Christian Peacemaker Teams - Turn your Faith into Action for Peace en PALESTINE: Life in the Seam Zone Village of Al-Seefer <span>PALESTINE: Life in the Seam Zone Village of Al-Seefer</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Fri, 07/12/2019 - 13:25</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="400" src="/sites/default/files/6V7A6944-2-1-1024x683_0.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>On Saturday 1 June, during Ramadan, two CPTers were accompanying community partners in at-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills. While they were there, the Bedouin community in Al-Seefer invited the CPTers to share an iftar meal with them and the CPTers accepted with delight.</p> <p>Al-Seefer village is in the Seam Zone, meaning the village lies within Palestinian West Bank territory between the 1949 Armistice Line (the internationally recognised border between Israel and Palestine) and the Separation Barrier that Israel has built, allegedly for “security” reasons. The village is surrounded by Israeli settlements that are illegal under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and there is an Israeli military checkpoint close by. Palestinians living there, even though they are still in Palestinian territory, are cut off from the rest of the West Bank and require special permits to enter the Seam Zone.</p> <p>During the iftar meal, the residents of Al-Seefer shared with members of CPT Palestine more about life in the Seam Zone. The villagers, about 60 in total (13 families), may not enter Israel, and their friends and family in the West Bank cannot visit them since they do not have the required permits. Israel has trapped them in what is almost a prison with little access to the most basic of facilities like water and electricity, and their children struggle desperately to access their right to an education. <a href="">According to UNICEF</a>, what should be just a 15-minute walk to school is usually about an hour as children have to negotiate their way past Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint, pass through a scanner, have every bag searched, and sometimes have to remove their shirts for “security reasons.” In addition, not only do the villagers face the constant threat of home demolitions, but the Israeli authorities also impose strict bans on building permanent structures, and some existing houses are falling derelict as a result.</p> <p>Compounding the villagers’ problems, Israeli settlers often harass and intimidate them. These harassments have included settlers regularly throwing stones at Palestinians, making holes in their water tanks, and destroying their olive and fig trees with chemicals.</p> <p>In addition, the Israeli government has a policy of “forcible transfer” for such Bedouin communities as Al-Seefer so that it can significantly expand many existing settlements. In response to international criticism of this policy, Israel is constructing urban relocation centres for the Bedouin, but they are entirely unsuitable for semi-nomadic people who simply want to cultivate their lands and tend their animals. Abu Khamis, the leader of another Bedouin community, has described this forcible transfer into townships “like Guantanamo to the Bedouin.”</p> <p>One has to ask how the Israeli authorities can use security as an excuse for these human rights abuses.&nbsp; Moreover, how can they negotiate peace based on dignity, mutual respect, and equality when they treat the Palestinians so appallingly?</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1415" hreflang="en">Palestine</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1419" hreflang="en">South Hebron Hills</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 12 Jul 2019 18:25:34 +0000 Kathy Kern 12240 at Turkish Bombs Target Vacation Destination in Iraqi Kurdistan. <span>Turkish Bombs Target Vacation Destination in Iraqi Kurdistan.</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/11/2019 - 07:19</span> <div><p><img alt="The view of Amedi from Kani Motel." data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></p> <h6>The view of Amedi from Kani Motel.</h6> <p>Amedi is an ancient city in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan where people from all over Iraq come to enjoy the historic atmosphere, cool weather and beautiful mountains.&nbsp; It is a tourist destination for people fleeing the heat during the summer months. The Kany Motel and Tahini factory, owned by Kak Ayub, is a favorite of many traveling families and vacationers seeking rest and relaxation.&nbsp; With its cool gardens, beautiful view of the mountains, and amazing hospitality, Ayub’s motel has also been a welcome stopping place for CPT’s Iraqi Kurdistan team over the past decade. Tahini made by Kak Ayub and his small staff has travelled the world, as it is said to be one of the best tahinis in the region and a favourite of CPTers visiting Iraqi Kurdistan. Ayub has hosted many CPT delegations, team trips and even a CPT wedding in his hotel over the years. Unfortunately, CPT’s last trip to visit Kak Ayub was under very different circumstances.</p> <p>On 12 June 2019, The Turkish military dropped a bomb within Amedi, just a few blocks from The Kany Motel and Tahini Factory. The bomb landed just in front of a gas station and a plant shop on the main road. Two workers at the plant shop were injured, the large cement roof of the gas station collapsed, and a huge hole made by the impact still blocks half of the road. Luckily, the gas station was vacant and had no fuel in its tanks or the incident could have been catastrophic.&nbsp; Even so, the explosion did break a large water main.</p> <p><img alt="Ayub with the CPT team outside of his motel and tahini factory." data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></p> <h6>Ayub with the CPT team outside of his motel and tahini factory.</h6> <p>Ayub was at the motel when he heard a large explosion and the building started to shake. The families at the hotel became frightened and tried to flee the town. All but one family left, but the incident was not over. Twenty minutes after the first bomb landed, the people of Amedi heard another loud explosion and the mountain next to the motel began to rumble and shake.&nbsp; Turkish warplanes circled overhead through the night and into the next day. Traffic blocked the main road for hours.</p> <p class="text-align-center"><b>“Imagine not feeling safe to walk in the streets,” Ayub said as he recalled the events of that evening.&nbsp;</b></p> <p>For several decades the Turkish military has carried out operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. Often these airstrikes take place in remote areas where small villages and shepherd communities live. Ayub said this was the first time he recalled the Turkish military directly targeting the town of Amedi. Residents of Amedi say they saw no PKK members in the area and still wonder why Turkey targeted their town.</p> <p><img alt="The gas station in Amedi after being hit by a Turkish airstrike." data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></p> <h6>The gas station in Amedi after the Turkish airstrike</h6> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1408" hreflang="en">Kurdistan</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1406" hreflang="en">Iraq</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 11 Jul 2019 12:19:40 +0000 Kathy Kern 12239 at Grassy Narrows members crawl across Bay Street in Toronto as a symbolic witness <span>Grassy Narrows members crawl across Bay Street in Toronto as a symbolic witness</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/09/2019 - 09:12</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="292" src="/sites/default/files/20190620_141045-1.jpg" width="600" /></p> <h6>Photo: Murray Lumley</h6> <p>by David Milne</p> <p>On 20 June, several members from Grassy Narrows First Nation crawled across Bay Street in downtown Toronto toward the front doors of the building holding the office of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Their chief and elders, many in wheel chairs, looked on. They were enacting how the Canadian government forced them to beg for help and restitution from the effects of mercury poisoning.&nbsp; Once they reached the entrance on their hands and knees, they collapsed, demonstrating how even when they crawl and beg, they are left in the street to die.&nbsp; This action took place in the middle of the 2019 River Run, in which hundreds of people joined the members of Grassy Narrows march through the streets of Toronto demanding justice.</p> <p>Between 1960 and the early 70s the Reed International Paper Company in Dryden, Ontario dumped 9 thousand kilograms of methylmercury into the English-Wabigoon river system.</p> <p>Mercury poisoning, also known as Minamata disease, has terrible effects that include hearing and vision loss, muscle weakness, and neurological impairment, among others. Mental illness and suicide accompany the physical effects of the disease.</p> <p>A recent study determined that 90% of the Grassy Narrows First Nation population and its neighbour, Whitedog First Nation, suffer some effects of mercury poisoning.&nbsp; That percentage includes youth as well as the elderly.</p> <p>For decades the provincial and federal governments stalled, trying to suppress the facts of the deadly effects of mercury poisoning. They pointed fingers at each other but took little action.</p> <p>The current Canadian Federal government promised to build a treatment home for the sick in the community of Grassy Narrows but to date only 1% of the money has reached the community.&nbsp; Some money has been set aside for compensation but the community members have seen little of it.</p> <p>When the mercury poisoning came to light in the 1970s, the commercial fishery, a source of employment for many in the community, shut down. Fish, a staple of the Grassy Narrows diet, became toxic.</p> <p>As a settler and one of over 450 supporters taking part in the 2019 River Run, I could feel only shame that members from Grassy Narrows felt they had to beg for help. Yet they have been coming to Queen’s Park for a decade and petitioning the current Prime Minister and his predecessors to take action.</p> <p>Despite the shame, I still found hope in the respectful silence and attentiveness of onlookers as the march wound its way through downtown Toronto on a busy Thursday afternoon.</p> <p>I hope too that some of you will visit Grassy Narrows’ Facebook page, <a href="">sign the petition</a>, and/or call or write our Prime Minister demanding justice and redress for the people of Grassy Narrows First Nation. &nbsp;A donation to help defray their expenses would also be appreciated.</p> <p><a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="292" src="/sites/default/files/20190620_141126.jpg" width="600" /></p> <h6>Photo: Murray Lumley</h6> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1404" hreflang="en">Indigenous Peoples Solidarity</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1397" hreflang="en">Canada</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 09 Jul 2019 14:12:52 +0000 Kathy Kern 12237 at IRAQI KURDISTAN:  “Until we have peace, we can not live comfortably” —Turkey bombs shepherds around Bagova <span>IRAQI KURDISTAN:  “Until we have peace, we can not live comfortably” —Turkey bombs shepherds around Bagova</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/04/2019 - 11:03</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="450" src="/sites/default/files/resize%2BCopy%2Bof%2BIMG_6123_0.JPG" width="600" /></p> <h6>Aihan was looking after his family’s flock of sheep when the Turkish bombing began.</h6> <p>As villagers from Bagova led our CPT-Iraqi Kurdistan team down the road we were all keenly aware of the large Turkish outpost lined with razor wire and bunkers of sandbags looming just over the next hill to the left. We were also aware of the large mountain to the right, a suspected area of operations for the PKK. We scanned the hilltops for military movement, but it wasn’t until we stopped that we noticed the young boy tending his family’s sheep in the field between these two forces. He was in that same field three weeks earlier, unnoticed by fighter jets, as Turkish bombs rained down.</p> <p>On 7 June 2019 an armed clash between the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Turkish soldiers stationed at a Turkish outpost near Zakho, Iraqi Kurdistan broke out. As a response, the Turkish military sent planes and drones to bomb the surrounding hills and valleys. The bombs sent deadly shrapnel flying throughout the area and the impact caused windows to break in neighboring villages.</p> <p>Aihan, age 13, was with his mother tending to their flock of sheep that day. When the Turkish Air Force began to bomb, the two of them were stuck on the side of the mountain. Aihan told CPT that, with their herd, they made their way as fast as they could down to the main road. Aihan told CPTers that he was so terrified by the falling bombs that he passed out in the field. Aihan’s father, Kak Sanhan, quickly drove from their home in Bagova to help his family escape. Kak Sanhan told CPT that as they began to flee the area, a bomb fell near their truck. The explosion killed seventy-two of their animals and forced their truck off the road where it flipped over four times. Kak Sanhan’s wife, Shems Khan, was badly injured as the truck rolled. She had a severe wound on her head requiring several stitches and sustained injuries to her arm. Three weeks later Shem’s injuries are still visible.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="450" src="/sites/default/files/resize%2BCopy%2Bof%2BIMG_6092.JPG" width="600" /></p> <h6>A local villager pointing out an area that is frequently bombed.</h6> <p>Residents of four neighboring villages spoke to CPT on June 20, 2019. In this area raising cattle provides an important source of income. All the villagers had stories of shepherds trapped in fields, animals dying and people taking cover behind rocks during Turkish bombings. “We only need peace” one man told CPTers. Villagers said that either the Turkish outpost or the PKK needed to leave. All the villagers agreed on one thing, that a diplomatic and peaceful agreement needed to be reached soon. Kak Sanhan added, “Until we have peace, we can not live comfortably.”</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1408" hreflang="en">Kurdistan</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1406" hreflang="en">Iraq</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 04 Jul 2019 16:03:04 +0000 Kathy Kern 12236 at Prayers for Peacemakers, 3 July 2019  Borderlands <span>Prayers for Peacemakers, 3 July 2019  Borderlands</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Wed, 07/03/2019 - 11:08</span> <div><h6><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="341" src="/sites/default/files/Screen%20Shot%202019-07-03%20at%2010.05.53%20AM_0.png" width="600" /><br /> From the Office of the Inspector General <a href="">report</a></h6> <p>Pray for all those detained in concentration camps at the U.S./Mexico Border and in other U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Facilities.&nbsp; Give thanks for those who are trying to shine a light on the racist and misogynistic Border Patrol culture that is threatening the lives and the health of the children, women and men held in these camps.&nbsp; Inspire people on the outside to find creative ways to confront and overturn this evil, before it turns into something worse.</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="331" src="/sites/default/files/Screen%20Shot%202019-07-03%20at%2010.04.06%20AM.png" width="600" /></p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="292" src="/sites/default/files/Screen%20Shot%202019-07-03%20at%2010.04.47%20AM.png" width="600" /></p> <p>From the Office of the Inspector General <a href="">report</a></p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1396" hreflang="en">Borderlands</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1430" hreflang="en">United States</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1409" hreflang="en">Mexico</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1413" hreflang="en">Migration</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 03 Jul 2019 16:08:41 +0000 Kathy Kern 12235 at A CPT-Iraqi Kurdistan delegate wishes more people would visit the people there. <span>A CPT-Iraqi Kurdistan delegate wishes more people would visit the people there.</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/02/2019 - 10:49</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="400" src="/sites/default/files/p4_0.JPG" width="600" /></p> <h6>The CPT Delegation in Rawanduz, enjoying the beauty of Kurdistan.</h6> <p>by Patrycja Wibe</p> <p>The CPT delegation to Iraqi Kurdistan in March 2019 was a unique opportunity for me to learn about life in the region, and to meet people and organisations whose stories usually don’t appear in the international media. Where I come from, all we hear about Iraqi Kurdistan is either the fight against ISIS or the question of independence, when there are so many other issues affecting people’s lives: from daily power cuts to cross-border bombings from Turkey and Iran. The political situation is complex and often hard to understand for outsiders, and the people we met may be divided by their political views, but all of them want peace, freedom and justice.</p> <p>The villagers who had to leave their houses and lands or lost their family members due to the cross-border bombings want these assaults to stop and the Turkish military bases to withdraw from their country. They want to live and work their lands without the fear of military attacks and displacement. The journalists and civil society activists want to carry on their work without the fear of arrest and harassment.</p> <p class="text-align-center">&nbsp;</p> <p class="text-align-center"><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="672" src="/sites/default/files/P2_0.JPG" width="353" /></p> <h6 class="text-align-center">Dida’s town of Sidekan is the victim of numerous Turkish and Iranian cross-border bombardments. Her family struggles to maintain gardens and work amidst the conflict.</h6> <p><br /> The people we met often felt neglected by their government. As one woman from a village affected by cross-border bombings said, “We sit on an ocean of oil, but have no heating for our homes.”</p> <p>We visited an Assyrian Christian village that is unable to get funding for necessities like a proper road or irrigation system for their fields, because they lack political connections.</p> <p>The work that CPT’s partners in Iraqi Kurdistan do against all the obstacles is impressive. Many people have paid a heavy price for their peaceful activism: arrests, blackmail, harassment, and even exile from their country. Some political parties try to suppress freedom of speech and expression by detaining activists and journalists like Sherwan Sherwani and Ghodar Zebari, under the false pretext of being a threat to national security. As Sherwan Sherwani said, “they believe party security is national security”.</p> <p>The authorities also try to bribe independent journalists by offering them work with the government or political parties. But they refuse to give up their principles and moral values and carry on exposing human rights abuses, political corruption, and by organising peaceful demonstrations.</p> <p>I was very moved by the youth group from the town of Ranya, who, despite its lack of resources work on environmental and social awareness issues, and was preparing a tribute for a dog cruelly burned to death. The younger generation is establishing civil society organisations that are independent from the political parties and working for justice and equality for all.</p> <p>I wish that more people could come and discover the rich and diverse cultures of the Kurdish, Yezidi, Assyrian, Arab and other people of Kurdistan, experience their hospitality, and support their peaceful activism.</p> <p>One journalist said that perhaps he hasn’t been killed because of the international involvement in his case. I think that international solidarity is crucial to support human rights activists and organisations in the region.</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="400" src="/sites/default/files/p3.JPG" width="600" /></p> <h6>Participating in an Alternatives to Violence Project activity with the youth group in Ranya.</h6> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1406" hreflang="en">Iraq</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 02 Jul 2019 15:49:52 +0000 Kathy Kern 12234 at INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Anishinaabemowin—a gentle language <span>INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Anishinaabemowin—a gentle language</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Mon, 07/01/2019 - 08:45</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="431" src="/sites/default/files/May%202019%20delegation%20and%20Cathy%20Binesikwe%20Lindsay_0.JPG" width="600" /></p> <p>by Karen Orlandi</p> <p>I spent hours trying to learn to say the name of the place where I was staying in Anishinaabemowin, the language of the people who live there. It is Asubpeeschoseewagong, and even now, as I hear it come off my Anglo lips, it sounds completely unlike any language I know. It is so soft and gentle that you could mistake it for the rustling of the wind in the leaves of the birch trees, or the waves rolling in and out over the sandy beach of the lake.</p> <p>At Anicinabe Park in Kenora, our Christian Peacemaker Teams delegation met with Cathy Binesikwe Lindsay, who took us down to the Lake of the Woods where we prayed for the Water (Nibi). Water, a symbol of our Christian faith, the sustainer of life itself, is under attack and in many First Nations communities is contaminated and unpotable. Cathy’s voice was strong and commanding—mirroring her passion—but the language itself gently wove around us and into my heart, subtle and caressing.</p> <p>We arrived at Grassy Narrows the day after the Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Seamus O’Regan and his delegation were there to get an agreement signed by the Band Chief for the Mercury Home. It is to be a home where band members suffering from mercury poisoning can go when they can no longer take care of themselves. We spoke with Jason Kejick, one of the band councillors who shared with us how the government representatives conducted themselves, which highlighted the difference in their languages.</p> <p>Jason Kejick shared that the governmental people used ‘oppressive language’ in their conversations. Judging by the video shared by the media after the meeting, I agree. I saw Seamus O’Regan continually talking over Chief Rudy Turtle, not allowing him to speak, not giving space to an equal.</p> <p>Residential schools forbade the use of the Anishinaabemowin language and their successors, the day schools, also oppressed this beautiful, moving language, with devastating effects on the lives of the people. Now, the people of Grassy Narrows want technical language taken out of the contract because the Mercury Home is really about the people who will live there and die there. The use of language means something, and reveals so much about our motives.</p> <p>It was at this time too, I noticed that the Indigenous names for places always reflect the land and its attributes. Kamloops (Tkemlups in Shuswap) means meeting of the waters, in this case the Fraser and the Thompson rivers. Notice that the rivers are both named after people—white men. Toronto (Tkaronto in Mohawk) means, “where the trees are standing in the water.” Regina and Victoria are both named for Queens, and Hamilton is named for George Hamilton. The people of the land lift up the land; we settlers lift up ourselves.</p> <p>Jason said the “use of European language is harsh and controlling.” I had never thought of English as harsh. I sing in a choir whose repertoire is in multiple languages, and I think most choral singers would agree that English is difficult, along with a few others. Our consonants are harsh and sometimes explosive, and our diphthongs elongated.&nbsp; Many of the Anishinaabe people may no longer speak Anishinaabemowin fluently, but the concepts that form the foundation remain. English builds on colonial concepts, and when used as a weapon of oppression it assaults the ear, and in the people’s case, their spirits as well.</p> <p>Anishinaabemowin is a beautiful language, and I pray that it will continue to grow through programs in First Nations community schools, in friendship centres and other Indigenous initiatives. I wish I could understand the soft whisper of Anishinaabemowin, but nevertheless I am able to feel it gently touch my ear. It feels like a cherished grandmother’s touch, like a butterfly’s wing, like the voice of Mother Earth herself.</p> <p>Chi’miigwetch (thank-you.)</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1404" hreflang="en">Indigenous Peoples Solidarity</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1397" hreflang="en">Canada</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 01 Jul 2019 13:45:17 +0000 Kathy Kern 12232 at COLOMBIA| Making possible what seemed impossible—the Colombian government puts Las Pavas on the map <span>COLOMBIA| Making possible what seemed impossible—the Colombian government puts Las Pavas on the map</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Fri, 06/21/2019 - 12:50</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="503" src="/sites/default/files/WhatsApp-Image-2019-06-18-at-4.52.45-PM_0.png" width="600" /></p> <h6>A few&nbsp;community leaders celebrate the sign with Las Pavas on map</h6> <p>“I want to thank God and all our accompaniers because, with your help, we have made possible what was believed to be impossible,” says Don Misael Payares, leader of the community of Las Pavas. “I am really happy. I share with all of you this joy and emotion.”</p> <p>The community of Las Pavas has gone through bitter times in recent decades. However, the profound conviction in their right to the land they cultivate, the unwavering defense of life and their deep faith in God has kept them in the territory.</p> <p>Now is a time of celebration for the community of Las Pavas and for ASOCAB, the association in the region that brings together the campesinxs. On 14 and 15 June 2019, the National Lands Agency (ANT) arrived in the community with a commission accompanied by the United Nations to define the borders that have been declared state land. These properties “are registered in the name of the nation and, therefore, it is the responsibility of the ANT to administer them,” said the community lawyer, Jorge Niño. “Thanks to God and everyone’s effort we are seeing that the miracle is coming to fruition. May God continue to bless this project,” said Eliud Alvear, one of the leaders of the community.</p> <p>In the words of the lawyer, “the work day with the ANT and U.N. was a success, it was a great day that strengthens them in faith and hope and motivates them to continue defending their territory. Congratulations to all of you because with your contributions and accompaniment you have contributed to making this dream a reality so we can see ASOCAB in their land very soon.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1399" hreflang="en">Colombia</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 21 Jun 2019 17:50:30 +0000 Kathy Kern 12230 at AL KHALIL (HEBRON)| “Welcome to the Crossing”-The Beginning of Checkpoint Privatization <span>AL KHALIL (HEBRON)| “Welcome to the Crossing”-The Beginning of Checkpoint Privatization</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Thu, 06/13/2019 - 12:31</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="400" src="/sites/default/files/chic.-1024x683_0.jpg" width="600" /></p> <h6>Palestinian child walks to school through newly renovated checkpoint&nbsp;currently operated by the Israeli Border Police.</h6> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In April 2019, three major checkpoints (Bab al-Zawiyeh / 56, Salaymeh / 160, and Qitoun / 209) in the Old City of al-Khalil (Hebron) were surrounded with wooden planks and large signs saying, “Welcome to the Crossing” in Arabic, Hebrew, and English. The Hebron Municipality has shared a concern that these developments are likely a starting point for the privatization of these checkpoints. The danger of the Israeli military authorities turning over these checkpoints to the private security sector is that the Israeli authorities will regard them as official border crossings between two countries, and not as part of the daily route of Palestinians living in one city.</p> <p>According to <a href="">statistics by UNOCHA</a>, there are around 800 roadblocks on the roads between Palestinian cities in the West Bank, Area C, and Israel. Israeli occupation forces operate 140 of these as checkpoints for vehicles and passengers, and there are twenty such checkpoints located inside the H2 part of al-Khalil (Hebron). These checkpoints are heavily militarized in order to control the daily lives of 30,000 Palestinians and protect 800 Israeli settlers—settlers who frequently attack Palestinians under the protection of Israeli soldiers.</p> <p>In 2006, the Israeli government began a project of privatizing checkpoints by handing over control of some checkpoints to <a href="">private Israeli security companies</a>, such as Modi’in Ezrachi and Sheleg Lavan. When Israel privatizes checkpoints, the language surrounding it changes, as well. The privatized checkpoint is renamed a “crossing” or “station”; ID checks are called “services”, and Palestinians are referred to as “customers” or “passengers”. This different language results in changing the appearance of the military occupation to something more legitimate and benign.</p> <p>Palestinian writer <a href="">Amjad Arrar</a> says that handing over the checkpoints to private companies will privatize violence. These companies are in the business of security, so the more ID checks, body searches, and other restrictions they carry out will demonstrate that they are meeting the goals of their security contract. Both the private companies and the individual employees feel pressured to prove that they are skilled enough to perform their job in the security business.</p> <p>An example of how the capitalist security business plays out in the treatment of Palestinians is evident at the checkpoints between the Palestinian cities of Tulkarm and Qalqilya that Israel privatized. <a href="">Mohammed Baraka</a>, an Arab member of the Israeli Parliament, spoke about the attitude of employees of these private security companies when dealing with Palestinian workers who are crossing into Israel with legal work permits. Examples of restrictions include workers not being allowed to bring more than five pieces of bread, tuna canisters of more than 200g, or any kind of homemade lunches – all depending on the mood of the security employees. Baraka added that when these checkpoints and restrictions were in the hands of Israeli forces, those crossing through at least a place to object, but now with privatized checkpoints, the Israeli Security Agency (SHABAK) denies providing any kind of instruction and refuses to intervene.</p> <p>The checkpoints in H2 al-Khalil (Hebron) and other parts of the West Bank are different in that these checkpoints are located in Palestinian neighborhoods and passing through them is part of many Palestinians’ daily routine. Therefore, the community is concerned that Palestinians will be dealing with increased body searches, bag searches, and ID checks, along with the potential for the checkpoint to closures during certain holidays.</p> <p>Jamal Nofal, Deputy Director of the Palestinian DCO, says that most of the checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank have been privatized, and now these changes in H2 are significant in that it is a starting point for privatization. This goes against the Palestinian – Israeli agreement that states there won’t be any separation between H1 and H2, as this is a way to isolate the area and maintain a record of people who are living in H2. As part of the private sector, the companies will only care about security and will push their employees to perform their job completely. The Palestinian DCO objected to the privatization of checkpoints and told the Israeli administration that it cannot implement this change inside al-Khalil (Hebron).</p> <p>Palestinians want to end the Occupation, not improve the conditions of it. In this illegal and abnormal context, their only demand is to be treated as humans and not as prisoners.</p> <p>From 1 January to 15 May, Christian Peacemaker Teams-Palestine has observed at the following checkpoints:</p> <ul> <li>&nbsp;Salaymeh</li> </ul> <p>ID checks: 378 adults</p> <p>Body searches: 187 adults, 9 minors</p> <p>Detentions: 2 adults</p> <p>Arrests: 4 minors</p> <p>Use of force: 9 incidents that included 74 teargas canisters, 42 sound grenades, and live ammunition.</p> <ul> <li>Qitoun</li> </ul> <p>ID checks: 399 adults</p> <p>Body searches: 204 adults, 19 minors</p> <p>Arrests: 2 minors</p> <p>Use of force: 3 incidents that included 30 teargas canisters and 29 sound grenades.</p> <ul> <li>Bab al-Zawiyeh</li> </ul> <p>Detentions: 5 adults, 2 minors</p> <p>Arrests: 2 minors</p> <p>Use of force: 6 incidents that included 27 teargas canisters, 52 sound grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets, and live ammunition.</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1415" hreflang="en">Palestine</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1416" hreflang="en">al-Khalil (Hebron)</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 13 Jun 2019 17:31:14 +0000 Kathy Kern 12229 at LESVOS| The Blatte and the Black <span>LESVOS| The Blatte and the Black</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Tue, 06/04/2019 - 13:00</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="450" src="/sites/default/files/IMG_1292_0.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>By Rûnbîr Sêrkepkanî</p> <p>I had a conversation recently with a good friend of mine from Cameroon. He was telling me that I am white. He was comparing the colour of his arm to the colour of my arm. “Look so white your arm is and so black mine is,” he said with a big smile. It was the first time in my life that someone had called me white.</p> <p>There are people in the Zagros Mountains and Mesopotamia where I come from who are blonde, paler than others or ginger, but I have never been categorised as one of them. My grandfather was blonde but he had black eyes. His genes do not seem to have left so much of his skin tone in us. Some of us have inherited the shape of his nose, his stubbornness and/or other features but the colour of our skin is light brown to dark brown.</p> <p>I learned that black and white is not about the colour tone of skin when I went to Sweden in 2004. All of a sudden I was not a young man in his early twenties who was full of dreams of adventures and revolutionary ideas. All of a sudden I was a “blackhead” or “blatte”. There are several theories about what the word means. Some say it comes from the Romani word blawto or blato which means "blue man" or “black man,” other people say that it comes from the verb "plattra" which means someone who speaks nonsense and whose language is not understandable; a similar meaning would be the Greek word “barbar” (the root of the English word “barbarian.”)</p> <p>Along with everyone who has black hair, different tones of brown and black skin from South America, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and Southern Europe I was called “blatte” in Sweden. Before even asking my name, people would ask me where I came from.</p> <p>"So for how long have been in Sweden?"</p> <p>"Are you going to move back to your country?"</p> <p>"For how long do you plan to stay in Sweden?"</p> <p>"Is there a war in your country? Is it why you are here?" they would ask me.</p> <p>When I told them my name they did not really care how my name was pronounced while they were very clear that theirs was "Elizabeth with Z and TH" or "My name is not Biurn but Björn, with Ö-Ö-Ö".” After that they would not ask about what I thought about the future of humanity, what gives joy in life or what dreams I had, but they gave me compliments about how well I spoke Swedish. They wanted to tell me that Sweden is not my country, that my home was somewhere else and one day I would have to leave and go back to wherever my home was.</p> <p>My two best friends were from Bujumbura and Sarajevo. We found ourselves in the non-white shelf of society. Despite our differences, we had we all agreed that we were in the same boat, in a sea of systemic racism and we had to stay united in order to stay human. The white shelf never invited us to their parties, never said “hi” to us on the street, never made any effort to make us feel loved and welcomed, so we did that ourselves. We sat by the lake and smoked nargila (water pipe)<b> </b>. We barbequed at grilling places in the forests and laughed at jokes from our home countries.</p> <p>My Cameroonian friend made me think beyond my experiences in Sweden. I thought about a guy from Sierra Leone who lives in Mytilini. He and his current wife, who is Turkish, fell in love in Turkey. Her family wanted to chase them down and kill them because he was black. He has been stopped so many times by the Greek police because they could not imagine that a beautiful Turkish woman could be together with a beautiful Sierra Leonean man. Turks and Greeks might have a lot of differences in ideas and animosities, but there is structural anti-black racism in both countries, which is killing and hurting people every day.</p> <p>So I told my Cameroonian friend that while it is true that I am not black, because I do not face the horrible oppression that black people face everywhere, I am not white either. I was in those thoughts walking on Ermou Street in Mytilini when I met a Greek acquaintance who made a racist comment about my appearance, saying, “Oh you have become so black; you look so exotic”.</p> <p>“I am not exotic at all. I am just a beautifully tanned man,” I retorted. I did not tell her that she should go to Sweden, to be called blatte and feel how much it hurts to be exotified, exploited, patronised and made invisible all the time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: medium; font-family: Cambria; caret-color: rgb(0, 0, 0); color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration: none;"><o:p></o:p></p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1445" hreflang="en">Lesvos</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1413" hreflang="en">Migration</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1402" hreflang="en">Europe</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1429" hreflang="en">Undoing Oppressions</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 04 Jun 2019 18:00:36 +0000 Kathy Kern 12223 at