Intensified coalition air strikes supporting an assault by U.S.-backed forces on Islamic State's stronghold of Raqqa in Syria are causing a "staggering loss of civilian life," United Nations war crimes investigators said on Wednesday.
On Dec. 14, Syrian pro-government forces breached the fragile ceasefire agreement, shelling besieged neighborhoods of Aleppo and banning civilians from fleeing. Addressing Syria, Iran, and Russia, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, asked, “Are you incapable of shame? … Is there no execution of a child that gets under your skin? Is there literally nothing that shames you?”
This weekend we’ll commemorate the too-short life and great work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. While we rightly celebrate his life dedicated to advancing equality for all, too often we overlook his call to peacemaking. This year, in light of conflicts in Syria, South Sudan, and an often-overlooked war in Central African Republic, we should remember his words.
In his 1967 speech, “Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence,” King opposed the violence, saying:
"To me the relationship of this ministry [of Jesus Christ] to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I'm speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men — for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative?"
Those aware of our long history at Sojourners know that we have always been committed to peace, to opposing unjust wars and finding nonviolent solutions wherever possible. And in all the work we do, we aim to speak out for the least of these, the poorest and most vulnerable.
The BBC reports on the opening day of Ratko Mladic's war crimes trial at The Hague:
Former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic intended to "ethnically cleanse" Bosnia, the opening day of his war crimes trial has heard. Gen Mladic faces 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide, in connection with the brutal 1992-95 Bosnian war.
Read more about the trial here
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Communities at Risk
“AIDS is born in the house of poverty,” an Indian health worker says on Making Ends Meet: AIDS and Poverty, a new resource from the Mennonite Central Committee. The 18-minute DVD looks at communities in India and South Africa and how AIDS is impacting the economies of each. The DVD includes additional interviews, a 25-minute story on church workers in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and other features. Excellent for Sunday school or study groups. www.mcc.org/aids