Christian Peacemaker Teams

Kathy Kelly 08-31-2012
Sister Anne Montgomery, photo courtesy Kathy Kelly

Sister Anne Montgomery, photo courtesy Kathy Kelly

Anne Montgomery died this week. I remember her words to me and to our young Iraqi friend Eva, sitting in the Al Monzer hotel in Amman, Jordan. This was in 2006, and she’d waited three weeks for a visa to enter Iraq as a peace witness. Anne had crossed into zones of conflict more times than any other activist I’d known. During these weeks with us, she’d been meeting and working with Iraqi refugees, many of them undocumented and struggling to eke out a living in Jordan.

Now the wait was over. The visas were not forthcoming, and Anne had decided she was needed most in the Palestinian West Bank city of Hebron, where the Christian Peacemaker Team — at that point, she had been a “CPT-er” for 11 years — was particularly short staffed and had requested a month of her time. She was going to attempt the crossing from Jordan into Israel by taxi, since Israel could very well have refused her entry, and we were to save a bed for her. But for the moment, we treasured the chance to learn from her in case this was a parting.

It was, and a greater parting has now come, so I take comfort in her words, and rededicate myself to taking direction from them.

Funeral for slain teacher and student, photo via Christian Peacemaker Teams.

Funeral for slain teacher and student, photo via Christian Peacemaker Teams.

The news spread through the city of Suleimaniya so quickly. Within an hour, Kurdish news outlets let the locals know that something bad had happened. From there, it moved even more quickly across the ocean.

By the evening of March 1, I was shocked to read it in my Manitoba prairie city’s newspaper: “Iraqi student kills American teacher in Christian school murder-suicide.“

Along with the bare facts, the questions and rumours arose. Why had the 18-year-old Kurdish boy carried a handgun to class in a Christian school in Suleimaniya and shot his teacher to death?

Was it the result of religious disagreement?

Was there some other kind of conflict between the two of them?

How could a handgun have entered the classroom?

Some our Kurdish partners called a meeting to see if some sort of action should take place. None of us had known either the teacher or the boy. Reports said that this type of shooting was not so unusual, that it happens in the United States all the time. But violence like this had never happened in a school in Kurdish Northern Iraq. Kurds were reeling and asking themselves what is it about their country that allows people to settle differences with a gun in a classroom?

Seth Wispelwey 11-11-2011
Campesinos in Monguí, Boyaca, Colombia. Image via Wylio.

Campesinos in Monguí, Boyaca, Colombia. Image via Wylio.

Colombia's campesinos ("people of the land") — peasants, farmers and artisanal miners, the indigenous — are calling out for an end to the exploitation and environmental destruction of their lifelong territories and homes.

They call out for a restoration of their livelihoods. Greed and violence punishing their land is also visited upon the campesinos themselves, leaving them dead, disappeared or disenfranchised as one of the world's largest internally displaced people groups.

The campesinos of Colombia have come together and called out.

Will we listen?

Will we locate our own story in theirs?

Will justice be done? Are we willing to work for it?

Logan Isaac 04-04-2011
Forty-three years ago today, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee.
Margaret Benefiel 01-19-2011
In the midst of the American discussions of violence and civility in public discourse following the tragic shootings in
Samuel Nichols 01-04-2011

For nearly six years, the Palestinian residents of the West Bank village of Bil'in have held a weekly nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall -- a barrier cutting through large portions of

Jarrod McKenna 12-21-2010
Many of us are asking how we can "un-co-opt Christmas" from consumer culture. Asking questions like:
Logan Isaac 11-22-2010

This series written by Logan Mehl-Laituri for God's Politics focuses on selective conscientious objection. Read more posts in this series here.

Logan Isaac 11-08-2010

This is the fourth installment of a series Logan Mehl-Laituri is writing for God's Politics focusing on selective conscientious objection.

Logan Isaac 11-01-2010

This is the third installment of a series Logan Mehl-Laituri is writing for God's Politics focusing on selective conscientious objection.

Logan Isaac 09-30-2010

Last March I testified at the Truth Commission on Conscience in War (TCCW) at the Riverside Church in New York City.

Logan Isaac 08-06-2010
Last weekend, Christian leaders and lay persons from all walks of life and just about every denominational body came together for the Peace Among the Peoples
Rose Marie Berger 07-29-2010

Art and Peggy Gish are career peace, civil rights, and human rights activists who embody the motto of their primary affiliation, Christian Peacemaker Teams: "Getting in the way."

Logan Isaac 07-27-2010
I've been staying with friends over the summer as I make my way slowly to North Carolina for divinity school, and I have been enjoying a few luxuries that I'm not used to, like television.
Logan Isaac 01-25-2010

Just a few days ago, I returned from a short trip into Iraq with a small group of Christian peacemakers. Most of us had been to the country before, but under varying circumstances: I was on a combat deployment in 2004; Greg Barrett, our organizer, went as a journalist in the run-up to the invasion in 2003; and four were part of a peace team protesting the bombing campaign during that same period.

Shane Claiborne, Cliff Kindy, Weldon Nisly, and Peggy Gish were leaving Iraq in March 2003 when one of their vehicles was involved in an accident, leaving Cliff and Weldon with life-threatening injuries. Had it not been for a few Iraqi Good Samaritans, they may have never made it out alive.

Aaron Taylor 10-15-2009
I'm trembling as I write this one.
Shane Claiborne 08-28-2009
As we remember the eighth anniversary of the Sept.
Logan Isaac 08-04-2009
I'm a big fan of iTunesU, and I usually try to listen to informative podcasts on long drives, since I can't read and drive simultaneously.

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