining with Palestinians and Israeli peace groups to develop action campaigns that expose the face of the Occupation are all part of a day's work.


Back to the top

Hebron: Save the Water Pipes

"There's only one thing to do," said CPTer Kathleen Kern when she happened upon Israeli water company workers digging up Palestinian irrigation lines in the vineyards of the Beqa'a Valley east of Hebron on November 29. So she jumped in the hole and sat on the pipes. Several other CPTers jumped in with her. Eventually they were all pulled out of the hole and detained for three hours by Israeli police before being released.

The irrigation pipes, owned by a Palestinian family participating in CPT's "Campaign for Secure Dwellings," were technically illegal since they tapped an Israeli waterline. However, for many Palestinian farmers survival means resistance to a system that allots 80% of the West Bank's water resources to Israel proper or Jewish settlements leaving only 20% for the region's Palestinian population.

Those detained were Joanne Kaufman (Boulder, CO), Ben Kenagy (Albany, OR), Kathleen Kern (Webster, NY), Reinhard Kober (Hamburg, Germany), and Natasha Krahn (Waterloo, ON). They spent three hours in the custody of Israeli police, then released on the recognizance of a Palestinian friend.


Back to the top

Hebron: Tomatoes for Sale

Pierre Shantz, Waterloo, Ont and Judith Bustany,
			Los Angeles, CA sell tomatoes at confiscated wholesale market in
			Hebron.
Pierre Shantz, Waterloo, Ont and Judith Bustany, Los Angeles, CA sell tomatoes at confiscated wholesale market in Hebron.

Six CPTers and five members of a CPT-Rebuilders Against Bulldozers (RAB) delegation were detained by Israeli police November 26 as they challenged the closure of the Hashabhe market by selling tomatoes there. The wholesale vegetable market has been closed since 1994, despite provisions of three separate Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements that stipulate its reopening. The CPTers and RAB participants were able to hawk their produce for about ten minutes before Israeli police took them into custody. All were processed and released without charges 1½ hours later.

Members of the CPT-RAB delegation were: Carleta Baker (Newburg, OR), Karen Blatt (Elgin, IL), Judith Bustany (Los Angeles, CA), Rick Carter (Newton, KS), Donna Hicks (Durham, NC), and Keri Holmes (Kouts, IN). CPT-Hebron team members included: Jane Adas (Highland Park, NJ), Joanne Kaufman (Boulder, CO), Ben Kenagy (Albany, OR), Bourke Kennedy (Skaneateles, NY), Kathleen Kern (Webster, NY), Reinhard Kober (Hamburg, Germany), Natasha Krahn (Waterloo, ON). and Pierre Shantz (Blainville, PQ).


Back to the top

Hebron: Love Overcomes Fear in Hebron, by Art Gish

For over two weeks in December, Israeli settlers threatened the home of the Omar Sultan family in the Beqa'a Valley east of Hebron They held demonstrations and nightly vigils, and on December 21 began a 24-hour presence near the home.

On the evening of Saturday, December 25, about 100 settlers charged up the hillside around the Sultan home carrying flaming torches, destroying property and frightening the family. The settlers announced that they would return on the following Tuesday to demolish the home, confiscate the property, and start construction of a new settlement there.

Hebron CPTers went on red alert. We sent out an urgent action calling on people of good will from all over the world to contact their governments and the Israeli government to stop this impending tragedy. We asked for help from the Israeli peace movement. We notified the press. We maintained a round-the-clock presence with the family.

By Monday evening Israeli peace activists began to arrive at the Sultan home. Some of them, along with two CPTers, were prepared to risk arrest by sitting in front of the bulldozers the next day if the settlers tried to carry out their threats.

On Tuesday, December 28, about 50 Israelis from Gush Shalom, Rabbis for Human Rights, and other peace groups arrived together with more internationals and lots of press. Israeli soldiers declared the area a closed military zone and ordered everyone to leave the area but everyone stayed. Only a couple of settlers showed up.

On Wednesday a large group of settlers came to occupy the land, but were removed by Israeli authorities. On Thursday local Palestinians organized a march to the Sultan home which included both a current and former member of the Israeli Knesset, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Assembly, a high-ranking Muslim official from Jerusalem, local Palestinian dignitaries and Israeli peace activists.

Israeli soldiers initially attempted to impede the marchers, but eventually the crowd arrived at the Sultan house and greeted the family. With the dignitaries present, a high-ranking Israeli military official promised the Sultan family that their home would not be demolished. Since then, there has been no settler activity at the home.

What did CPT do here? Actually, not very much. We were present with the family, we made ourselves vulnerable to the evil there, we alerted the world to what was happening, we asked for help and support, and we prayed. Something happened that is bigger than anything we did.

We learned again that focusing the light of public attention on an evil situation can make a big difference. And we experienced again, as Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Muslims, and Christians shared together around the fire at the Sultan home, that peace is possible here.


Back to the top

"Under One Tree" -- Tent for Lent Worship Resources Available

<i>"If they destroy my house, I will not
			leave. I will be under the sky. Under one tree I will live."</i>
			-- Omar Sultan.
"If they destroy my house, I will not leave. I will be under the sky. Under one tree I will live." -- Omar Sultan.

Inspired by Omar Sultan's resolve, CPT has prepared Lenten worship materials drawing from the Hebron team's experiences working with Palestinians and Israelis against home demolitions and land confiscations. A bulletin insert/flier includes liturgy, reflection, and action suggestions. For copies contact CPT.


Back to the top

Hebron Team Launches "Buckets Of Soil" Campaign

In the spirit of "going the second mile" (Matt. 5:41), seventy people dumped buckets of soil onto land that the Israeli government recently confiscated from Palestinian farmer Abdel Jawad Jaber for settlement expansion. Jaber has seen his orchard in the Beqa'a Valley destroyed and a 30-foot retaining wall rise in its place, marking the boundary of a new subdivision for Givat Ha Harsina settlement.

The February 11 witness, which included Israeli peace activists, CPTers and Rebuilders Against Bulldozers (RAB) delegation members, dramatized the glaring contradiction between Israel's policy of talking peace with the Palestinians while simultaneously grabbing more land. The Israeli government has expropriated far more West Bank land than it has turned over to the Palestinians under the Wye and Sharm al-Sheikh agreements.

The Hebron team asks CPT supporters to continue this witness by delivering buckets of soil to the nearest Israeli Embassy or Consulate or sending a letter with a packet of earth in the mail as a way to raise the concern of ongoing land confiscation.

Members of the February RAB delegation were: Judy Cloughen (Sparks, MD), David Cockburn (Taunton, Somerset, UK), Rusty Dinkins-Curling (Portland, OR), Mary Lawrence (Whitman, MA), Ilse and Harald Matthiessen (Oakville, ON), Rich Meyer (Millersburg, IN), Marian Solomon (Ames, IA), Richard Solomon (Brighton, CO), and Doug Wingeier (Waynesville, NC).

Addresses: CANADA: Ambassador David Sultan; Israeli Embassy; 50 O'Connor St., Ste. 1005; Ottawa, ON K1P 6L2; Tel: 613-567-6450; Fax: 613-237-8865. U.S.A.: Embassy of Israel; 3414 International Dr. NW; Washington, DC 20008; Tel: 202-364-5500; Fax: 202-364-5423; e-mail: ask@israelemb.org; Secretary of State Madeline Albright; 2201 C St. NW; Washington, DC 20520; Tel: 202-647-4000 (switchboard); Fax: 202-736-4461; e-mail: secretary@state.gov . Israeli consulates in the U.S. are located in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.


Dialogue

In Dialogue, we lift exchanges from CPT.D, an open e-mail discussion on CPT's vision and work. CPT's "Jubilee Witness" at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) between Christmas and New Year's, which included a "ritual of social exorcism," sparked the following discussion.

Bert Newton, Pasadena, CA: I would like to hear more about the exorcism at the IMF building in D.C. How was the actual ritual performed? I am impressed and encouraged by CPT's efforts to expose and engage the spirituality of sociopolitical powers, and I want to learn more about how to do this.

 

Sue C. Wheeler, Lansing, MI: I've walked in Charismatic Christianity for over 25 years, so when I see words like "demons" and "exorcism," I snap to attention. CPTers have demonstrated a respect for scripture. Can someone support the concept of "Social Exorcism" scripturally? When Jesus and His followers cast out demons, they dealt with individuals, not structures. Expelling demons is both serious and dangerous. Friends, I'm concerned.

 

Kathleen Kern, CPTer, Webster, New York: The social exorcism we performed at the IMF building was consistent with the theology, espoused most notably by Walter Wink, that most of Satan's work in the world is accomplished through systems of domination. Children starve to death, people are tortured and slaughtered because of these systems, while Christians stand by and watch or even participate because these atrocities happen within the context of a political or economic system. There is no record that Jesus performed a social exorcism like we did at the IMF. The Gospels are full of examples, however, of how he attacked the Domination System in which the poor and the marginalized were exploited by the political and religious establishment. The System crucified him and three days later he subverted that punishment and rose from the dead. We believe that our witness at the IMF was consistent with the example set by Jesus. Times change and cultures adapt biblical truths to speak to their own experiences. The specific framework for our ritual came from "Claiming All Things for God: Prayer, Discernment, and Ritual for Social Change" by George McClain, executive director of the Methodist Federation for Social Action from 1974-1999.

 

Carl Meyer, CPT Reservist, Goshen, IN:

The IMF action was in many ways an experiment in peacemaking, and discussion can only help us learn from the experiment. To me, the word 'exorcism' implies a fairly simple, one-time act of liberation. As if we could go to the International Monetary Fund, and with a liturgy, exorcise from it the spirits of greed, domination, fear, spiritual blindness, and racism. It doesn't seem to do justice either to the deeply entrenched position of these spirits in the institutions of our global economy, or to the complexity and breadth of the struggle to 'engage the Powers'. Because, frankly, we didn't exorcise these spirits from the IMF with our action, nor even with the week-long fasting vigil. Perhaps we planted seeds of change, or helped to water them, but that's the most we can claim.

As a participant, however, I found the action to be strong and spirit-filled, and personally moving. If we truly look to discern and name the spirits of these institutions, we are forced to recognize those same spirits holding us captive.

Joshua Yoder, CPT Reservist, Chicago, IL:

We didn't exorcize the spirits of greed, domination, fear, spiritual blindness and racism from the IMF? Are you so sure? Did Jesus inaugurate the kingdom of God? His mission certainly seemed to end in failure at the time. 2,000 years later, it seems pretty dubious that Jesus really changed anything. Yet we Christians affirm that through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, something shifted decisively in history. If we who were present affirm that our witness has broken the hold of greed, domination, fear, spiritual blindness and racism on the IMF, in our own minds at least, then I think that is a powerful beginning.



Back to the top

CPT Concludes Richmond Presence

In December, CPT concluded its 2½ year presence in the ethnically diverse Park Realty neighborhood in Richmond, VA. The Project in Urban Peacemaking, under the leadership of CPTer Wes Hare, maintained regular citizen patrols to deter violence, sponsored summer carnivals and other community building events, and engaged in regular public vigils for victims of violence in the city. These peacemaking efforts will be carried on by community residents and members of First Mennonite Church.



Back to the top

CPT Calendar, 2000

February
18-29 Delegation to Chiapas
19 Fundraising concert, Newton, KS

March
4 Caldwell Door-Knocking, Blenheim, ON
11-17 Delegation to Vieques, Puerto Rico
20-30 Delegation to La Framboise Island, SD

April
7-9 CPT Steering Committee Meetings, Chicago
7-16??? Delegation to Colombia

May
18-30 Delegation to Chiapas
26-June 8 Delegation to Middle East

July
13-25 Delegation to Chiapas
21-August 3 Delegation to Middle East

August
4-7 & 18-27 Ontario Regional CPT Training


Back to the top

CPT Needs You

If you speak Spanish and have a heart for active peacemaking, please consider joining CPT. With a full-time presence in Chiapas, Mexico and invitations to send teams to Colombia and Puerto Rico, CPT urgently needs Spanish speakers to step forward and take your place in this violence-reduction ministry. If you can give three years of full-time or part-time service, please contact CPT's personnel coordinator, Jan Long; 950 Heather Dr.; Blacksburg, VA 24060; Tel/Fax: 540-951-2788; e-mail: cpt2@igc.org


Canada


Back to the top

CPT in Canada

CPT-Canada is on the move with regular visits to support a number of First Nations communities throughout Ontario and the Maritime provinces. The most recent invitation has come from Burnt Church, New Brunswick where CPT plans to place a

CPT Goes to Burnt Church, by Janet Shoemaker

The wharf at Burnt Church
The wharf at Burnt Church

"When you are dealing with racism so long, you become numb to it," a Mi'kmaq woman told a CPT fact-finding mission to New Brunswick in eastern Canada in January. She spoke of the treatment that First Nations people in Esgenoôpetitj (Burnt Church) received from whites during a conflict last fall over lobster fishing. As the spring lobstering season approaches, the community fears more violence. Plans are underway for CPT to set up a 3-person violence-reduction team there April through June, 2000, and again during the fall lobstering season.

Options for employment on the reserve are limited. With the Marshall Decision by the Canadian Supreme Court in September 1999, which recognized aboriginals' treaty rights to sell fish in order to sustain a "moderate living," many people at Esgenoôpetitj used all of their financial resources to purchase lobster traps and equipment, believing they could finally fish without being molested by government authorities.

On October 3, over 150 non-native fishing boats streamed into the bay cutting all of the native's lobster traps. Wives and children of local white fishers stood on the wharf with signs, protesting the government decision to restore native fishing rights. Later, the rhetoric of the white demonstrators turned from anti-government to anti-native. As the conflict escalated, violence erupted on both sides, resulting in damaged property and serious injuries. Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) officials and Royal Canadian Mounted Police at the scene made no attempt to stop the destruction. Native fishers lost a total of $250,000 worth equipment.

When CPTers William Payne (Toronto, ON) and Janet Shoemaker (Goshen, IN) visited the Mi'kmaq in January, community members said that the government has done little to resolve the situation. However, they are determined to continue exercising their right to commercial fishing this spring.


Back to the top

Grassy Narrows: Like the Beaver

"We're like the beaver," said William Fobister, Chief of the 1000 member Grassy Narrows First Nation. "You tear down their dam, they'll build it again, overnight. You take them away from their home and they come back -- until you kill them I guess. Even then, after awhile, a different family will come."

Last fall, two CPT delegations visited Grassy Narrows, located about 85 kilometers north of Kenora, Ontario.

The Nation endured a forcible relocation in the 1960's, the social fallout of the residential school system, and mercury poisoning of their river. Now the clear-cutting practices of pulp and paper giant, Abitibi-Consolidated, are sweeping away the residents' trap-lines debilitating the fur trade which is virtually the only source of income in Grassy Narrows.

The September 28-29 delegation included Jan Braun (Osler, SK), Lisa Martens (Brandon, MB), Doug Pritchard (Toronto, ON, ) and Matt Schaaf (Winnipeg, MB). The November 21-22 delegation included Martens, and Schaaf along with Erna and Egon Enns (Winnipeg MB).



Back to the top

Delegation Supports Treaty Rights in South Dakota

A nine-member delegation braved windy, frigid weather over the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend to continue CPT's support of nonviolent Lakota warriors challenging U.S. disregard for Native American treaty rights in Pierre, South Dakota. In March 1999, seven warriors began a spiritual encampment on La Framboise Island across from the South Dakota capitol to protest the transfer of 92,000 acres of federally-managed treaty land to the state. CPT maintained a continuous presence with them from April through October, 1999.

Delegates sang and prayed through the halls of the state capitol on their way to meet with South Dakota Governor Janklow, a staunch supporter of the land transfer. In Janklow's office, participants delivered copies of CPT's Y2K calendar which features quotes from the warriors on nonviolence.

Another CPT delegation in March will coincide with the first anniversary of the camp. Members of the November group included: Grace Boyer (Danville, KY), Caitlin Keyzer (Winnipeg, MG), Lisa Martens (Winnipeg, MB), Carl Meyer (Millersburg, IN), Eric Meyer (Millersburg, IN), Abigail Nafziger (Goshen, IN), Rick Polhamus (Fletcher, OH), Matt Schaaf (Winnipeg, MB), and Elizabeth Smucker (Goshen, IN).


Back to the top

CPT Delegations to Visit Colombia and Puerto Rico

CPT will send a delegation to Colombia April 7-17 at the invitation of the Colombian Mennonite Church and Justapaz, a church-run human rights center in Bogotá. Colombia has been in a state of civil war for 40 years. In the last 10 years, 35,000 Colombians have been killed and 1.5 million have become refugees. U.S. aid to Colombia soared from $85.7 million in 1997 to a proposed $1.3 billion this year. Colombian Mennonites doing human rights and relief work with refugees have received death threats.

Delegates to Puerto Rico March 11-17 will travel to beleaguered Vieques Island where the U.S. Navy's practice bombing killed a civilian in April, 1999. The action galvanized Puerto Rican opposition to U.S. military domination. Church of the Brethren pastors in Puerto Rico have invited CPT's support for an encampment which has halted military maneuvers on Vieques for 10 months. The March delegation is co-sponsored by the Baptist Peace Fellowship.


Announcements

Jubilee 2000 National Mobilization - Jubilee 2000, a coalition calling for debt cancellation for impoverished countries, is sponsoring a day of mobilization in Washington, DC on April 9. Contact: Jubilee 2000/USA; 222 E. Capitol St. NE; Washington, DC 20003; Tel: 202-783-3566; e-mail: coord@j2000usa.org

"Re-imagining Politics and Society at the Millennium" - a conference organized by the progressive Jewish magazine Tikkun, scheduled for May 18-20 in New York City, will include a workshop by CPT on unarmed intervention in violent crises. For more information go to the Foundation for Ethics and Meaning website, www.meaning.org, or call the Open Center at (212) 219-2527, x129 to register.

Race and Public Policy - a seminar sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee's Washington Office April 9-11 will examine current developments and models or responses that are restorative and just from an Anabaptist perspective. Contact: MCC; Tel: 202-544-6564, e-mail: mccwash@mcc.org.

Summer Peacebuilding Institute - Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, VA offers a 15-course Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) May 8-June 30. Contact: SPI; Tel: 540-432-4490;e-mail: ctprogram@emu.edu; website: www.emu.edu/ctp/cto.htm.

 

Peacemaker Congress V Proclaims Jubilee

Over 130 people from the U.S. and Canada gathered in Washington, DC On December 27-30 for three days of worship, learning, and sharing news of peacemaking initiatives. Long-time peace activists Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness and Sr. Anne Montgomery of CPT's Hebron team helped participants reflect on the potential of active nonviolence for the new millennium.

Matt Guynn assists Anita Fast in ripping up a
			mock debt certificate symbolically releasing that country
			from the crushing burden of debt.
Matt Guynn assists Anita Fast in ripping up a mock debt certificate symbolically releasing that country from the crushing burden of debt.

A week-long vigil witnessing against the violence of economic oppression as epitomized in international debt burdens coincided with the Congress and formed a centerpiece of nonviolent direct action for participants. For seven days between Christmas and New Year's, CPTers fasted and prayed from 7am-7pm at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in preparation for announcing the biblical "Jubilee," which includes forgiveness of debt, on New Year's Day 2000. Congress participants joined the special "Jubilee Team" coordinated by Anita Fast (Vancouver, BC) for noontime marches around the IMF and evening candlelight prayers on behalf of the 50 most heavily indebted countries.

Liturgy Leads to Arrests

In a special liturgy on December 29, more than one hundred Congress participants and guests from South Korea, Ethiopia, Ghana and Burma gathered at the IMF to perform a service of social exorcism -- casting out the demons of domination, fear, greed, racism and spiritual blindness that pervade IMF policy regarding poor nations.

The crowd commissioned a

Soon after the arrests, negotiators reached an agreement whereby the remaining 12 were permitted to complete their prayers inside the IMF in a conference room followed by an hour-long dialogue with high-level IMF representatives.

On New Year's Eve, as the clock struck midnight ushering in the new millennium in countries around the globe, CPTers blew a shofar to proclaim Jubilee. Then on New Year's morning they broke their fast with a "great Jubilee feast" of lentils and rice shared with members of Washington's homeless community.

The core vigilling team consisted of: Jamey Bouwmeester (Elgin, IL), Barry Cardinal (Cree Nation), Kryss Chupp (Chicago, IL), Anita Fast (Vancouver, BC), Matt Guynn (Richmond, IN), JoAnne Lingle (Indianapolis, IN), Lisa Martens (Winnipeg, MB), Robert Naiman (Washington, DC), William Payne (Toronto, ON), Rick Polhamus (Fletcher, OH), Dianne Roe (Corning, NY), and Phil Stoltzfus (Newton, KS).


Peace Briefs

Fast Challenges Sanctions Against Iraq - 12 members of Voices in the Wilderness (VitW), including co-founder Kathy Kelly (Chicago, IL) and CPTer Anne Montgomery (Brooklyn, NY) began fasting January 15 on the capitol steps in Washington, DC, to draw attention to the devastation caused by the U.S.-supported United Nations sanctions against Iraq. According to UNICEF, the harsh economic measures in place since 1990 are responsible for the deaths of some 500,000 children under the age of five. The vigil/fast concluded on February 14 at the U.S. mission to the UN in New York City, where 86 people, including Kelly, were arrested.

Forthofer For Congress - CPT Reservist Ron Forthofer (Loveland, CO) will run as the Green Party candidate for U.S. Congress in the 2nd district in Colorado. Forthofer credits a CPT delegation to the Middle East in 1996 and time with CPT's team in South Dakota this summer with raising his consciousness about "the importance of Congress in causing problems as well as in bringing about positive change." See his website at www.forthofer2000.com.


LETTERS

You're right. Toy guns do teach the wrong attitude. That's why my 11 year old son has his own real guns in his room in a locked cabinet. He has been taught since he was five how to handle and treat guns with the proper respect. He enjoys shooting and hunting very much. He is also very active in our church. When will people learn that it is not the guns? It is the teaching that children receive. There is nothing wrong with guns and there is no scripture to teach otherwise.
- Anonymous, Internet

I would like to thank CPT for the help and support they have given us during this very trying year. We have had to deal with racism and harassment for the past year by the Chatham-Kent Community Network and area politicians. Knowing there are people out there such as you has meant a lot to us.
- Theresa Johnson, Caldwell First Nation, Blenheim, ON

I am saddened every time we receive a copy of CPT news. You pursue peace in so many places but totally ignore the holocaust going on day after day, year after year, in our own country -- the abortion issue. Until your group works for peace at every level your message is pretty hollow.
- Janice Kreider, Palmyra, MO

I am deeply offended by your reference to Hebron, "West Bank." There is no such place in law, in history, in tradition, or in right, and I deplore this surrender to pro-Zionist media trickery! Yes, there still is a Palestine, and unless it is affirmed, I will sadly give up on CPT.
- Mitchell Kaidy, Rochester, NY

You guys are so strict on video games. Video games relieve stress. Fake violence helps people relieve tension instead of taking it out on people. Not even the president has the right to say what's right for other people's children. Violence is in human nature. There is no way to get rid of it.
- Alex, Internet

I appreciated the "Dialogue" on anti-Semitism and support for justice in Palestine in your spring issue. The frank debate was helpful as was pointing out how deeply ingrained anti-Semitism is in Christian thinking.
- John Rempel, New York, NY

CPT Training 2000

New CPT workers
New CPT workers

CPT's first training of the new millennium graduated three new full-time (ft) members of the Peacemaker Corps and eight Reservists (r) on January 26, 2000. Participants spent 3 ½ weeks focusing on action, reflection, and practice of peacemaking skills in the areas of:

  1. nonviolent direct action and public witness;
  2. undoing racism and cross-cultural work;
  3. spiritual disciplines and biblical examples of nonviolence;
  4. personal styles and working in teams;
  5. listening, negotiation and conflict transformation; and
  6. documentation and human rights reporting.

A kaleidoscope of role plays, small group exercises, simulations, and presentations characterized the 13-hour days.

New Millennium CPT workers are (from left to right): Back Row -- Grace Boyer, Danville, KY (r); Amy Babcock-Sellers, Richmond, IN (r); Carleta Baker, Newberg, OR (r); Bob Holmes, Toronto, ON (r); Matt Schaff, Winnipeg, MB (r); Tracy Hughes, Tiffin, OH (r); Middle Row -- Dorothy Goertz, Goessel, KS (r); Scott Kerr, Downers Grove, IL (ft); Judith Bustany, Los Angeles, CA, (r); Erin Kindy, Goshen, IN (r); Rick Carter, Newton, KS (ft); Front Row -- Gene Stoltzfus (staff); Anita Fast, Vancouver, BC (ft); Kryss Chupp (staff)


CPT Workers

STEERING COMMITTEE: Bob Bartel, Anne Blackwood, Pat Hostetter Martin, Cliff Kindy, Nancy Maeder, Trayce Petersen, Orlando Redekopp, Hedy Sawadsky, Mary Scott Boria, Muriel Stackley, John Stoner, Dorothy Jean Weaver.

STAFF: Gene Stoltzfus, Director; Claire Evans, Administrative Coordinator; Kryss Chupp, Training Coordinator - Chicago, IL; Jan Long, Christian Peacemaker Corps Coordinator - Blacksburg, VA; Rich Meyer, Campaign for Secure Dwellings Coordinator - Millersburg, IN; Doug Pritchard, CPT Canada - Toronto, ON.

CHRISTIAN PEACEMAKER CORPS: Jamey Bouwmeester (Elgin, IL), Rick Carter (Newton, KS), Claire Evans (Chicago, IL), Anita Fast (Vancouver, BC), Mark Frey (N. Newton, KS), Anne Herman (Binghamton, NY), Kathleen Kern (Webster, NY), Scott Kerr (Downers Grove, IL), Cliff Kindy (N. Manchester, IN), Natasha Krahn (Waterloo, ON), Anne Montgomery (Brooklyn, NY), William Payne (Toronto, ON), Rick Polhamus (Fletcher, OH), Sara Reschly (Mt. Pleasant, IA), Dianne Roe (Corning, NY), Pierre Shantz (Blainville, PQ), Janet Shoemaker (Goshen, IN), Lynn Stoltzfus (Harrisonburg, VA)..

VOLUNTEERS: Art Gish (Athen, OH), Erin Kindy (N. Manchester, IN), Reinhard Kobar (Hamburg, Germany).

Moving? Your returned mail costs us money. Please help us save postage and trees! Send your change of address or a request to be removed from our mailing list to: CPT; P.O. Box 6508; Chicago, IL 60680-6508.