Christian Peacemaker Teams - Turn your Faith into Action for Peace en TURTLE ISLAND: It’s still our land, so where is the sharing? <span>TURTLE ISLAND: It’s still our land, so where is the sharing?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Fri, 08/14/2020 - 12:58</span> <div><p>14 August 2020</p> <p><img alt="Large banner on construction site reading, '1492 Landback Lane. No Consent; No Construction.'" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="465" src="/sites/default/files/20200812_183017.jpg" width="700" /></p> <p><strong>By Steve Heinrichs </strong></p> <p>On a sunny afternoon in Winnipeg, Adrian Jacobs and I share a beer as we do an interview on the question of land justice. Adrian is Cayuga of the Six Nations Confederacy and Keeper of the Circle for the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre in Beausejour, Manitoba. I’m a second-generation Settler who does decolonization work for Mennonite Church. I also serve on CPT’s Steering Committee.</p> <p>Adrian and I are good friends, and we talk easily for close to two hours about the need for reparations, why Canadians resist such, and how we can mobilize the church into action. Ever since I’ve known him, Adrian’s always focused on land as the heart and soul of reconciliation. It’s something that his tradition calls him to. It’s also borne of firsthand experience. Adrian spent time on the frontlines at Caledonia, back in 2006, when Indigenous land defenders were trying to stop a developer from taking more of their land.</p> <p>Little did we know, that a few weeks after our conversation, Six Nations land defenders would be mobilizing once again in an effort to stop another development project—“Mackenzie Meadows”—right on the borders of Caledonia. Mackenzie Meadows is within the Haldimand Tractland that was set aside for the Six Nations in 1784 as compensation for 4 million acres lost in the American Revolution. The Haldimand Tract stretches back 6 miles from either side of the Grand River in southwest Ontario, Canada. Due to the unlawful sale or seizure by the Governments of Ontario and Canada, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy lost the vast majority of the Haldimand Tract.&nbsp; The Six Nations of the Grand River, the only reserve community that contains all six nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, has tried to get it back. Their Land Claims Research Office has made 29 separate land claims since 1974. But only one has been resolved. To make matters worse, the Federal Government closed the remaining 28 unresolved claims in 1995.</p> <p>Mackenzie Meadows sits on one of those unresolved claims. According to Haldimand County, the developer and the band council of Six Nations had actually reached an agreement back in 2019. But land defenders assert that the band council doesn’t represent the people; it’s a system of governance imposed by the Federal Government, and so few people (some say only 4 percent) actually participate in that system. Land defenders believe that "Action must be taken to stop the ongoing development of our lands.” And so they (re)occupied the Mackenzie Meadows lands, renamed it “1492 Land Back Lane,” and the provincial authorities did the expected. On August 5, the police came with force, firing rubber bullets, and arresting nine. But the land defenders…they came back. And they are still there.</p> <p>For generations, Canada has known that it can only reconcile with Indigenous peoples if it addresses the concerns of land justice. In 1996, the <i>Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples</i> (RCAP), the most significant inquiry into the fractured Indigenous-Settler relationship, offered 400 recommendations to repair the relationship. And at the center of all those recommendations was a call for a mass transfer of lands back to Indigenous peoples. But 24 years later the land crisis remains. Why?</p> <p>“I think about an experience from my childhood,” says Adrian.</p> <p>“At Six Nations, surveyors were doing work for the Canadian Gypsum Company in order to exploit the mineral that was underneath our reserve. As a little kid, I would see the surveyors go out and pound these four-foot-long, one-inch-square stakes into the ground, and then mark those stakes with plastic markers. I heard the resistance of my parents to this exploitation of our territory—and the gypsum mining that was taking place right underneath our family’s property. So us kids, we would go out and find all these steel stakes and we would do our best to wiggle them out of the ground and throw them away. I laugh about it now. But this is the kind of thing that has happened to Indigenous peoples repeatedly over the course of 500 years of colonization.</p> <p>“We have been forced to limit our officially recognized territories to what the colonial system has dictated. So when, for example, the Caledonia land conflict happened back in 2006, we knew from the 1784 Haldimand Proclamation, from the Plank Road Land claim issue, and from our previous relationships with the government, that ‘disputed’ land was still our land. And Canada knew it as well. Even the local white people knew it! My dad would play hockey with some of these older white men, and they would say, ‘You know that the land that they’re trying to build a development on is your [Six Nations] land,’ even though the official position was that this is Canada’s, and the developer has the proper permits, and so on.</p> <p>“We’ve got rightful claims on this land. We aren’t looking to get it all back. We’ve even taken efforts to buy back some of our land with our own money and have it recognized as part of our reserve. But we need more—we need a significant and fair share. Yet Canada doesn’t respond. And the reason that Canada does not respond and actually return land and recognize greater reserve lands, is because land forms part of their tax base. So it doesn’t matter what we propose as compromise—and RCAP was a compromise—the colonial system doesn’t like it, and it doesn’t want to recognize it, even though we have a just claim.</p> <p>“People have made trillions of dollars from this land and we’ve gotten crumbs. From an Indigenous understanding, the fundamental question is, “Where is the sharing of the fruit of the land?” Here in Manitoba, in Treatied territory, you have hydro dams all over the north that are wrecking the local trapping, fishing, and harvesting economies of our communities. Yet Manitoba Hydro, a provincial utility, makes plenty of income, and they turn around and sell the energy made off of Indigenous territories at bargain-basement rates to the United States. Where is the benefit that’s coming to us? It’s still our land. Where is the equity? We are not looking for the tables to be turned and for you to be thrown out of the land. But where is the inclusion in the wealth of this land? We took care of this land and all the other-than-human relatives. When Europeans came here there were lots of fish, lush forests, berry patches, and pristine waters. And now look! If you allowed us into the development and care of the land, then together we could find a way to care—really care—for those seven generations to come.”</p> <p>Adrian is right. It’s still their land. It’s time Canada shares. Until then, prayers up (and much more) for all those land defenders.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Write to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanding he honor and respect the sovereign rights of the Six Nations people.</strong></a></p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1484" hreflang="en">Turtle Island Solidarity Network</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1397" hreflang="en">Canada</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1429" hreflang="en">Undoing Oppressions</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 14 Aug 2020 17:58:56 +0000 Kathy Kern 12403 at CANADA: "War is not essential"—CPTers participate in protest against arms manufacturer in London, Ontario <span>CANADA: &quot;War is not essential&quot;—CPTers participate in protest against arms manufacturer in London, Ontario</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Sat, 08/08/2020 - 12:07</span> <div><p>8 August 2020</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="800" src="/sites/default/files/Anti-imperialism_sign.svg_0.png" width="800" /></p> <p>by Esther Kern</p> <p>“ The times, they&nbsp; are a’changing….”</p> <p>This song was written and sung by Bob Dylan during the turbulent year of 1964.&nbsp; Fast forward to 2020 and truly the times are changing with the rising grassroots movements who are standing up to say, “No” to the increasing rattle of sabers, inflammatory rhetoric, and both threats of and actual armed conflicts between nations.&nbsp; A case in point is General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) in London, Ontario, Canada.&nbsp; With a workforce of 2000, this company produces light armoured vehicles that are shipped to Saudi Arabia.&nbsp; GDLS holds a multibillion dollar contract with the Saudis, in spite of that nation’s documented human rights abuses, the use of these deadly vehicles to inflict violence on their own citizens, and in their devastating five-year war on Yemen.</p> <p>Enough is enough!&nbsp; On the windy, sunny afternoon of 11 June, between 25 and 30 local activists congregated outside the main property of GDLS to communicate clearly the message that, “War is not Essential.”&nbsp; The focus of the public witness was to encourage the company to engage in a green conversion, from constructing war machines to producing products that meet human needs.&nbsp; The participants held banners and signs with messages such as, “Seek Green Peace,” “Make Peace, Not War,” ”Stop Arming Saudis – Transition to Green Jobs,” “Stop Canada’s Arms Exports to Saudi Arabia,” “Weapons to Windmills; Tanks to Tractors,” and more.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>As representatives of Christian Peacemaker Teams, Allan Slater and Esther Kern joined other local activists such as ‘People For Peace,’ politicians and members of the Muslim community, holding their signs high in opposition to this military-industrial complex.&nbsp; The traffic along the highway was heavy, and judging by the many car and truck honks as well as waves from drivers, there are many supporters of converting war machines in the city of London.&nbsp; The time for change is now.</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1397" hreflang="en">Canada</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1424" hreflang="en">Public Witness</a></div> </div> </div> Sat, 08 Aug 2020 17:07:11 +0000 Kathy Kern 12401 at AEGEAN MIGRANT SOLIDARITY: The knife was not the only murder weapon <span>AEGEAN MIGRANT SOLIDARITY: The knife was not the only murder weapon</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Caldwell</span></span> <span>Thu, 08/06/2020 - 07:04</span> <div><figure><img alt="Banner at demonstration at Moria that reads 'the world has abandoned us.'" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/2020-08/Demo%20Moria.jpeg" width="900" /> <figcaption>A banner at a demonstration at Moria Camp, Lesvos, Greece.</figcaption> </figure> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Late on the evening of 5 July 2020, Karamoko Namori, a 19-year-old man from Ivory Coast, was murdered in Moria camp. The circumstances of his death raise serious questions about policing priorities and the refusal of officers to protect lives in the camp.</p> <p><strong>Karamoko’s life in Europe</strong></p> <p>In late January 2020, Karamoko first arrived on Lesvos. Upon his arrival police arrested him and held him in PRO.KE.K.A, Moria camp’s pre-removal detention centre. He was detained for nothing more than coming from the wrong place, as nationals of his country have an asylum acceptance rate of less than 25%. Here, the European Asylum Support Office forces detainees through the asylum procedure at breakneck speed. Detention blocks access to basic legal aid in a closed-loop process that creates the low acceptance rate that justifies detention.</p> <p>Three months later in April, and with the help of a lawyer, Karamoko was released. He found himself in another prison. The Greek government had enforced a strict lockdown for those in Moria camp, segregated from the island’s general population with over 20,0000 people living, overcrowded, with limited access to clean water, food, support services, and public space. The camp would remain in this condition until Karamoko’s death, just over six months after arriving in Europe.</p> <p><strong>Police brutality, a lack of investigation and an arbitrary arrest</strong></p> <p>After a fight between communities, in which an armed gang attacked people from African states, Karamoko and two others sustained knife wounds and at least four others were injured. After 40 minutes, an ambulance came to take Karamoko to Mytilene public hospital. He was pronounced dead on arrival.</p> <p>Crucially, police failed to intervene, even beating those who reported the violence. The fight lasted from 10:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. According to those on the scene the police arrived at the attack’s outbreak and left shortly afterwards, making no effort to stop it. After police left the scene, with the fight ongoing, some of the community went to speak with the camp’s police officers to demand that they intervene. According to those present, police officers beat them back and told them to go away.</p> <p>The following day, the Office of the Ivorian Community in Greece released a statement demanding that the Greek authorities launch an investigation into Karamoko’s death. Police, however, made no effort to interview the victims of the attack. Police asked those in the hospital to identify photographs of suspects, but did not arrest at least two suspects whom the victims positively identified. Despite making no serious investigation, the next day, Mytilene police announced that they had arrested a 20-year-old Afghan man on suspicion of Karamoko’s murder.</p> <p>As news spread that a suspect had been arrested, witnesses claimed that the man was not the perpetrator, and that people in Moria Camp had seen those responsible for the attack walking around the camp at 5:00 p.m. on the evening of 7 July, over 24 hours after the arrest. The community delegated two witnesses to testify that the perpetrators had been seen in the camp to the police on 7 July, but the police refused to take their statement. Police also failed to take testimony from the two critically injured people in the hospital. Some in the community suspected that the police had made the arrest arbitrarily, in order to dampen the tension in the aftermath of Karamoko’s death. After his discharge from Mytilene hospital, one of the injured people attempted to testify at the police station one week later. Police again refused to take his statement.</p> <p><strong>Attacks on protest</strong></p> <p>On 6 July, the morning after the attack, the black community was still waiting for answers about the fate of their friends. No police representative took responsibility for telling the community that one of their friends had died and that another two were in critical condition. Faced with no answers, and concerned for the well-being of their friends, the community demonstrated. They protested their lack of protection, blaming, along with the perpetrators, the camp’s management and the police for the violence that they had endured. A group of 200 members of the community gathered outside the office of the European Asylum Support Office demanding to be moved to a safer place. An evacuation procedure for the camp’s management and NGO workers was implemented. Police simultaneously responded to the protesters with tear gas, flash, and sound grenades. At least two among the crowd had to be carried from the scene, one on a stretcher, both struggling to breathe, to receive medical treatment. The demonstrations continued into the next day, with roughly 200 migrants from African states sleeping outside the Reception and Identification Centre, for lack of a safer alternative.</p> <p>As the days passed, the black community planned a demonstration on 14 July in order to unite behind the demand for justice for Karamoko and to highlight the complicity of camp management and the police in his death. However, as is commonplace with migrant-led protests, police coerced the community into cancelling it. Informants leaked details of the planned demonstration to the police, who threatened members of the community until they agreed not to hold it.</p> <p>The attack on Ivorian migrants is not the first time that violent incidents, with accompanying loss of human life, have taken place in Moria camp, and it will probably not be the last<sup><a href="#1">1</a></sup>. The attitude of the police is often limited to the role of observer. This role is not accidental; it is politically designed to create more chaos and insecurity for the people trapped there. For migrants, the camp is an inhospitable and dangerous place, where all laws applying to the society outside as well as the values placed on human life have been suspended indefinitely.</p> <p>Police interventions in Moria camp restrict the migrants inside and violently suppress any attempt to protest against their detention conditions. The police force is there only to guarantee the safety of the camp workers, not the residents. There is no law for migrants; there is only an absolute deprivation of human rights, the law of the jungle, and social cannibalism.&nbsp; In the societies we live, after a murder and two assassination attempts, would the police authorities would pay so little attention to a case like this?</p> <p>___________________________</p> <p><sup id="1">1</sup>See for example these fatal incidents in <a href="">January</a>, <a href="">April</a> and <a href="">May</a> 2020.</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1486" hreflang="en">Aegean Migrant Solidarity</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:04:35 +0000 Caldwell 12400 at Turtle Island Solidarity Network turns one. Decolonization. Coalition building. Action. <span>Turtle Island Solidarity Network turns one. Decolonization. Coalition building. Action.</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Caldwell</span></span> <span>Wed, 08/05/2020 - 10:17</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="332" src="/sites/default/files/2020-08/Tisn_2_red.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>It’s the first birthday of the Turtle Island Solidarity Network (TISN)— and what a year it has been! While we reflect on the last year, we are excited to look to the year ahead and explore opportunities to decolonize Turtle Island.&nbsp; We need you! On the birthday of TISN, we are launching the TISN Action Community. By signing up, you will receive alerts in various ways you can get involved in decolonization.</p> <p>When CPT created TISN, we were all nervous and asking, “Will this work?” A year later we are celebrating all of the work we have done. Today, the TISN membership consists of 23 committed CPT reservists from across Turtle Island, each giving according to their own skillset and capacity. TISN members meet virtually four times a year; however smaller consulting committees have sprung up in order to keep the work going.</p> <p><a href="">TISN’s mandate</a> included four focus areas: Indigenous Solidarity, Settler Education, Coalition Building, and Undoing Settler Colonialism, and we have worked hard in each of these capacities. Here are a few highlights of the year:</p> <p>TISN’s greatest mobilization happened in support of Wet’suwet’en land defenders struggling for land sovereignty and opposing the construction of a pipeline on their sacred territory. In January 2020, the CPT Canada Coordinator received an invitation from the organizers in Wet’suwet’en to send CPTers to the territory as legal observers. <a href="">Two weeks later, two CPTers were on the ground</a>. In March we were able to send another two CPTers to the territory. We financed these accompaniments from an emergency fund and through donations from our Mennonite constituents and union allies.</p> <p>In addition to accompaniment, TISN supported the land defenders through:</p> <ul> <li>Writing a <a href="">formal statement of support</a> for CPT to use.</li> <li>Developing a <a href="">Faith Action Toolkit</a></li> <li>Attending countless rallies from Rochester NY, to Philadelphia, to Winnipeg, to Toronto.</li> <li>Providing two solidarity visits via CPT Ontario to Tyendinaga in support of the Mohawk rail blockade</li> <li>Participating in three rail blockades in Toronto</li> <li>Hosting a webinar, “<a href="">Stories from the Frontlines of Wet’suwet’en Resistance</a>”</li> </ul> <p>Yet our work has gone beyond Wet’suwet’en solidarity, as we try to provide educational opportunities within our constituency and CPT itself. In this regard, the CPT Steering Committee requested an “Undoing Settler Colonialism” Workshop in April 2020. In addition, TISN provided a webinar to our constituency, “<a href="">From Turtle Island to Palestine: Understanding Settler Colonialism</a>,” that had over 180 people in attendance.&nbsp;</p> <p>TISN has also maintained its partnership with friends in Grassy Narrows. CPT is part of the Grassy Narrows Solidarity group in Toronto that has hosted actions, campaigns, and community dinners in support of Grassy Narrows. Last August, CPT held its <a href="">first interfaith delegation</a>, which also visited Grassy Narrows.</p> <p>We want to thank the entire CPT community for supporting us this past year and we look forward to learning and growing together in the years to come.&nbsp; HAPPY BIRTHDAY TISN!</p> <h3 id="1"><strong>Give TISN a birthday gift!</strong></h3> <h3><strong>If you're from <a href=";hosted_button_id=GCMLF8J2EJWJL&amp;source=url">Canada, donate here</a>. And if you're from anywhere else, <a href="">donate here</a>.</strong></h3> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="cognito"><script src=""></script><script>Cognito.load("forms", { id: "1" });</script></div> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1484" hreflang="en">Turtle Island Solidarity Network</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1397" hreflang="en">Canada</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1430" hreflang="en">United States</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:17:46 +0000 Caldwell 12398 at Colombia: Soldiers from the Colombian Army rape an Indigenous girl <span>Colombia: Soldiers from the Colombian Army rape an Indigenous girl</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Mon, 08/03/2020 - 14:41</span> <div><p>3 August 2020</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="800" src="/sites/default/files/la%20maliche.jpg" width="582" /></p> <p>La Malinche, from the blog of <a href="">Stephanie Monique</a>, a Mexican Mestize woman</p> <p>by Julián Gutiérrez Castaño</p> <p>Colombia is in a state of shock after learning that seven soldiers from the National Army raped an 11-year-old Indigenous girl. The child is a member of the Embera Katio nation and lives in the Gitó Dokabú Reserve, located between Chocó and the West Andean Mountains. The public outcry against this case has called attention to other violations that took place in recent years, but have only now been made public. The sexual assault of a child is something that causes pain and rage in any circumstance. If this attack had been perpetrated by one member of the State Armed Forces it would have increased our anger. The fact that this rape has been carried out not by one, but by seven members of the Army takes the rage of the Colombian people to the limit. I argue that beyond the indignation caused by this terrible crime, this situation touches the most sensitive nerves of the nation because of our collective experience and history.</p> <p>There is a connection between the Embera Katio girl that has been raped and the symbolical mother of all <i>Mestiza </i>people. This affirmation is based on the violent history of <i>mestizaje</i>. All <i>mestizos </i>are <i>hijos de la chingada</i> (children of the one that was fucked). The archetype of our mother is <i>La Malinche</i>, a Nahuatl woman who was abducted by the Spaniard invaders, used as an interpreter during the conquest of the Aztec Empire, and sexually abused by many members of that murderous party. On the other hand, the archetype of our father is the Spanish <i>conquistador</i>, a man emboldened by his military and technological prowess, even though his real strength was not his pretentious superiority, but his viruses. Our symbolic father does and undoes without any limit to his authority and responsibility. If it suits him, he recognizes his <i>mestizo </i>bastards, if not, he denies and abandons them. The Embera Katio girl— found drowning in her tears next to a creek—was forced to become <i>La Llorona, </i>another archetype like <i>La Malinche. </i>In Latin American mythology, <i>La Llorona</i> haunts the riverbanks with her laments, "Where are my children?"—the children that were taken from <i>La Malinche</i> by the <i>conquistadores </i>because an Indigenous mother was not good enough to raise the descendants of White Spanish Europeans. We, the <i>mestizos</i>, are the bastard children of the Spanish and the raped Indigenous woman, those that the Europeans did not want to accept. We are a people without identity because we do not know who we are, we do not dare to assume who we are, and in consequence, we do not know where we are going. We feel shame for our Indigenous mother and we search with anxiety for our father's approval. We feel proud of our Spanish ancestry, which represents nothing more than an army of rapists. We pursue an unreachable whiteness, always trying to resemble that European father who rejected us, trying to speak his languages correctly, copy his culture and manners, participate in his economy, etc. Octavio Paz warned us many years ago that if we do not resolve our identity crisis, we will continue to be lost in the labyrinth of solitude.</p> <p>The Embera Katio girl was raped by seven soldiers of the National Army, members of the <i>Buitre </i>(Vulture) Platoon II. I do not write with irony, that is the real name of the platoon. The vultures were tired of eating death carcasses and jumped in a flock over a girl who is just 11 years old. These soldiers are not very different from our symbolic fathers, those men that arrived from Europe more than 500 years ago. Both represent oppressive institutions, soldiers transformed into evil human beings by war, the invasion of indigenous territories, and their destructive mission. Both come from the impoverished classes of their respective nations, but instead of developing a class conscience that inspires them to improve the situation of all humankind, they have sold themselves to the powers that be, and they have used their force to oppress other human beings equally or even more dispossessed than they are: Indigenous, Afrocolombians, peasants, workers, students, etc. Paraphrasing Violeta Parra, "Arauco has a sorrow / darker than its waistcloth<i> </i>/ it´s no longer the Spaniards / who make them cry / now it’s [Colombians] themselves / those who steal their bread.”</p> <p>We are all wondering in a state of collective indignation what is going to happen to the soldiers. The Government that sends them to fight a war that is convenient only for those that profit with the armed conflict faces a dilemma. On one hand, the soldiers represent an important state institution, one that despite the rapes, extrajudicial executions or "<i>falsos positivos,</i>” killing of children, complicity with paramilitaries to enact massacres and forced displacements, association with drug cartels, illegal interceptions against the political opposition and critical journalists, execution of union leaders—among other illegal actions—continues receiving more than 13% of the national budget for 2020, the equivalent of 35,700,000,000,000 Colombian pesos (US $9,802,934,400,00).</p> <p>On the other hand, the governing political party recently approved an initiative in Congress to modify the National Constitution in order to enforce life sentences. The original proposal was more severe, it sought to implement death sentences in cases of child rape and murder. I do not endorse this position, but if they were consistent they would be demanding life imprisonment or death sentences for the seven soldiers who raped the girl. This sentence has not been their answer. Everything seems to indicate that the Government and its political party are moving in opposing directions, but they are in fact complementary. The Government political party argues that the assault on the girl is all a hoax against the National Army, that the girl desired to be raped, that she was sold by her mother, and all kinds of vicious lies to excuse the Armed Forces. The President has performed a media show asking for a punishment that has not been regulated yet and, in consequence, is against the Constitution; while the Prosecutor has pressed charges for&nbsp; "abusive carnal access,” not "violent carnal access,” against the rapist soldiers. As if it is not violent when seven armed men, who represent the state, gang-rape a child belonging to an Indigenous nation that has already been repeatedly targeted within the armed conflict by multiple actors, including the army. &nbsp; The Government and its political party are trying to save the skin of the soldiers while preaching no tolerance for this kind of crime. Although I am convinced that they would not hesitate to sacrifice the seven "bad apples" to save the reputation of an institution that is itself the cause of the putrefaction that corrodes its members, not the other way around.</p> <p>The Embera Katio people and other Indigenous nations in Colombia are not asking for life sentences for the seven rapist soldiers. That judicial profanity is the invention of a Government that seduces Colombian people with the color of blood, that has done everything in its power to sabotage any peace initiative, and intensify the war that we have suffered for more than seven decades. As Indigenous nations, the Embera Katio expect the respect of their sovereignty; they demand that the Government surrenders the seven soldiers to their Indigenous justice, which would judge and conduct a punishment and cleansing ritual in order to heal the wounds that this terrible act has left in the community. Once they have applied Indigenous justice, the rapists can be judged by the ordinary justice, hopefully with the same emphasis on healing that Indigenous people recognize as a necessary step to reconcile with life.</p> <p>The Armed Forces and other illegal armed groups are not welcome in the Indigenous territories, just as the invading armies that took away their land starting with the Spanish conquest were not welcome. Non-Indigenous Colombians should be consistent with the Embera Katio’s approach to these armed forces and transform our indignation to support of the sovereignty of Indigenous nations. &nbsp; That transformation could be a step towards reconciliation with our identity and towards finding a way out of our labyrinth of solitude.</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1399" hreflang="en">Colombia</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1484" hreflang="en">Turtle Island Solidarity Network</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1429" hreflang="en">Undoing Oppressions</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 03 Aug 2020 19:41:53 +0000 Kathy Kern 12395 at AEGEAN MIGRANT SOLIDARITY: Seven floors under—racial segregation in Mytilene <span>AEGEAN MIGRANT SOLIDARITY: Seven floors under—racial segregation in Mytilene</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Fri, 07/31/2020 - 13:44</span> <div><p><b>31 July 2020</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="480" src="/sites/default/files/moria17j2.jpg" width="800" /></p> <h6>Peaceful protest in support of the Moria 35 a mass arrest in 2017 of African migrants who were protesting living conditions in Moria.<br /> Those advocating for them widely considered the arrests to be <a href="">racist</a> on the part of the Greek police.</h6> <p>The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, states that everyone is “entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration without distinction of any kind.” At the same time, the U.N. states that,&nbsp; “In the past, the United States and South Africa have used systems of racial segregation. Although these policies are now behind us, isolated cases of racism still persist in various parts of the world.” If we open our eyes a little, if we pay attention to the present, we quickly realize that such statements do not match the reality of many people. If we focus our attention on Lesvos we find, without much effort, explicit examples of systemic racist behaviour, institutional racism, and racial segregation. Lesvos is the third largest island in Greece, only 14 km away from Turkey, and since 2015 it has been at the heart of Europe's migration crisis. Currently, Greece holds 21,000 asylum seekers on this island, mostly in Moria camp, a place initially conceived for 3500 people.</p> <p>The examples below show how racism runs through Mytilene's infrastructure, through informal rules designed to block the full participation of migrants in public life. These rules form an unwritten code by which citizenship rights, access to public space and basic needs are given only to Europeans. Often they enforce the demands of the island's racist right; often they are enforced by its vigilantes. The unspoken nature of these rules means that, despite their existence, they are officially deniable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>***</p> <p><i>Tax office</i></p> <p>Apart from the asylum procedure, all aspects of daily life are different if you are a migrant. The notorious Greek bureaucracy that is already difficult to navigate as a Greek or European, is almost impossible to penetrate as migrant. Everything is written in Greek and in almost all public sectors, Greek is the only spoken language. On Lesvos Island in particular, the Greek state applies rules different from the rest of Greece. For example, without a Personal Tax Number, known as an AFM, a person can't rent a house, can't get a job, and can’t open a bank account. On Lesvos Island, the tax office began to ask for peoples' addresses to give them an AFM. Moria camp, where most migrants live, is not an acceptable address. This rule doesn't apply to the rest of Greece. So even if people are financially able to rent a house outside Moria camp, it is impossible to do it because they can't get this number. Over the last few days, people that were transferred to Athens and accepted into the International Organisation for Migration’s ‘Helios' housing program have returned to Lesvos because they don't have the AFM.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Housing</i></p> <p>If migrants manage to navigate the bureaucracy of the tax system, they face another block in finding housing. In the private rented sector, an informal “no migrants” attitude is normal. Many landlords say explicitly that they will not rent to anybody planning to house migrants as well. Some have experienced evictions at short notice when landlords learn that their tenants are hosting migrants. In 2018, an organised citizens' patrol group in Gera, Lesvos, went door-to-door checking whether migrants had been transferred into local housing. That year, private individuals and local businesses took Pikpa refugee camp to court in an attempt to close the place down on the basis that the presence of migrants on local beaches was financially damaging. And in February and March 2020, patrol groups in Moria village, close to the camp, attacked the homes of migrant solidarity activists and beat up passing migrants.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Access to money</i></p> <p>Nine days after the imposition of Covid-19 restrictions in Lesvos, the New Democracy government announced the suspension of the 90 Euro per month cash assistance program for those in Moria camp. The government implemented the measure in order to prevent migrants from traveling to Mytilene to access ATMs. Over the previous months, access to ATMs had become symbolic of a lost way of life for the island’s Right. <a href="">Municipal Councilors</a> and <a href="">the Regional Governor</a><a href=";utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&amp;utm_medium=trueAnthem&amp;utm_source=twitter"> </a>complained that locals could not access cash “because of the queues of migrants,” while witnesses reported vigilante groups establishing a “locals first” queuing system at ATMs. The government announced the installation of a single ATM inside the camp for more than 20,000 people held there.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Port</i></p> <p>One of the main problems faced by asylum seekers is mobility to the mainland, usually Athens. After a long time, months and even years, spent waiting for the validation of their transfer by the European Asylum Support Office, the accepted persons have to go to the port to take a ferry. Once in the port, a violent, unfair and random selection takes place, led by the police officers of the Mytilene Port Authority. They force migrants to wait in a separate line, shout at them and insult them, and treat them like cattle. On many occasions, police resort to violence in order to control and disperse the crowd. Images have circulated on social media of people with head wounds from police batons. After this battle, the discrimination continues. First, their access to the ferry is via a different staircase than that used by Greek or other international passengers. Once on the ferry, those who have managed to get through are separated from the rest of the passengers. The 7th floor is reserved for migrants while the others are for other local and international passengers.</p> <p>In early March 2020, Mytilene Port was the site of an informal detention camp for migrants who arrived on the island after Greece temporarily suspended the right to apply for asylum. They were locked in the pre-departure area without access to proper shelter and electricity, guarded by officers with the support of far-right vigilante groups. Vigilantes noticed a group of Europeans attempting to talk to the migrants through the fence and called the police, who detained the group without justification and held them for attempting to communicate with the migrant detainees.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Supermarket</i></p> <p>In order to get food, the people in Moria camp have to stand in long and desperate queues, often under extreme weather conditions. Yet, as mentioned above, more than 20,000 people live in a camp built for 3500, so the food is largely insufficient. In order to survive, most must go to the supermarket. White people do not need to identify themselves, wash their hands, or bring a mask.&nbsp; Migrants do. Now, with Moria camp in lockdown while the rest of the island population can move freely, migrants held in the camp need permission from the police in order to leave. They cannot access the supermarket if they do not carry the paper granting them permission, if they do not bring a mask with them, and if they do not sanitize first. Of course, queuing is exclusively for them, since the stores ration their entrance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Public recreational space</i></p> <p>Public spaces are also often segregated. With the arrival of the summer heat and the end of the quarantine, people have started going to the beach, some less easily than others. On many occasions, locals and even the police kick out those they consider unsuitable for these spaces. According to Mohammadi T, an Afghan interpreter working for an NGO, “We were on the beach with my children. Suddenly the police came and threw us out. I asked them what we had done wrong and they replied, ‘Nothing, this is our beach, it is not for you.’"&nbsp;</p> <p>Access to public beaches has been segregated for years in Mytilene. In June 2018, Mytilene's municipality-managed Tsamakia beach hung a sign on its doors stating, “Entry to nationals of non-Schengen countries is only permitted with a passport.” And in 2019, a group of far-right locals, some of whom belonged to the Movement of Free Citizens Party, erected a giant crucifix overlooking Apelli beach. Many migrants used the beach, and the incident led to the cancellation of Nowrooz (Persian New Year) celebrations that had been planned in the area.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>***</p> <p>Once again, racist Europe is showing its best face, daring to claim that racism is a thing of the past. Once again it hides its own hands while it is not only aware of racial segregation, but approves and congratulates the actions of its member states and their denigrating, violent, murderous policies. It tolerates police actions to punish those that didn't have the chance to be born here.</p> <p>We should&nbsp;remember the mistakes, the violence and the oppression of the past. But we must also be aware of the present. It is important to give a name to the social strategies of discrimination, racism and segregation. However, before we can resist these practices, we must recognise that they exist. Only then can we, once and for all, make sure that they remain in the past.</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1413" hreflang="en">Migration</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1486" hreflang="en">Aegean Migrant Solidarity</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1429" hreflang="en">Undoing Oppressions</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1402" hreflang="en">Europe</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 31 Jul 2020 18:44:12 +0000 Kathy Kern 12394 at TURTLE ISLAND: No Pride in Genocide; Cancel Canada Day <span>TURTLE ISLAND: No Pride in Genocide; Cancel Canada Day</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Wed, 07/29/2020 - 14:12</span> <div><p>30 July 2020</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="389" src="/sites/default/files/Sweeping%20genocide%20under%20the%20rug.jpg" width="640" /></p> <h6><a href="">Adele Perry</a>&nbsp;meme</h6> <p>by Chuck Wright</p> <p>Another Canada Day has passed this month. It arrived amidst a heated historical moment when conversations about race, social inequities, and our country’s history have once again peaked within the public sphere thanks to the mass protests and organizing efforts of BIPOC<sup>1</sup> against police brutality. Statues glorifying colonial conquest and slavery are being torn down or defaced by protesters, such as this one of Canada’s first <a href="">Prime Minister John A. Macdonald in Toronto</a>, and yet I still encountered well-meaning settler Canadians wishing people “Happy Canada Day” and proudly flaunting flags.</p> <p>It is odd to live in a part of the country where the well intentioned regularly acknowledge that their events happen on “unceded” Indigenous territory. It strikes me as paradox to express gratitude to the original stewards of this land while simultaneously acknowledging that we as settlers are knowing occupiers and accomplices in the theft of this land called Canada.&nbsp; And, yet, here we are going about our business uninterrupted by this cold, hard fact and again witnessing the celebration of July 1.&nbsp;</p> <p id="1">I have spent most of my life on Treatied lands in Canada. Cree and Anishinaabe teachers taught me that Indigenous people surrendered no territory at the signing of Treaties regardless of what’s contained in the official text. Their teachings are largely why I decided to change my work email signature to “the stolen homelands” instead of “unceded,” since land was historically never “ceded,” a foreign concept introduced by the colonizer. In response, my boss pulled me aside one day to express his concern that my change was not aligned with the company’s official acknowledgement. In response, I asked him what he thought “unceded” meant. His excuse was that he “has much to learn,” yet he still expected me to change it back.&nbsp;</p> <p>Leading up to July 1, conversations flared up on social media regarding Idle No More’s call to Cancel Canada Day. While loyal Canadians defended their right to celebrate, I once again ruminated on why it is so important to celebrate a nation-state that’s built on stolen lands and the erasure of Indigenous peoples. What does it say about the soul of a country that it celebrates a state that was founded on genocide? How do we continue to live out this paradox that, on the one hand, acknowledges that we are participants in the ongoing theft of Indigenous lands and, on the other, proudly celebrates Canada? As Idle No More organizer <a href="">Dakota Bear aptly stated</a>, “we don’t celebrate Canada Day for the same reason we don’t celebrate the Holocaust.” I recognize that this comparison is a difficult pill to swallow for most Canadians.&nbsp; At the same time, Canada has commissioned two national reports in the past five years—the <a href="">Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Residential Schools</a> and <a href="">National Inquiry into Murdered Missing Indigenous Women and Girls</a> — that have painstakingly demonstrated Canada’s policy toward Indigenous peoples is genocide and referred to it by that name.&nbsp;</p> <p>Given the historical and contemporary realities of Canada, the Canadian flag becomes an overt celebration of genocide, colonialism, and white supremacy. If I give flag-wavers the benefit of the doubt, I could assume a certain level of naiveté on their part. But, I don’t think we as settlers have any legitimate claim to ignorance, unless it’s a willful ignorance. Instead, if we insist on acknowledging Canada Day, let it be a day to grieve, reflect, and stand with those peoples who have nothing to celebrate, and let’s turn our flags upside down until Canada has earned the right to turn it’s flag right-side up again. #CancelCanadaDay #ShutCanadaDown</p> <p>Black Indigenous People of Color.&nbsp; Sandra E. Garcia <a href="">"Where Did BIPOC Come From?"</a>. The New York Times. June 16, 2020&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1484" hreflang="en">Turtle Island Solidarity Network</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1397" hreflang="en">Canada</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1429" hreflang="en">Undoing Oppressions</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 29 Jul 2020 19:12:43 +0000 Kathy Kern 12391 at AEGEAN MIGRANT SOLIDARITY: Necropolitical Frontiers—Who is allowed to live? <span>AEGEAN MIGRANT SOLIDARITY: Necropolitical Frontiers—Who is allowed to live?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/28/2020 - 14:03</span> <div><p>28 July 2020</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="531" src="/sites/default/files/1.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p>by N.U.</p> <blockquote> <p><em>"The new necropolitical* frontier has shifted from the coast of Greece toward the door of your home. Lesbos now starts at your doorstep. And the border is forever tightening around you, pushing you ever closer to your body." - Paul. B. Preciado</em></p> </blockquote> <p>What is the meaning of living on a border island, and how much did this meaning expand during the quarantine period? 2020 had a difficult beginning for Lesbos Island.&nbsp; As the conditions in Moria camp worsened, obstacles became difficult to overcome between island residents, migrants, and solidarity activists. Self-organization and demonstrations among migrants have become more frequent than ever. Racist attacks rapidly increased and terrorized many. Representatives of right-wing parties and members of far-right groups from different countries around Europe wanted to come to the island to intervene in the situation, but the island's anti-fascist group sent them back with a clear message.</p> <p>Then, news of the epidemic began to spread worldwide and COVID-19 reached the island in early March. It arrived in Lesbos with a Greek woman who had returned from the Holy Land, not, as everyone had feared and predicted, from migrants. Then two more cases entered, this time with a couple returning from their holiday in Thailand. Fortunately, the coronavirus did not like the island or Moria camp. What we feared the most did not happen. In the end, after a total of six cases and one loss of life, the coronavirus was caught on one of the island’s strong winds and went to unknown places.</p> <p>The coronavirus made the borders that were invisible to the privileged suddenly visible to all: the border between the island of Lesbos and mainland Greece, which Westerners could cross easily; the borders between Schengen countries**; the border between Turkey and Greece that many died crossing but the privileged could cross safely with a 10 Euro ticket. During quarantine, everyone experienced being trapped on the island together. A Swiss friend was telling me that for the first time he felt that his passport did not give him the freedom to travel, and how strange this feeling was. For the first time, I, who had dealt with visas and borders throughout my life, felt the impossibility of reaching loved ones in my country, which I saw every day in front of me, on the other side of the border, in Turkey.</p> <p>So did the visibility of the borders equalize us? Of course not. Those who had difficulties getting water to wash their hands if by chance they find some soap; who were waiting for hours in the meal lines of Moria camp in big crowds while social distancing warnings were repeated worldwide, who did not have the right to benefit from the most basic healthcare, their asylum interviews postponed for unknown dates; those prisoners on hunger strike in the “pre-removal” detention center of Moria who were suppressed by a brutal police force, or the new arrivals on the island who were quarantined not for 14 days but indeterminately, who for more than a month, sometimes in the rain, were held on the beaches, without tents, without even a camp ... did this pandemic bring equality to them?</p> <p>Although it seems that for now, we got away without incident, the days were full of precariousness, fear, and paranoia, with migrants locked down in the camp during the quarantine period. The government response to Covid-19 has created the conditions of a closed migrant camp on the island, which it had constantly proposed and postponed, and now it has acted on its desire to keep it. Turning the camp into a detention facility that migrants cannot leave has always been a desire of the government so that it could impose discipline and control. The pandemic has created the grounds to allow the system to enclose unwanted bodies, and the steps it is taking now are giving signals that Moria camp will remain closed from now on.</p> <p>If the virus is foreign and “other” by definition, recent days have made us question some things. Which stranger is the danger? What is a stranger? The stranger who is thought to be across the border has infiltrated everywhere, and we don’t know if it’s there or not. Unlike the migrant stranger, who will appear even if you try to make them invisible, this stranger is invisible even if you want to see it. Maybe even in the air you just breathed or settling on you. Here, unlike the strangers you made invisible, it captured you with its invisibility. It was your biggest fear.</p> <p>“Foreigners” who are not accepted in Western society; workers who are forced to work during the quarantine period; those who do not have a home while the hashtags called for us to stay at home, will rise against those who make them worthless and sacrifice them to a virus. Preciado is right. As the oppressed, to survive in this society, it is time to learn from the coronavirus and mutate. Nobody believes that these conditions can continue. The self-organized demonstrations in Moria during the lockdown period are proof of the non-viability of the status quo</p> <p>_________</p> <p>*<i>Necropolitics</i> is the use of social and political power to dictate how some people may live and how some must die. The term was first used by Cameroonian philosopher, Achille Mbembe.</p> <p>**<i>Schengen Countries </i>are European Union countries that do not require passports to cross their mutual borders.</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1486" hreflang="en">Aegean Migrant Solidarity</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1413" hreflang="en">Migration</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1445" hreflang="en">Lesvos</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1402" hreflang="en">Europe</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 28 Jul 2020 19:03:50 +0000 Kathy Kern 12389 at Response to the Turkish Consul General's claim that Turkish military operations in Iraqi Kurdistan never target civilians. <span>Response to the Turkish Consul General&#039;s claim that Turkish military operations in Iraqi Kurdistan never target civilians.</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Fri, 07/24/2020 - 13:07</span> <div><p>24 July 2020</p> <h6><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="432" src="/sites/default/files/fffiiill.jpg" width="576" /><br /> <br /> Burnt farmland from Barmiza village in the Sidakan area after Turkish bombardments.</h6> <p>During a press conference on 15 July 2020, Hakan Karacay, Consul General of the Republic of Turkey in Erbil, responded to a question about the ongoing Turkish military operation in Iraqi Kurdistan by saying, “We have never targeted any civilians.”</p> <p>We as Christian Peacemaker Teams-Iraqi Kurdistan (CPT-IK), an international human rights organization that has been documenting the impacts of Turkish military operations on civilian lives and livelihoods since 2007, would like to bring attention to the fact that Mr. Hakan Karacay’s statement does not correspond with reality.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Turkish Air Force’s Operation Claw-Eagle launched on 15 June 2020 followed by the Turkish land incursion Operation Claw-Tiger on 17 June, have killed at least six civilians and wounded at least four. In addition, these military operations have <a href="">burned agricultural lands, orchards and livestock</a> and <a href="">threatened the existence of many villages</a>.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>On 17 June, a Turkish airstrike killed Abas Maghdid, 30- years-old, in Khnera heights in the sub-district of Sidakan. Abas was a nomadic shepherd. CPT-IK learned of his killing from a trusted partner.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>On 19 June, a Turkish airstrike killed five men who went for a leisure trip to the Balanda valley near Sheladze after work. CPT-IK was able to document the names of four of them: Mukhlis Adam, Azad Mahdi, Deman Omar, and Ameen Salih.</p> <p>More information on the incident is&nbsp;<a href="">here</a>.</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="624" src="/sites/default/files/image-asset.jpeg" width="468" /></p> <h6>A damaged car from the Turkish bombardments in Shiladze.</h6> <p>On 25 June, a Turkish drone bombed a grocery store in a picnic area of Kuna Masi while many families were in the vicinity. The attack severed the leg of Peyman Talib, a 31-year-old woman, from the knee down, broke her second leg in many places and burned both of her arms. Talib’s husband, Keywan Kawa, 30, and their two children, a 7-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, were also injured in the attack.</p> <p>A video interview with the family members has been published <a href="">here</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="530" src="/sites/default/files/lweirfyu.PNG" width="465" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h6>Peyman Talib, injured by the Turkish airstrikes in Kuna Masi. CPT got this picture from the Kurdish journalist Rebaz Majeed.</h6> <p>On 10 July, residents of Avla village, Batifa sub-district, Duhok province, fled their homes after Turkish forces dropped 26 bombs on the village.&nbsp;</p> <p>More information about the bombing is&nbsp;<a href="">here</a>.</p> <p>On 11 July, Turkish artillery targeted Bedihe village in Duhok province with six mortars causing damage to ten households. The artillery also damaged groves and orchards of locals in the area.&nbsp;</p> <p>More information the assault on Bedihe is&nbsp;<a href="">here</a>.</p> <p>Operations Claw-Eagle and Claw-Tiger are an extension of a three-decades-long war the Turkish military has been waging against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the territory of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. According to CPT-IK’s documentation, since August 2015, Turkish fighter jets, drones, artillery bombardments and gunfire have killed at least 85 and wounded more than 95 civilians. Of the 85 fatalities, 15 civilians were killed in the first six months of 2020 alone. The Turkish operations have emptied more than one hundred villages and caused an alarming deterioration of safety and economic security for several thousand families.&nbsp;</p> <p>CPT-IK calls on the Government of Turkey to respect civilian lives and put an end to its military operations in the territory of Iraq.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Additional information:&nbsp;</b></p> <p>Families that lost members in Turkish attacks are asking for an end to the bombings. Learn more about their <b>Hear Us Now: Stop the Bombing!</b> campaign <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p>To read CPT-IK’s latest reports and learn more about the impacts of Turkish bombings on the civilian population in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq please <a href="">click here</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">CPTIK</a></p> <p>JULY 21, 2020</p> <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> Fri, 24 Jul 2020 18:07:29 +0000 Kathy Kern 12388 at Colombia, the pandemic before the pandemic <span>Colombia, the pandemic before the pandemic</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Caldwell</span></span> <span>Fri, 07/24/2020 - 02:36</span> <div><figure><img alt="Flowers and photographs laid in a circle to commemorate the victims of state violence - MOVICE. Photo: Marcela Cardenas" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="455" src="/sites/default/files/2020-07/MOVICE(1).jpg" /> <figcaption>Flowers and photographs at a MOVICE ceremony to commemorate the victims of state violence. Photo: Marcela Cardenas</figcaption> </figure> <p><strong>By Marcela Cardenas</strong></p> <p>Protests marked the last quarter of 2019 throughout several countries in South America. The discontentment took to the streets and promised not to return home until it was heard and attended to.&nbsp; Colombia was no exception. It shares the realities of the region; its people have a long list of demands and many reasons to raise their voices and take to the streets.&nbsp; Why did it take so long for Colombia to protest?</p> <p>The truth is, in Colombia, the historical list of social issues is so great that it is impossible to simplify and unify a list of demands representing all disadvantaged sectors of society. For years they have demanded the state vindicate their rights, but it has been absent and provided few guarantees.</p> <p>Protests, demonstrations, public vigils, pot-clanging actions, curfew, and rising tension characterized the end of 2019. People brought their demands and filled the streets of the country, calling for a readjustment to the government's national agenda.&nbsp;</p> <p>The actions of the people brought a breath of hope, bringing unity to the call for change in the country. These actions brought hope to those who have been making visible the dire inequalities in the country. They saw the Great National Strike as a spring of indignation.</p> <p>The New Year was born in hope.</p> <p>But unfortunately, 2020 had other plans for the world: COVID-19. The pandemic swept through the country, across urban and rural territories, infecting more than 220,000 people and causing more than 7000 deaths. But those who know the tragic history of Colombia remember there was a pandemic before COVID-19, with its own set of statistics.</p> <p>Violence in Colombia is the old pandemic that spread through the streets of big cities and small towns. Through the desert and jungle. It infected the impoverished and those abandoned by the government. It left behind eight million victims.</p> <p>Represented among these eight million are forced displacement and disappearances, homicides, torture, kidnappings, rape, silenced lives, destroyed families, a battered social fabric, and a shattered society. The problem with figures is that they only register a number; they do not speak of lives, of pain, of sadness. They represent everything, but they do not speak of anyone.</p> <p>COVID-19 did not bring new violence to Colombia. Instead, it has intensified the already existing reality. The virus has confirmed that violence is not only hidden, but it impacts women in varied ways. The number of domestic violence cases since the quarantine began, has doubled compared to last year.&nbsp; The murders of 120 women have been classified as femicides, calling into question the mantra, "staying home saves lives." Another record of death in Colombia registers more than 166 social leaders assassinated in 2020.&nbsp; And 36 former FARC combatants, signatories of the 2016 peace agreement, have been victims of targeted killings in 2020 alone.</p> <p>The first pandemic—that of state violence—normalized corruption and gendered violence. It is a part of the daily routine. COVID-19, the second pandemic, became an exclusive priority; it replaced the demands of the people from the Great National Strike.&nbsp; The demands for social change became invisible.</p> <p>The deaths caused by the second pandemic do not have a lower value; that is a belief of those who think that some deaths hurt more than others. First-class deaths and second-class deaths do not exist. Any death is painful. Any preventable death caused by violence, neglect, corruption, or government abandonment hurts, and matters.</p> <p>But in Colombia, focusing on the figures has made this country not feel grief when it comes to the death of 10, 100, 1000, or 10,000. Mothers who have lost sons and daughters to both these pandemics know the difference between each number. Their pain does not distinguish between categories; they feel each one. Therefore, the country should grieve as the mother of all who died, of all the disappeared. The world should speak more of lives, of struggles and legacies, rather than of numbers that do not commemorate anyone nor humanize barbarity.</p> <p>When those of us who defend human rights speak, we do so from pain. We speak while holding a photograph of a missing person, or when we light a candle or call out in remembrance. We resist alongside those who have given everything, even their lives, even when all their land is stolen. But we also speak from hope, because we hope these stories end and that the storm stops, and the calm we do not know comes. We hope for the peace that is spoken of in books and studied by scholars. It is a peace that has to do more with social justice, one that guarantees the essential minimum without exception, gives access to dignified healthcare and education, and the right to live a life free of violence.</p> <p>We cannot allow the virus to hide the pandemic before the pandemic. The government cannot use COVID-19 to evade its responsibilities. Its collaborators: corrupt politicians, armed actors, and war profiteers, need to be held accountable. Next time, we will be out on the streets sooner.</p> <p>______________________________</p> <p>The article has been updated to reflect the current number of COVID-19 cases in Colombia, the number of femicides and the number of social leaders and former FARC combatants assassinated since the publication of <a href="">April - June Newsletter on June 22, 2020</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1399" hreflang="en">Colombia</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 24 Jul 2020 07:36:45 +0000 Caldwell 12386 at