Christian Peacemaker Teams - Turn your Faith into Action for Peace https://cpt.org/ en AEGEAN MIGRANT SOLIDARITY: The undeclared wars in Lesvos https://cpt.org/cptnet/2020/09/21/aegean-migrant-solidarity-undeclared-wars-lesvos <span>AEGEAN MIGRANT SOLIDARITY: The undeclared wars in Lesvos</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/63" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Hannah</span></span> <span>Mon, 09/21/2020 - 05:53</span> <div><p>21 September 2020</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="551" src="/sites/default/files/moria%20protests.jpg" width="720" /></p> <p>by AMS team<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>Even though the fires have destroyed Moria camp, the structures of injustice upholding this notorious hellhole have remained intact. All the violence and despair have become more apparent to the surrounding areas. The tensions from every possible and improbable side overflow and the most immediate victims are the weakest and most vulnerable.</p> <p>In the last 48 hours, there have been numerous protests by migrants, some of them peaceful and others not, with the police forces making extensive use of tear gas in a crowd that included families and children. Their demand is but one: "we want to get out of here".</p> <p>The authorities are building a new temporary camp in the area of ​​Kara Tepe to address the immediate needs for housing, food and medical care. Migrants are afraid to enter the temporary camp, and many of them prefer to stay on the road in hopes of leaving. They fear the new camp for several reasons, fear that it will burn again, fear that they will remain imprisoned for months or years like in Moria, and fear that the Greek state will deport them in the future. And they are very aware that there are no guarantees that these fears will not become a reality.</p> <p>The public opinion in Lesvos is also polarly divided and has descended into a warlike tension. Nobody wants a new detention center because everyone is afraid it will become another Moria. Far-right vigilantes are attacking immigrants and the organizations that stand in solidarity with them at every opportunity, often with the police’s help.</p> <p>On 11 September, anti-fascists marched from Mytilene to Kara Tepe, with the slogan "no more Moria" and "solidarity with migrants". Unprovoked, the police attacked the peaceful demonstration with teargas and sound-flash grenades, beating many protesters. In an attempt to escape from the police, a group of protesters ran into the streets of Mytilene, where local right-wing extremists also attacked them.</p> <p>The state has responded by bringing more police, armoured vehicles, and water cannons to the island. Everything looks like war. In the coming days, organizations and migrants expect continued violence from the police, by forcefully lock them up in the temporary detention centre and responding violently to any locals who oppose the construction of a new detention centre elsewhere on the island.&nbsp;</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/1402" hreflang="en">Europe</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1445" hreflang="en">Lesvos</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 10:53:40 +0000 Hannah 12418 at https://cpt.org There must be a complete and total ceasefire by Turkey in Iraqi Kurdistan https://cpt.org/cptnet/2020/09/19/there-must-be-complete-and-total-ceasefire-turkey-iraqi-kurdistan <span>There must be a complete and total ceasefire by Turkey in Iraqi Kurdistan</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Sat, 09/19/2020 - 14:13</span> <div><h6><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="388" src="/sites/default/files/119040143_3362266700523211_3395357669118604417_n.jpg" width="800" /><br /> <br /> Turkish bombardment in the Bradost region</h6> <p>On September 6, Turkey’s Defense Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nrttv.com/En/News.aspx?id=23732&amp;MapID=1">announced&nbsp;the end of Operation Claw-Tiger</a>, the Turkish military ground campaign in the Haftanin area of the Kurdistan Region’s northern border with Turkey.&nbsp;Since the middle of June 2020, Turkish military operations have killed at least nine civilians, bringing the total killed since 2015 to at least 99. But ending Operation Claw-Tiger&nbsp;does not mean an end to civilian deaths or suffering.</p> <p>The Turkish government is not withdrawing its troops from the region and Turkey’s bombing of villages in Iraq’s Kurdistan region continues. On September 8, only two days after Operation Claw-Tiger was ended, Turkey bombed six villages in the Amedi region of Duhok province from warplanes and with ground artillery. The&nbsp;destruction of homes and the devastation of agricultural lands this bombing causes has made life for villagers near impossible, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many have had their livelihoods destroyed and, despite the risks of the Covid-19 pandemic, have been forced to flee their homes to seek safety.</p> <p>The Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative&nbsp;(ICSSI), in partnership with&nbsp;CPT-Iraqi Kurdistan and in solidarity&nbsp;all the civilians who are affected by these military attacks, calls for a complete and total ceasefire by Turkey, the withdrawal of all Turkey troops and the dismantling of its military installations in Iraqi Kurdistan.</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> Sat, 19 Sep 2020 19:13:33 +0000 Kathy Kern 12417 at https://cpt.org CPT INTERNATIONAL: Work for peace; stop paying for war https://cpt.org/cptnet/2020/09/18/cpt-international-work-peace-stop-paying-war <span>CPT INTERNATIONAL: Work for peace; stop paying for war</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Fri, 09/18/2020 - 12:28</span> <div><p>18 September 2020</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="376" src="/sites/default/files/13512086_953712008074697_4611178355550071042_n.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p>by Murray Lumley</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For a long time there have been citizens in every nation who objected to having their sons, fathers and brothers conscripted into the military. They have often been people whose conscience told them that killing is wrong.</p> <p>Canada and its past colonial form have a long history of allowing conscientious objection to participation in its wars. The Militia Act of 1793 “exempted from actually serving in the militia the persons called Quakers, Mennonites, and Tunkers (Brethren in Christ) who from certain scruples of conscience, declined bearing arms.…The Militia Act did require those who were exempted, “to pay an annual fee to the colonial government to cover the costs of maintaining the militia”.</p> <p>This manner of exemption, with much opposition to it by successive Canadian governments and push back regarding the fee by Mennonite Bishops and others carried on through the War of 1812, World War I and WWII with various changes over the years. Canada later added Doukhobors from Russia and Hutterite Colonies to the list of Peace Churches.</p> <p>However in modern times, as machines have increasingly conducted war against civilians, the military does not need bodies as much as our tax dollars to pay for its wars.&nbsp; Therefore conscientious objection to war has shifted to war tax resistance. Five-star General and U.S. President Eisenhower said in 1953,&nbsp; “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children….This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”</p> <p>In most European nations, the U.S., and Canada,&nbsp; a small people’s movement questions and protests the use of their taxes for modern war and war preparations. In the U.S., the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee <a href="https://nwtrcc.org">(NWTRCC)</a> assists U.S. citizens who choose to withhold approximately 50% of their federal taxes that toward payment of the bloated war machine. Christian Peacemaker Teams is a national affiliate of NWTRCC.</p> <p><a href="https://www.consciencecanada.ca">Conscience Canada &nbsp; </a>is the Canadian War Tax Resistance organization. Their website offers a <a href="https://www.consciencecanada.ca/eptr/">Peace Tax Return</a> for the appropriate tax year. It is available in electronic form (and paper form) and will send your form and a letter to several Federal Ministers and your MP.&nbsp; The webpage offers two options: Option A is a Declaration of Conscience only. Option B allows you to withhold, if you are able, up to 9% of your federal tax line, or just a token amount.&nbsp; You can then send this amount to a ‘Peace Tax Fund in Trust’ administered by Conscience Canada, until such time as the federal government creates a government administered Peace Fund for those who don not&nbsp; wish to pay for war.</p> <p>Conscience Canada also advocates for a legal change that will allow Canadians the right to object to military taxation as a right of conscience guaranteed in the <a href="http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/Const/page-15.html">Charter of Rights and Freedoms</a>. Since 1983, Conscience Canada has worked with a friendly MP, usually from the NDP, to sponsor a Private Member’s Motion asking the government to set up its own National Peace Tax Fund. The last one was in 2013 and it just reached First Reading.</p> <p>In Canada,&nbsp; those who subscribe to Conscientious Objection to Military Taxation (COMT) suffer very little for their civil disobedience, other than having to make a small interest payment or having their taxes taken from their bank account or their wages garnisheed by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA). If citizens opposed to war in the thousands and tens of thousands expressed their displeasure at having their taxes pay for war, then governments would have to listen.</p> <p>We tell our government, “We want to pay our taxes, but we do not want to pay for war”.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h5>References:</h5> <h5><a href="http://peacemagazine.org/archive/v36n2p13.htm">http://peacemagazine.org/archive/v36n2p13.htm</a></h5> <h5><a href="http://www.alternativeservice.ca/uncertainty/community/COhistory.htm">http://www.alternativeservice.ca/uncertainty/community/COhistory.htm</a></h5> <h5><a href="https://uwaterloo.ca/mennonite-archives-ontario/sites/ca.mennonite-archives-ontario/files/uploads/files/partiii_speakingforco.pdf">https://uwaterloo.ca/mennonite-archives-ontario/sites/ca.mennonite-archives-ontario/files/uploads/files/partiii_speakingforco.pdf</a></h5> <h5><a href="https://uwaterloo.ca/mennonite-archives-ontario/mennonite-organizations-and-institutions/conscience-canada">https://uwaterloo.ca/mennonite-archives-ontario/mennonite-organizations-and-institutions/conscience-canada</a></h5> <h5><a href="https://www.consciencecanada.ca/?page_id=479">https://www.consciencecanada.ca/?page_id=479</a></h5> <h5><a href="https://www.cpti.ws/court_docs/canada/prior/hrc/prior_to_hrc.html">https://www.cpti.ws/court_docs/canada/prior/hrc/prior_to_hrc.html</a></h5> <h5><a href="http://www.mennonitechurch.ca/programs/peace/peacetax/index.htm">http://www.mennonitechurch.ca/programs/peace/peacetax/index.htm</a></h5> <h5><a href="https://www.consciencecanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/infographic-v6.jpg">https://www.consciencecanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/infographic-v6.jpg</a></h5> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1400" hreflang="en">CPT International</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1430" hreflang="en">United States</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1397" hreflang="en">Canada</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1402" hreflang="en">Europe</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 17:28:48 +0000 Kathy Kern 12416 at https://cpt.org AEGEAN MIGRANT SOLIDARITY: Moria burns down. The crimes against migrants continue. https://cpt.org/cptnet/2020/09/10/aegean-migrant-solidarity-moria-burns-down-crimes-against-migrants-continue <span>AEGEAN MIGRANT SOLIDARITY: Moria burns down. The crimes against migrants continue.</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Thu, 09/10/2020 - 11:23</span> <div><p>10 September 2020</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="387" src="/sites/default/files/0635d938-76a1-4d84-8ec9-c1f2db8966c2.JPG" width="800" /></p> <p>by the AMS team</p> <p><a href="https://cpt.org/cptnet/2020/09/10/i-moria-kaike-diarkes-egklima-apenanti-stoys-metanastes-einai-akoma-edo">Διαβάστε στα ελληνικά</a>&nbsp;| <a href="https://cpt.org/es/cptnet/2020/09/10/equipo-de-solidaridad-con-la-migracion-en-el-egeo-moria-en-llamas-los-crimenes">Lee en español</a></p> <p>Over two nights, from 8 to 9 September, Moria camp burned to the ground. This symbol of Europe's border policies of deterrence had masqueraded as a 'reception centre'.&nbsp; The fire that caused its detainees to flee revealed its true nature – a death trap.</p> <p>Since 18 March, Moria has been in lockdown. The Greek authorities used the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to segregate and isolate the migrant population. After the first positive case of Covid-19 was detected in the camp, 2,000 were tested for the virus, revealing it had spread into an outbreak.&nbsp; For six months, the authorities took no preventive measures. The Municipal government shut down a quarantine space run by Médecins Sans Frontières, opening instead a Dutch-funded medical centre with no staff. The Greek State's proposed solution to the pandemic – a border fence contracted to construction company AKTOR for 845,000 Euros – showed no strategy except for more police control.&nbsp; They planned a ghetto in which only the fittest survived.</p> <p>Some among the camp's population pushed back through the only means possible. All saw that the Greek State was using the Covid-19 pandemic to justify creating Europe's largest prison. Some took the Greek State's opportunism as a reason to doubt whether the outbreak was real. They broke into the clinic quarantining the Covid-19 patients and released the people inside. Fires broke out. According to one witness, "every side is burning, North, South, East, West." Fires consumed buildings representing the bureaucratic infrastructure managing and supporting the border system, including the UNHCR and European Asylum Support offices. On the first night, they destroyed 75% of the camp, and the rest of the camp the next night.</p> <p>The fires spread to Moria’s Pre-Removal Detention Centre (PRO.KE.K.A), a hotspot of state violence, sometimes torture, where most detainees are held only for administrative infractions. As the fire came closer, the prison’s inmates tried to scale the fence before its guards realized defeat, gave up, and let the people go. For the detainees, the fires liberated.</p> <p>With no evacuation plan, the police first responded with the only method of crowd control they knew: teargas. Police turned away many coming to provide aid (as they did in the aftermath of the September 2019 fire that resulted in the death of Faride Tajik). As the fires spread, the lockdown came to an abrupt end, an exodus of people leaving Moria camp made containment impossible. Still, police blocked the way of migrants attempting to reach Mytilene, setting up a roadblock close to Kara Tepe camp (midway between Moria and the city).</p> <p>As those fleeing Moria gathered at its western Larsos exit, vigilante groups riding motorbikes patrolled the road to survey the scene before heading back to Moria village. There, a far-right mob blocked the path of those attempting to flee the camp through the village.&nbsp; The mob's actions stemmed from a culture of impunity created by years of failure from police and prosecutors to act on far-right violence. Over the last year, the island’s racist Right has been more active. Since mid-July, far-right protest groups have organised four demonstrations against the presence of Moria camp, during which they attacked an NGO vehicle that had to flee the scene under police escort, and smashed the cars of suspected NGO workers. On 20 August, a demonstration led to skirmishes in the camp during which far-right protesters beat migrants while police allegedly watched and refused to intervene.</p> <p>For two nights, those attempting to escape the fires have found their route blocked by police on one side and far-right patrol groups on the other. A friend from the camp told the team on 8 September that he found himself running back and forth between the camp and nearby Moria village, trapped between a far-right mob and a police blockade, before running to hide in the nearby woods. Since the evening of the 8 September, the barricade blocking the most direct route from the camp to Mytilene has remained in place, leaving thousands of migrants trapped on the open road. On 9 September, Prime Minister Mitsotakis claimed that Greece would "defend … its national dignity, together with its humanity for the weak". That evening, police teargassed those attempting to walk to Mytilene; locals again blocked the path through Moria village, while a mob of roughly 200 was reported to be waiting at the camp's&nbsp; western Larsos exit.&nbsp; Far-right patrol groups were spotted at the site of an abandoned military base close to the Gera Gulf to which the Greek authorities were going to transfer migrants. By the morning of 10 September, locals had set up their own roadblock with heavy-duty trucks at the Larsos exit, with the support of far-right protest groups and the endorsement of the Mayor of Mytilene, to prevent the re-establishment of the camp.</p> <p>The Greek State has responded by placing Lesvos in a state of emergency for four months, which 'all national forces' will support. Prime Minister Mitsotakis claimed that the situation in Moria was a 'matter of … national security', announcing a total travel ban for every 'immigrant and refugee'.&nbsp; He also praised the 'efficiency' of Greek 'controls at our maritime borders', a veiled reference to widely-reported illegal and deadly pushbacks of new arrivals at sea, which had 'drastically reduced illegal entries'. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who in March praised Greece for being 'Europe's shield' as state troops shot and killed Muhammad Gulzar for attempting to cross the Evros border from Turkey, said that the Commission was 'ready to support Greece'. The government's initial response was to send Michalis Chrisochoidis, the Minister for Citizen Protection, the state department responsible for policing and prisons, along with extra police units.&nbsp; Thousands of migrants, some needing urgent medical attention, are trapped and hungry on a stretch of road that no aid workers can access from the outside.&nbsp; No one has coordinated food and shelter.</p> <p>The Nea Demokratia government, elected in July 2019, has managed Moria through policies of indifference and an infrastructure capable only of punishment. It has done nothing to decongest the camp's population, designed to temporarily house 3,000, allowing it to balloon to over 20,000 at its peak. It has attacked civil society, restricting access to NGOs and criminalising human rights observers and those in the migrant solidarity movement. It has fed fascism through its language of warfare, painting migrants as an 'asymmetric threat' from Turkey, and migration-focused NGOs as an enemy within. Nea Demokratia has overseen an architecture of violence in Moria camp and Lesvos as a whole. The fires were 'the violence of the violated'. The five-year crime of Moria has come to an end, and perhaps those forced to live there would have been a little relieved, if the next days were not worse than those that came before.</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> </div> Thu, 10 Sep 2020 16:23:20 +0000 Kathy Kern 12414 at https://cpt.org CPT INTERNATIONAL: The bomb, the pilot, and the valley https://cpt.org/cptnet/2020/09/09/cpt-international-bomb-pilot-and-valley <span>CPT INTERNATIONAL: The bomb, the pilot, and the valley</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Wed, 09/09/2020 - 12:20</span> <div><p>9 September 2020</p> <figure><img alt="Logo of a black bomb in a red circle with a red slash drawn through it" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/anti-35410_1280.jpeg" /> <figcaption>To be a jet pilot is to be my enemy. To be the defender of a nation, means to be the bomber of my community, the amputator of my friend Saman’s nine-month-old legs.</figcaption> </figure> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>by Rûnbîr Serkepkanî</strong></p> <p>I was talking to a relative, who told me about his brother, a combat pilot until he retired. “Defending the nation,” said my relative, concluding the conversation. I did not say anything.&nbsp; I asked myself, how can a jet plane pilot defend the nation?&nbsp; All the images of people I know who had gone to those front lines, shooting at enemies with sniper guns and Katyushas,&nbsp; killing them with bombs and daggers.&nbsp; BKC machine guns and Kalashnikovs.&nbsp; Each of them justifying their actions with the excuse that they were defending the nation.&nbsp; Then I‌ remembered my friend Saman, whose two legs were cut off by a bomb that fell on his home when he was just a baby.</p> <p>My son is nine-months-old, the same age as Saman when an Iranian jet plane cut off his legs.&nbsp; All of a sudden I‌ could see jet planes coming.&nbsp; My frightened soul could hear them coming closer and closer and then dropping the bombs over us.&nbsp; And then fire, destruction, darkness, limbs spreading all around and an uncertain future.&nbsp; A Saman growing up without his legs and his parents.</p> <p>I also remembered my friend Fatah who told me about his experiences during the Iraq and Iran war. He saw thousands of dead soldiers:&nbsp; Christians, Madeans, Shias, Sunnis, Ezidis,&nbsp; Arabs, Kurds, Persians, Balochs, Lurs,&nbsp; all of them slaughtered together by a gas poured over them by Iraqi airplanes. “Both fronts were silent in death,” Fatah said.&nbsp; They were all united.&nbsp; In death.</p> <p>My earliest memories are about jet planes bombing my village.&nbsp; From the Iranian government because we were “Iraqis”.&nbsp; The Iraqi government was bombing us because we were “Kurdish Separatists”.&nbsp; And my life is full of people who lost their lives, limbs or became disabled by trauma because of helicopters and jet planes dropping bombs over them.&nbsp; To be a jet pilot is to be my enemy.&nbsp; To be the defender of a nation, means to be the bomber of my community,&nbsp; the amputator of my friend Saman’s nine-month-old&nbsp;legs.</p> <p>What were the Iranian and Iraqi governments thinking? &nbsp; Were Saman’s legs just a tiny part of an ink drop with which the leaders of the Iranian and Iraqi nations wrote their fiery speeches, which made soldiers go into the hell they had created?&nbsp; What did the pilot think?&nbsp; What orders did he have? “Go and bomb that town to make a statement against the enemies of the Iranian nation?”</p> <p>Well, when an Iranian combat plane fell into my home valley and the pilot survived, my fellow valley people saved his life. They did not give fiery speeches. They did not think twice.&nbsp; They did not follow the laws of any governments.&nbsp; According to the unwritten law of my valley, you help people who are in distress.&nbsp; The Iraqi forces tried their best, with threats, manipulation and many other methods to make the people of the valley hand over the pilot.&nbsp; But they protected him, hosted him, gave him the care and help he needed in order to heal and go back to his family.&nbsp; The members of my community did not see him as the enemy of&nbsp; “our nation”. They did not take it into consideration that this same man came to bomb our valley.&nbsp; That he was probably the pilot who had taken the legs from my friend Saman.&nbsp; They did not see him as a representative of the Iranian government.&nbsp; They did not let the Iraqi government take him, execute him and bury him in an anonymous grave, where his family could not visit him on Thursday mornings.&nbsp; They saw him as a father who needed to go back to his children, a son who needed to go back to his mother, a husband who needed to go back to his wife. They saw him as a human being with wounds.&nbsp; They risked their own security to protect him from anyone who wanted to harm him.&nbsp; When he was healed, they smuggled him all the way back to his family and those who loved him.</p> <p>Nation-States need to destroy people with bombs and drones without ever knowing who they are. They dehumanise so many people by making them into statesmen, living propaganda machines, soldiers, and pilots.&nbsp; Indoctrinating them with false promises, false stories and false borders.</p> <p>Most people in my community would not be less oppressed if their land was occupied by an Iranian or Iraqi army.&nbsp; It would not change so much if our land were included in the imaginary maps of Iran or Iraq.&nbsp; WE are people of the valley and we follow what we think is right because regardless of how many bombs they drop over us, we will not be dehumanized.</p> <p>When my valley was liberated from the Iraqi occupation in 1991, the former pilot came back on his own feet, walking over the soil to his friends. He was demilitarised, denationalised. He was forgiven. He was free. He was grounded. He was reunited with his friends. In life.</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1400" hreflang="en">CPT International</a></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> Wed, 09 Sep 2020 17:20:55 +0000 Kathy Kern 12412 at https://cpt.org CPT INTERNATIONAL: Morning Has Broken—a reflection on the Covid-19 pandemic https://cpt.org/cptnet/2020/09/05/cpt-international-morning-has-broken-reflection-covid-19-pandemic <span>CPT INTERNATIONAL: Morning Has Broken—a reflection on the Covid-19 pandemic</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Sat, 09/05/2020 - 14:22</span> <div><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>5 September 2020</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="600" src="/sites/default/files/1024px-Sunrise_in_Hebron%2C_Palestine_0.jpg" width="800" /></p> <h6>Sunrise in Hebron, Palestine &nbsp;Photo: Aseel ZM Wikmedia Commons</h6> <p>by Esther Kern</p> <p>"Time to get up," says the sleepy voice beside me.&nbsp; "For what?" I reply.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> "Morning has broken, like the first morning.&nbsp; Blackbird has spoken like the first bird….Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning…"&nbsp; As I sip my first cup of hot coffee, excerpts from the song written by Cat Stevens race through my mind as I look out the window at a blue sky dotted by white clouds coated with gray underbellies.&nbsp; The shining rays of the sun break over the horizon, lighting up a lush green landscape.&nbsp; Birds chirp their first morning songs.&nbsp; I hear the soft rumble of voices as my partner has already turned on the morning CNN news, which I have no desire to watch. Coverage of the Coronavirus pandemic is too depressing as the global numbers of cases and deaths creep ever higher.</p> <p>The grim reaper!&nbsp; Hot tears sting my eyes as I remember.&nbsp; This deadly Covid 19 virus claimed the life of Han – a friend bigger than life.&nbsp; A physician with healing hands, brilliant mind, and, most of all, a compassionate heart.&nbsp; He loved to challenge us with progressive ideas. He pushed the boundaries of freedom, sky diving with abandon, and working diligently for justice for all people who live under the yoke of oppression.&nbsp; He was an imposing man, standing a head taller than the rest of us, and his presence was always marked by his booming voice and hearty laughter.&nbsp; And yet…he was still and listened intently and respectfully to all those who brought him their ideas, burdens, illness, or life experiences.&nbsp; As a Gerontologist, he created time for the elderly, providing comfort measures in the twilight of their years.</p> <p>But the most prominent image in my mind of him is Han, standing tall and firm, just outside of a natural cave that had been transformed into the Sumud Freedom Camp in the South Hebron Hills of the West Bank.&nbsp; Our CPT Palestine Delegation group of ten had just spent the night in the cave, cocooned in fleecy blankets on foam mats.&nbsp; We had slept peacefully, a silent night punctuated only by snoring, braying of a donkey, and the bleating of sheep and goats from the nearby village of at-Tuwani.&nbsp; As we emerged from the cave in the morning, the crisp air enveloped us, and the sun rose into the sky, bringing light and new life to the endless hills. Our hosts had prepared us cups of strong, sweetened black Arabic coffee for that extra jolt into the reality of the day.&nbsp; Shepherds would soon be leading their flocks out to graze on the hillsides in the cool of the day.&nbsp; Guided by Henk, our voices broke out in song, with Han's voice soaring, "Morning has broken, like the first morning…," invoking feelings of peacefulness, unity, universal friendship, and trust.&nbsp; That was one year ago, and now, our current reality is a raging pandemic that seeks to destroy and claim the lives of those near and dear to us, including Han.&nbsp; But dry your tears.&nbsp; Weep not!&nbsp; They have been ushered into the new dawn.&nbsp; Their morning has broken…</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1400" hreflang="en">CPT International</a></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> Sat, 05 Sep 2020 19:22:00 +0000 Kathy Kern 12410 at https://cpt.org COLOMBIA: Where are the assassins? https://cpt.org/cptnet/2020/09/04/colombia-where-are-assassins <span>COLOMBIA: Where are the assassins?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Fri, 09/04/2020 - 12:06</span> <div><p>4 September 2020</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="824" src="/sites/default/files/Sin-t%C3%ADtulo-1.jpg" width="602" /></p> <h6><em>Death threat from The “Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia” (AGC),&nbsp;Colombia’s most powerful paramilitary group against social organizations in Barrancabermeja: "Get out trade unionists, [human rights] defenders, Communists. &nbsp;For one Colombia without tyranny, liberty or death."&nbsp;</em></h6> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>by Jhon Henry Camargo Varela</p> <p>[Note: The titles are from&nbsp; this song:&nbsp; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv2gvbirq0M&amp;amp;feature=youtu.be"><b>Julio Jaramillo no me toquen ese vals</b></a>]</p> <p><i>I am getting used to not seeing you.&nbsp;</i></p> <p>Something ironic and foreboding is happening with human rights, with the lives of those who defend them and with the deaths that are still awaiting recognition in Colombia. Those responsible for this situation blame one another, entangling us and hiding everything as if that were an answer to the questions, "who killed them?" "And why don't you do something?" We always ask the same thing, and they always answer in the same way. And we continue to wait for the answers that will never come as we stare in horror as these questions continue to rise as fast as the number of murdered social leaders in this country.</p> <p>We know where the assassins are. Those who kill by omission, making up thousands of meaningless excuses to justify their incapacity and incompetence, while dissociating themselves from their responsibilities to a country suffocated by inequity, that cries out for justice and truth.</p> <p><i>I am getting used to being without you.</i></p> <p>The story the Government tells us about the assassination of human rights defenders in Colombia is like the history in which a white man comes from Europe in ships full of assassins, whom we later had to thank out of obligation.&nbsp; And they never give us any explanation for having looted, raped, persecuted, and murdered us. It is that kind of story told to you in organized pieces, but that deep inside you, you know has something missing, you know has something someone is not telling you.</p> <p>The main thing to understand in this story is that <b>SOMEONE HAD ALREADY TOLD </b>the Government of the situation in the regions, of the multiple violations of Human Rights in the country, and of the risk that human rights defenders are running for demanding justice, rights, reparations and guarantees of non-repetition. For events in which the Government itself has 100% responsibility.</p> <p>The Government's manipulation is evident since its spokespeople do not even try to hide it, but instead, appear on television lamenting the deaths of human rights defenders while doing nothing to stop them. They are such liars that they have even gone so far as to say that they knew nothing of their murders. As if Colombia had not already amply demonstrated that defending human rights is basically the equivalent of entering a deep and dark lake with a heavy stone tied to one's neck.</p> <p>It is in the Government's best interest to lie since with their lies, they feed the war industry. An industry that never goes out of style and that if you are powerful enough, rich and intelligent, makes you even richer and more powerful. You just have to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of lives to gain more power and more wealth. The key is to get the poor to fight among themselves under the stupid premise that the other is their enemy. They must continue a war in which we Colombians serve as cannon fodder in the legitimate and constitutional exercise of enriching themselves at the expense of the bodies of the poor.&nbsp; While some of us are exploited, others, with one hand, voluntarily cover our eyes to not see how our brothers and sisters are assassinated. All the while, we fall blind and deaf at the feet of those who have condemned us to death and give thanks.</p> <p>Now let's talk about what it costs Colombia to lose human rights defenders. I am not referring to their economic value, but rather to the democratic value that their lives have and how we all lose when we lose them.</p> <p>It has always been a Government strategy to silence the voices of human rights defenders and make them invisible. Its methods are diverse, ranging from premeditated murder to or finding ways to discredit these defenders. Then there is the type of threat, what we know colloquially as "throwing him to the wolves," that involves calling a defender a guerrilla fighter to incite the paramilitary groups to kill him.</p> <p>For years we have been cut down by war—a war that has forced all Colombians to become an integral part of it. A war that has led us to lose sight of the immense value of life, the immense value of diversity in a democratic society.</p> <p>Human rights defenders have reluctantly accepted the obligation to ensure that truth comes out and justice happens. They have left their homes, livelihood, and even their families to build a dignified and just society for everyone. A society in which everyone matters.&nbsp; A society where the Government fulfills its obligation to protect the lives of all Colombians.</p> <p>When they kill a human rights defender, we lose the possibility of becoming better; we lose the capacity and the potential of transformation as a society; we lose the ability to build a country where everyone's voice counts.</p> <p><i>Don't play that waltz because they'll kill you.</i></p> <p><b>"Amado Torres, 49 years old, social leader from the village of La Miranda, in San José de Apartadó(Antioquia). His body was carried in a hammock due to the refusal of the Judicial Police to go to site and investigate. On February 29, heavily armed men wearing clothing reserved exclusively for the use of the Military Forces, entered his home and assassinated him "-<i> El Espectator.</i></b></p> <p>The strange thing about this story lies in its similarity to <b>ALL</b> the other cases of social leader assassinations in the country. I say strange because the extermination model is a series of events repeated over and over again: <i>social leader denounces</i> - <i>authority</i> <i>stigmatizes </i>&nbsp;- <i>social leader assassinated</i>. The truth of this story is that no one protects them, even though the sequence has happened repeatedly.</p> <p>To the questions, "who killed them?" and "why don't you do something," should be added, "why does this keep happening?"</p> <p><i>I'll get used to not seeing at you.</i></p> <p>According to the newspaper<i> El</i> <i>País</i>, the assassination of social leaders has increased by 53% in the first four months of 2020. That is to say that the quarantine has only increased the numbers of assassinated social leaders. We could demand that the Government again <b>answer publicly for all these assassinations</b>, which are appalling and cannot go unnoticed. But I am sure that we will receive one of three responses: <i>the first,</i> a complicit silence; <i>the second</i>, a hypocritical lament or the already famous one, "we are investigating."</p> <p>After several days, months, and years of receiving the same responses to the public condemnations by social leaders, you stop expecting something different from the Government. To me, its rhetoric sounds like nothing more than a strategy not only to silence human rights defenders but to drown out the voices of disagreement—the voices that denounce and the voices that remember.</p> <p>They want us to get used to living with absence, with the inability to get answers; they want to get used to living with suspicions and the feeling of frustration that comes from not being able to discover the truth.</p> <p>We can conclude that the Colombian Government deliberately tries to separate itself from the illegal use of legal power, insinuating that human rights defenders have the responsibility to watch over their own lives, which makes them, as individuals, directly responsible for their own deaths. And this conclusion confirms our feeling that the Government is washing its hands in the best style of Pontius Pilate.</p> <p>It only remains to say that we hold those who govern Colombia responsible for the deaths of the hundreds of human rights defenders, and history will be in charge of finding justice for all those voices silenced by the sound of bullets.</p> <p><i>I'll get used to being without you.</i></p> <p><b>Who killed them? You, because you do nothing? Why does this keep happening?</b> <b>Don't they care what happened?</b></p> <p>There are many questions the country is asking at this time. There are too many doubts about what is happening. But the most important thing is that we will never, ever, ever forget.</p> <p><b>They are still here, and we are not going to forget it!</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1399" hreflang="en">Colombia</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1429" hreflang="en">Undoing Oppressions</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 04 Sep 2020 17:06:28 +0000 Kathy Kern 12409 at https://cpt.org Peyman Talib calls on Turkey to stop destroying the dreams and lives of Kurdish women and their families https://cpt.org/cptnet/2020/08/28/peyman-talib-calls-turkey-stop-destroying-dreams-and-lives-kurdish-women-and <span>Peyman Talib calls on Turkey to stop destroying the dreams and lives of Kurdish women and their families</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Fri, 08/28/2020 - 13:25</span> <div><p>28 August 2020</p> <h6><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="533" src="/sites/default/files/Article%2B2%2B.JPG" width="800" /></h6> <h6>Peyman speaks to CPTer visiting while her husband and daughter sit beside him</h6> <p>On 25 June 2020, Peyman Talib with her son Hezhwan, daughter Hamisha and her husband Kaiwan Kawa were in their grocery store in Kuna Masi. Kuna Masi is hometown to dozens of families, a tree-lined river,&nbsp; and a picnic area that hundreds of families visit during weekends. Peyman's family lives in Kuna Masi and owns a small business there. Seven years ago, Peyman graduated from the University of Slemani, where she got a&nbsp; bachelor's degree in the Kurdish language to become a Kurdish language teacher.&nbsp; Explaining why she was working in the grocery store, she said, "The government does not hire new teachers or employees, that's why I wanted to help my husband find an income for our family."</p> <p>While the whole family was in their shop, Kaiwan was helping to pack groceries for a customer when suddenly they could hear a terrible noise, and a powerful blast threw everyone to the ground. A rocket fired by a Turkish drone had exploded just 20 meters away from the shop. The explosion set the store on fire, killed the customer, and badly wounded&nbsp; members of the family.</p> <p>"My wife was on fire, and my two children were covered in blood. I was able to take my wife and my children outside of the shop; then I realized I was also injured. I fainted and fell on the ground. My dad with my cousins and some other people took us to a nearby clinic in Qalachwalan and then sent us by ambulance to a hospital in Slemani*," Kaiwan said.</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="533" src="/sites/default/files/article%2B1%2B_1.jpg" width="800" /></p> <h6>The family sits on the bed with Peyman lying behind. Three of them hold pieces of shrapnel left from the bombing.</h6> <p>Because Peymans left leg was so badly injured, doctors had to cut it off while she was conscious. They could not give her drugs due to the critically low level of blood in her body. Parts of Peyman's right leg were burned and broken, and both of her arms were burned. Doctors operated on her right leg several times. Kaiwan and his two children were treated at another hospital.</p> <p>Kaiwan told CPTers,&nbsp; "We were separated for about 40 days. Until now, my body has eight pieces of shrapnel inside. Hezhwan, my six-year-old son, has three pieces of shrapnel in his head. The doctors cannot take them out. Some individuals and organizations provided help for us. An organization promised us that on 1 September, they will take Peyman outside of the country to get her a smart leg, so we are waiting. Except for a few parliamentarians, the mayor and the governor, no other officials contacted or visited us."</p> <p>With a cry inside her throat, Peyman told CPT, “It will be very difficult for me; our life just turned upside down. Even if I get a smart leg, I cannot easily take care of myself and my family. The doctors told me that even with a new leg I won’t be able to stand for extended periods of time. That means I won’t&nbsp;be able to be a teacher in the future. I am on the bed all the time. But life will continue and I will not give up. I am not the only victim of the Turkish bombardments. Many others were killed and injured before me and my family. And still there are bombing civilians. This must be stopped.”&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="533" src="/sites/default/files/Article%2B3%2B.JPG" width="800" /></p> <h6>Peyman with her burnt hands and broken and burnt remaining&nbsp;leg.</h6> <p>Peyman and her family spoke to CPT on 16 August 2020, during a visit to the house in Slemani where they live now. Kaiwan's sister dedicates herself to taking care of them. Peyman has to go to the hospital five times a week to get physical therapy for three hours.</p> <p>Peyman and Kaiwan told CPT that a member of the Turkish Parliament for the&nbsp;People's Democratic Party (HDP), Hüseyn Kaçmaz, spoke and advocated for them inside the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUccphfs0r0">Turkish Parliament.</a> They want their story to be heard everywhere around the world.</p> <p>Together with Peyman, CPT calls on Turkey to stop bombing civilians in Iraqi Kurdistan and beyond. CPT calls on NATO to break their silence towards one of its members who continues to destroy the lives of families like Peyman and Kaiwan's.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>*“Slemani” is the city’s Kurdish name and “Suleimaniyah” is the Arabic name.</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, 28 Aug 2020 18:25:09 +0000 Kathy Kern 12407 at https://cpt.org TURTLE ISLAND: Reckoning with a past that didn’t go anywhere-a guide for settlers to grapple with allyship https://cpt.org/cptnet/2020/08/24/turtle-island-reckoning-past-didnt-go-anywhere-guide-settlers-grapple-allyship <span>TURTLE ISLAND: Reckoning with a past that didn’t go anywhere-a guide for settlers to grapple with allyship</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Mon, 08/24/2020 - 13:30</span> <div><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>24 August 2020</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="676" src="/sites/default/files/1492landback_0.jpg" width="541" /></p> <h6>Top: Mohawk Nation Flag; Bottom: Haudenosaunee Confederacy Flag</h6> <p>by Emily Green</p> <p>Through this article, we invite our settler constituency to reflect. Get comfortable; grab a pen and paper, and reflect on the questions in the italicized sections journal.</p> <p><i>Imagine the history of this content and of the region where you reside. Think of the history lessons that you received in school, the news media, museums, and monuments in your city; think about the books you've read, the conversations that you've shared, and the different ways that your imagination has grappled with notions of the past. What stands out for you? How do you make meaning of your place in these narratives of history?</i></p> <p>Since 19 July, Haudenosaunee and ally land defenders have organized a blockade at&nbsp; <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/six-nations-caledonia-haldimand-tract_ca_5f2dce9ec5b6b9cff7f1dafa">1492 Land Back Lane</a> in Caledonia,Ontario, Canada, preventing a new subdivision from going forward.&nbsp; Through this process they are reclaiming promised them through the Haldimand Proclamation.</p> <p><i>When does your narrative of this land's history begin? If you are a settler,&nbsp; like me, with a public education background, you likely learned a shallow narrative of this continent's history:&nbsp; sketchy romantic notions of Indigenous peoples (perhaps conceived of as a dying ancient race) and then a big leap forward to a story somewhere in the 1700s when resourceful Europeans began to occupy the land. If you are like me, you are on a journey of self-education, deepening, and unlearning your understanding of history beyond state-sanctioned textbooks. </i></p> <p>In the book <i>The Clay We are Made Of: Haudenosaunee land tenure on the Grand River </i>(2017), Haudenosaunee author Susan Hill describes how land is not just a place for the Haudenosaunee people but carries an integral relationship with ancestors and selfhood.&nbsp; Weaving together Haudenosaunee oral records, wampum strings, and the Euro-Western archives, this book taught me Indigenous history and realities censored, whitewashed, or forgotten from my education.</p> <p>In school, I learned that land is property for owning and using, and that unused land is waiting for humans to improve it. Hill's book taught me that this Euro-Western sense of place contrasts with and violates Haudenosaunee understandings of land and place. In this diagram from Hill's book, she illustrates how a Haudenosaunee sense of self is grounded within relationships, both with human kin, nonhuman beings, and with land. Hill writes, "[t]hese realms build upon each other in terms of identity and understanding of one's place in the world. These circles of influence have not remained static and were impacted significantly by "contact" and colonization"(p.80).</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="446" src="/sites/default/files/Screen%20Shot%202020-08-21%20at%201.47.23%20AM.png" width="604" /></p> <p><i>What were you taught about land and property? How does this understanding impact your perception of land defenders? What have been key learnings on your journey in showing solidarity with Indigenous movements? What questions and tensions remain?</i></p> <p>Since the late 1970s, the Haudenosaunee have made 29 land claims to the Federal and Provincial governments; in that time, only one of these claims has been addressed (<a href="https://www.canadalandshow.com/podcast/337-1492-land-back-lane/">CanadaLand, episode #337</a>, 22min). The Haudenosaunee land defenders are saying that society needs to halt these systems of land ownership, and governments need to uphold the treaties it made with the First Nations—in this context, the Haldimand Treaty of 1812 and the Silver Covenant Chain of Peace and Friendship.</p> <p>When asked how long they plan to stay at 1492 Land Back Lane, one land defender said, "Our people have been here for 10,000 years, and are planning on being here for 10,000 more." They are committed to securing the land—their Haudenosaunee sense of self and relationship with place—for future generations.</p> <p>If you are a settler, then consider reckoning with where you are in these spheres of influence for Haudenosaunee people, and with your sense of place in this history. If you are in the region and are able, consider joining the blockade.&nbsp; Haudenosaunee land defenders have requested that settler allies take to the front lines. If you cannot be present and have financial resources, please send your donations to <a href="mailto:landback6nations@gmail.com">landback6nations@gmail.com</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> Mon, 24 Aug 2020 18:30:36 +0000 Kathy Kern 12405 at https://cpt.org TURTLE ISLAND: It’s still our land, so where is the sharing? https://cpt.org/cptnet/2020/08/14/turtle-island-its-still-our-land-so-where-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="https://cptaction.org/support-land-defenders-at-1492-land-back-lane/"><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 https://cpt.org