She and CPT supporters have submitted letters requesting that Israeli authorities reconsider their decision.
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The team's mandate includes responding as quickly as possible to attacks or threats against any civilian population, Israeli or Palestinian. The Rapid Response Team is in part a renewal of an action Kern initiated in when the 18 bus in Jerusalem was bombed two Sundays in a row, killing dozens of Israelis. Kern and another CPTer publicly declared their opposition to all violence and proceeded to ride the 18 bus the following three Sundays.
Kern's rejection is a wake up call for Christians to double our efforts to stop the blood from flowing in that place called the Holy Land. The two-person team travels quickly to the scene of bombings or attacks, providing on-site ministry for Israeli and Palestinian victims. We cannot predict these attacks in advance. The Rapid Response Team attempts to offer a pastoral and compassionate presence. While CPT continues its primary violence-reduction work in Hebron, the increased number of available peacemakers has enabled CPT to expand its presence - first to the village of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, where CPT has supported a small team for several months, and now to Jerusalem.
Being based in Jerusalem facilitates the Rapid Response Team's ability to travel to crisis spots without the delays caused by Israeli-imposed closures and curfews throughout much of the Occupied Territories. Fifteen people died and another fifteen were wounded after a shooting attack in Hebron on November 15th. Among the dead were nine Israeli soldiers and border police, three armed Israeli settler security members, and three Palestinians believed to have perpetrated the attack.
Colonel Dror Weinberg, commander of the Israeli forces in Hebron whom CPTers met on several occasions, was named as one of the victims. The Palestinian militia, Islamic Jihad, confirmed responsibility for the attack, claiming retribution for the Israeli military assassination of its leader, Iyad Sawalha, in Jenin the previous week. The Israeli military responded to the attack with several hours of firing into Palestinian neighborhoods with machine guns, tanks, and helicopter-mounted artillery.
The military also bulldozed several Palestinian homes near the site of the shooting in retaliation for the attack. Much of Hebron was placed under strict curfew. Team members walked to the site of the attack, conveying their sympathies to Israeli settlers and soldiers gathered nearby. They delivered a letter of condolence to the Israeli military base in Hebron strongly condemning the violence and calling on both sides to end the cycle of revenge, then stayed the night with Palestinian civilian families in areas potentially targeted for retribution attacks.
Within days, Kiryat Arba settlers placed three shipping containers, one bus, and several small tents at the site of the shooting, heeding Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's call to seize the opportunity created by the attack and "quickly" expand the settlement.
At least fifteen more Palestinian families near Kiryat Arba received home demolition orders. These families have no connection with the shooting. The site of the attack is not even visible from most of their houses. These demolitions will leave over a hundred innocent civilians homeless. Following are excerpts from reflections on their visit:. John Worrell: Through eyes narrowed by constant pain, the little five-year-old girl forced a smile at my faulty Arabic and antics by her bedside in Baghdad's Al Mansour Children's Hospital - once considered to be among the best such facilities in the world.
The eyes of the emaciated little boy in the next bed had lost all of the brilliant black sparkle so characteristic of Arab children, but he managed to thank me sincerely for the balloon I brought him. A tiny one-year-old nearby also managed a smile as he extended his one remaining hand to clasp mine. These friendly little people only saw me as a friendly big person who cared about them. They were unaware that the principal reason they were denied the common medication and treatments that could save their health, limbs, and lives was the policy of my government.
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But I knew, making the pain of my shame all the harder to contain. Iraq delegation holds vigil at a sanitation plant in Basrah. Before the Gulf War, Iraq maintained the highest level of sanitation and potable drinking water in the Middle East. Today there is no water considered safe for drinking in all the country. And their mothers knew, their doctors knew, their entire society knew. Yet, in spite of all the harm my county has caused them, the Iraqi people - from little children to jaded intellectuals - were genuinely glad to see us. They wanted us to see for ourselves who they are and what they are not.
They know and understand a great deal about America and its people. They once regarded us as a beacon for all peoples leading to such values as self-determination, anti-colonialism, prosperity, democracy. This is the democracy you want us to follow? You Americans want us to change our system, but you are incapable of critically questioning your own.
Such earnest criticism was always surrounded by smiling reassurances that it was not personal - they did not mean Americans, they meant our governmental policies. They were adamant that their culture and society were their own, not ours, to mold, that they have much in their culture and values that we could benefit to learn. It is embarrassing that they understand so much about us, while we Americans know virtually nothing about them - the real Iraq.
Why don't they hate us? Why do so many of us hate them? Afterwards, we met with the pastor and his wife from Egypt.
This congregation, one of five Presbyterian churches in Iraq, has about members. Apparently these churches were established in the s as people from Turkey migrated southward.
They worship on Sunday, a work day in the Muslim world where Friday and Saturday constitute the weekend, so attendance is greatest at the pm service. The sanctuary is large and immaculate, including the steeple with the cross on top. Our visit was too short, but it was a blessing for us to be there.
Post-war health effects could take an additional , lives. It is available on-line at www. Please send peacemakers to help us stop them. Danielle and her three children live on Oneida Territory near Syracuse, NY - one of nine families engaged in a long-standing struggle to keep thirty-two acres of traditional Oneida homeland from falling under the control of self-appointed tribal leader Ray Halbritter.
CPT had visited the Oneida in February, , and responded to this call by sending an emergency team to join dozens of other supporters on the land. The September 15 demolition deadline came and went without incident. However, on October 18, when outside observers were no longer present, authorities came and arrested Danielle for contempt of court. She was arrested in November, , in a scuffle with police during a previous eviction attempt, but refused to appear in court because she does not recognize the legitimacy of Halbritter's legal system which is staffed almost entirely by non-Native police officers, judges and lawyers.
Several days later, on October 22, her trailer was bulldozed. Now homeless, Danielle declared, "They can break down my door and demolish my house, but my spirit is still strong. Since Halbritter seized power of the Oneida Nation in the early 's, Oneida families who wish to continue traditional Iroquois forms of government have found themselves increasingly under siege. Halbritter replaced the traditional Clan Mothers with his own supporters, installed a Men's Council whose power superseded the Clan Mothers and established a paramilitary non-Native police force to harass and dispossess Oneidas who have spoken out against his abuses of power.
Halbritter, who refers to himself as the "CEO" of the Oneida people, consolidated his power by banning media coverage, meetings of more than five people and traditional ceremonies on Oneida Territory. He also disenrolled the dissident Oneidas from the tribe, thus rendering them ineligible for federal assistance. Under the guise of "beautification," Halbritter's forces have now successfully evicted fourteen families and demolished their homes.
Since Halbritter has placed himself above both U. Federal Law and Iroquois law, the traditional Oneidas have no legal recourse. Because of the thirteen casinos and other moneymaking enterprises he owns, Halbritter is a multi-millionaire with tremendous resources at his disposal to maintain his hold on power. Throughout this campaign of harassment the Oneida dissidents have repeatedly refused to respond to violence with violence. They have only their commitment to remain on the thirty-two acres of homeland left to them, and nonviolent grassroots support to rely on.
With impending inspections and threats of eviction against the remaining eight families, CPTers have returned to Oneida. Since , the exercise of Mi'kmaq fishing rights was the source of violent conflict between aboriginal and non-aboriginal fishers. Federal authorities responded with repressive, at times brutal, tactics against EFN fishers.
According to the terms of the agreement, the Band Council relinquished the EFN's treaty right to regulate their own fishery and submitted themselves to Canadian government regulations and quotas. In return, the government agreed to honor its legal obligation to provide for a moderate living. It promised to give the EFN community an additional twenty-one commercial licenses for the spring lobster fishery above the 13 they already hold , increase their quota of snow crab, pay for more native boats and underwrite training.
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A fall fishery for food and ceremonial purposes only, not for sale, is limited to 13, kilograms. The cost to the government is estimated at about 25 million dollars Canadian over two years.
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Is it a good deal or a bad one? Is it a re-negotiation of treaty rights or an extinguishing of Aboriginal fishing rights? Will it bring peace or will the conflict continue? Whatever the case, CPT respects the right of the EFN community to decide their own future and is grateful for the opportunity to stand with them in their lonely, courageous fight for their way of life.
The U. Navy occupied this land in and members of the families who lost property carried the torch on the first leg. They passed the flame to young men on horseback, who passed it to teachers. Nineteen exchanges in all passed between unions, women's groups, and peace groups. Children of Vieques lit the eternal flame at the Peace and Justice Camp across from the gate of the U. Navy's Camp Garcia. The organizers intend it to burn until the Navy leaves Vieques.