Thursday, April 27, 2006

Peaceful Living Workshop / Vienna, VA

1) If you are in the DC area, you might want to participate in this workshop!
2) Perhaps this kind of a Peaceful Living Workshop is something you would like to plan for your neck-of-the-woods?

Blessings on the Oakton Church of the Brethren, and on all ministries seeking justice and building reconciliation in our world.

Oakton Church of the Brethren, Vienna, VA, is hosting a
Peaceful Living Workshop
on Sunday, May 7th, from 2 to 5:30 pm.

Annie Clark, Program Coordinator for the Ministry of Reconciliation of On Earth Peace; Phil Jones, Director of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office; and Illana Naylor, a member of the Manassas Church of the Brethren, will be joining us as session leaders. There will also be separate, peace-related activities for children through age 12 while parents or guardians attend.

Session topics are: Peaceful Parenting; the Military and Conscientious Objection; Interpersonal Conflict Reconciliation; and the Decade to Overcome Violence. Workshop attendees will be able to sign up for two topics.

The workshop will be an opportunity for all who attend to explore what it means to be peacemakers: in our personal lives, in our families, and in the world.

Oakton Church of the Brethen is located at 10225 Courthouse Road, Vienna, VA. For more information or to register, visit the website at, or call 703-281-4411.


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On Earth Peace is an agency rooted in the Church of the Brethren, helping people faithfully discern "the things that make for peace" (Luke 19).

If you know stories of nonviolent action that are happening that others might want to know about, please e-mail them to

If you would like to receive these alerts or end your subscription, kindly send an e-mail message to

On the web:; Tel (410) 635-8704; On Earth Peace, PO Box 188, New Windsor, MD 21776-0188.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Echo Petry's passing

Dear sisters and brothers,

Last week we lost an elder of our congregation, the Richmond Church of the Brethren. Echo Petry was a warm-hearted woman of grace, a stalwart of the congregation, who welcomed me over and over again when I was a new seminary student. I can still feel her soft hands surrounding mine, and see her deep eyes, expressing love and concern.

In church this Sunday, our pastor read a news item about Echo, which brought me a whole new perspective to her testimony of grace.

Background: Echo Petry's family was originally from the United States, but was living in Canada when she was born, so she had Canadian citizenship. In 1952, Echo, who had married in the States and was settled in Richmond, Indiana, decided to give up her Canadian citizenship. She attended citizenship classes and was finally granted naturalization after some delay, because she refused to take the regular oath of allegiance. Here's how it was reported in the local paper.

Richmond, Indiana, Palladium-Item, April 19, 1952:
“Judge G.H. Hoelscher administered the oath of allegiance to a class of 13 persons today in the Wayne Circuit Courtroom. Because of her religious convictions in opposition to war, Mrs. Echo Marie Petry, a member of the Church of the Brethren, was permitted by the court. . . [to take] an “alternative” oath... Mrs. Petry, a native of Canada, submitted extensive and detailed documentary evidence of her church membership and of the church’s opposition to war. Judge Hoelscher asked Mrs. Petry, "‘What have you to offer the United States in return for your citizenship?"’ Mrs. Petry asserted that she was willing in any emergency. . . to serve in hospitals or in rehabilitation work. . . under civilian direction rather than military supervision.”
Here is a link to Echo's obituary.
May we give thanks for the cloud of witness that surrounds us,
and for lives well- and richly-lived.


Monday, April 24, 2006

truth-in-recruiting call: join us Apr 26 at 11:00 Eastern

Hello friends,

We've got a good lineup for this month's truth-in-recruiting networking call, on Wednesday the 26th!  Folks are calling in from three points in California, from Texas, Philadelphia, New York City, Indiana, and Ohio. 

If you are engaged in countering the presence of military recruiters in your community -- whether formally, or informally with your own kids -- I encourage you to join us this month. 

There's still space for a couple more to join us!  It will be at 11:00am Eastern; 8am Pacific, on Wednesday the 26th.  Let me know ASAP if you'd like to join in.   You can reach me at mattguynn @      

If On Earth Peace's networking calls are new to you, you can expect time for each participant to share about their recent work -- victories, updates, perspectives, challenges -- and time to ask for counsel from the rest of us & to offer your wisdom out to the group.  There are usually folks who are just beginning all the way up to those who are very involved, and everyone is welcome. 

love in resistance,
Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Israeli Settlers Attack 79 Yr Old Human Rights Worker in Hebron


Anne Montgomery is a longtime member of Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron. Here's info on an attack on her and other human rights workers in Hebron today.

This photo is from a vigil outside the gates of Guantanamo in December. You can find more info on her here:

Let us pray for peace in our own hearts,
for the healing of all those wounded by violence,

~Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace

Militant Settlers Attack 79 Year Old Human Rights Worker in Hebron

April 20th, 2006


Militant supporters of the illegal settlers of Hebron attacked Human Rights Workers (HRWs), Palestinian teachers and children at approximately 7:40 this morning.

The small team of HRWs were on the street this morning ready to protect Palestinian children on their way to school. Attacks on Palestinian children are common, and tension in the area has been high during the Passover holiday period, when the settlers receive thousands of visitors who support their extreme militant actions.

While the HRW team waited for the children, a bus from Jerusalem full of young settler supporters arrived at the end of the street. About 15, aged in their late teens or early twenties got off the bus and gathered at the end of the street. Within minutes they walked up the street, heading for the HRWs and some Palestinian teachers and children.

They started to throw stones, and yelled �We�re going to kill you!� A Danish camerman from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) started to film, and immediately became a target for the settler group. The cameraman ran away. The settler group then attacked the other human rights workers, including Sister Anne Montgomery (who will be 80 in November), a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). She was stoned, as were Tore (29) from Norway, and Karien (46) from Germany. Soldiers from the Israeli Army watched the entire incident and made no attempt to intervene.

Despite being attacked, the HRWs managed to protect two Palestinian teachers and three children who were on their way to the nearby school, which is next door to the settlement. The Palestinians were able to shelter on the first floor of a nearby building.

The attack finally stopped when the police arrived, and the attackers ran back to the settlement. All the HRWs have bruises from kicks, punches, and stones. Anna (21) a Swedish woman from the ISM was wounded by a stone. The HRWs have reported the incident to the police, but if past experience is a guide, the police are unlikely to take effective action against this unprovoked attack.

For more information:

Anna (ISM witness): 054-3045205
ISM Media Office: 02-2971824

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

From the Tomb: An Easter Reflection by James Loney

CPTnet, 19 April 2006 ~

IRAQ/TORONTO: "From the Tomb," an Easter reflection by James Loney

[Note: Loney's reflection appeared in the 15 April 2006 edition of the Toronto Star.]

"Very early, on the first day of the week, just after sunrise they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb?" Mark 16: 2-3

For 118 days we lay in a tomb -- Norman Kember, Harmeet Sooden and me. Tom Fox too, for 104 days, until he was murdered in the early morning hours of March 9.

Our tomb was a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. room. How I came to hate every single detail of it: the paint-peeling walls; the dim light filtered through stained bedsheet "curtains"; the
pebble-speckle pattern of the floor tiles; the never-ending hours and days of sitting, sleeping, three-times-a-day eating, handcuffed and chained except when let free to go to the bathroom.

We were sealed into this tomb on Nov. 26, 2005. It happened in a finger-snap, just as we were leaving the headquarters of the Muslim Scholars Association, where we had been meeting with their human rights officer. A white, economy-size car pulled in front of us and forced us to stop. Four men with guns stormed our van with military precision.

They went first for our driver and translator, pulled them from the front seats. One of the men jumped into the driver's seat while the others opened the passenger door and, with guns pointed at our heads, took control of the vehicle -- and our lives.

They didn't say a word. They didn't have to. We knew what the score was: co-operate or die.

With that act of violence, we all fell into a pit -- captor and captive and rescuer. A trap had been sprung and there seemed to be no way out unless a price was paid.

The captors wanted money to fund their war against the occupation of Iraq. If ransom was negotiated, it would be young American soldiers who paid. If ransom was denied -- the policy of both the Canadian government and Christian Peacemaker Teams, the organization I work for -- it would be one or all of us hostages who paid. If an attempt was made to rescue us by force, it would be a soldier or a captor or one of us that paid.

Even if our captors decided to just let us go, clearly the best possible scenario, there was still the cost of losing face, something I sensed they were not prepared to do. In the end, it was Tom who paid.

Bleak as they were, I did have options. I could have risked everything in an attempt to escape. I could have stripped off my clothes, refused to eat, told them "release me or kill me" -- either way I will not co-operate with your captivity or your plans for ransom. But the truth was, my desire to live, to be free, was stronger than my principles. I did not want to pay. So I smiled for them, ate their food, held out my hands for handcuffing, accommodated them in a thousand and one ways.

While the prospect of ransom repulsed me, and I resolved never to ask for it (my greatest fear was that I would be tortured into pleading for it), I co operated in the secret hope that it might be the key that opened the door.

I was a prisoner of my own moral cowardice. "Dear God," I prayed, "Let this bitter cup pass me by. Let our freedom be restored with the least amount of suffering possible." Days piled into weeks, and weeks piled into months.

On March 23, at about 7:30 in the morning, our tombstone was rolled way: not by angels garbed in heavenly robes, but by a unit of British Special Forces in full battle gear. There were the sounds of boots on concrete, the door being smashed open, gunfire, voices in English shouting, "Get down! Stay away from the door!" Then a roomful of commotion, soldiers telling us "You're free, it's okay, it's over." And hands, shaking with excitement, cutting us free with a bolt-cutter.

They led us past the smashed-glass threshold of our tomb and out. Out into blue! Beautiful all sky blue! Fresh flowing air and a palm tree and good morning sunlight! They led us through a smiling gauntlet of soldiers and, with a big step up and a big hatch down, we were entombed again.

This tomb was a bland desert-camouflage colour. It was squat, constructed of impregnable steel, moved on a rolling tread of metal plates. The passenger section was dark and cramped and crammed with carefully tooled metal shapes (each with an exact purpose) and little signs that told you things like what to do in the event of a rollover. A young soldier named Rob kept watch through a tiny slit of super thick plate glass. Through it, you could see a small, distorted rectangle of the world outside.

The armoured personnel carrier in motion was excruciatingly loud. The roar and staccato-grind of it pounded in my bones. It brought us to a helicopter armed with a fixed, heavy-calibre machine gun, and the helicopter brought us to the Green Zone -- the sprawling, blast-wall lock-down that houses the offices of the fledgling Iraqi government and the occupying forces of Britain and the United States.

Yes, we went from one tomb to another.

I am learning many things from my captivity, and have a universe of things to be grateful for. Among them is a new and deep appreciation for the women and men who wear the uniform of military service. I likely would not be writing this today if it were not for them. Thus, I am confronted with a great paradox. I, the Christian pacifist peacemaker, am alive, am free because of the very institutions I believe are contrary to Christian teaching.

Christ teaches us to love our enemies, do good to those who harm us, pray for those who persecute us. He calls us to accept suffering before we inflict injury. He calls us to pick up the cross and to lay down the sword.

We will most certainly fail in this call. I did. And I'll fail again. This does not change Christ's teaching that violence itself is the tomb, violence is the dead-end. Peace won through the barrel of a gun might be a victory but it is not peace. Our captors had guns and they ruled over us. Our rescuers had bigger guns and ruled over the captors. We were freed, but the rule of the gun stayed. The stone across the tomb of violence has not been rolled away.

I'm learning that there are many kinds of prisons and many kinds of tombs. Prisons of the mind, the heart, the body. Tombs of despair, fear, confusion. Tombs within tombs and prisons within prisons.

There are no easy answers. We must all find our way through a broken world, struggling with the paradox of call and failure. My captivity and rescue have helped me to catch a glimpse of how powerful the force of resurrection is. Christ, that tomb-busting suffering servant Son of God, seeks us wherever we are, reaches for us in whatever darkness we inhabit.

May we reach for each other with that same persistence. The tomb is not the final word.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Being Change: The Way of the Activist

"I have no bucket, and the well is deep. . ." --Brian Wren

Sisters & brothers,

If you yearn for reflection & retreat so you can approach your social change efforts with renewed energy, I invite you to check out these retreats on "Being Change: The Way of the Activist," offered in June (MA) and August (NM).
The events are offered by stone circles, whose mission is to sustain activists and strengthen the work of justice through spiritual practice and principles. I think that this event will strongly speak to some of you on this list. Let me know if you decide to go!


Being Change: The Way of the Activist
Retreats for Activists

June 13 - 18, 2006
Angels' Rest Retreat and Conference Center
Leyden, Massachusetts
August 6 - 11, 2006
Vallecitos Mountain Refuge
Taos, New Mexico

why a retreat?

Success in our work for peace and justice will never be achieved if we continue to think of peace and justice as issues external to our selves. The embodiment of peace, of freedom from internal and external forces of oppression, is the only way in which these forces can begin to be effectively challenged in the larger society. When we neglect to examine our selves with clarity and compassion, we recreate the conditions of conflict, delusion, and suffering in the very work that is supposed to be countering these forces. Our work for justice is adversely affected by our stress, unhappiness, and unhealthiness. We need refuge. We need sanctuary. We need time to be non-productive. Social change agents need places to withdraw where we can gather, relax, and inspire each other to grow.

In most religious and spiritual traditions, periods of retreat serve people in vital ways. Retreats offer a shift in daily routine that allows for us a deeper examination of values, priorities, and habits. In a retreat space, new levels of mindfulness become possible. Daily needs are provided for. Communication devices of all kinds, including our minds, are given a chance to rest. As the days unfold at a slower pace, both the body and the mind begin to unbind from their habit-energies and deeper understandings of reality, truth, happiness, and change are possible.

what will we be doing?

A. Individual consciousness practices
Consciousness is at the heart of many spiritual paths. For this retreat, we'll be using the primary awareness practices and frameworks that we are trained in. These include Vipassana or Insight meditation from the Buddhist tradition and yoga from the Kripalu tradition. These are our two primary tools for engaging in contemplative practice and will be offered as fundamental parts of the retreat format.
Beyond these, we’ll engage in a range of spiritual and contemplative practices that engender deep levels of awareness. Some key aspects of the retreat, like silence, are common across the religious spectrum. Others, such as journaling or collage are not from any particular tradition at all but can be used as vehicles for presence, awareness, and connection. The retreat will be accessible to people of many faith and spiritual traditions, complementing existing practices and rituals participants may have.
B. Relationship practice
So much of social change work happens in the relationships between people – through organizational work, collaboration, coalitions, mentorship, even opposition. Retreat is a unique time to examine our ways of relating to people and groups. We’ll use a series of simple relationship practices to explore our verbal and non-verbal interactions with other human beings: How do we listen? How do we communicate? How do we support and challenge each other? How do we sit in the fire of conflict? How do we witness? How do we instigate change?
C. Integrated Liberation Spirituality Framework
Our historical moment is complicated and troubling. The forces of oppression, delusion, greed, and hatred are powerfully aligned and history is calling for a response. Appropriate and effective responses require of us our highest degree of wisdom, compassion, integrity, risk, and clarity. Where in the matrix of the personal and the societal do we find and create liberation? What is required of us? What steps need to be taken? In the paradigm of inner and outer suffering and liberation we seek the answers.

For additional information please contact:

Margie Hattori

Art Gish on the Rush Limbaugh Show

Hello friends,

Church of the Brethren member and Christian Peacemaker Team member Art Gish called in to the Rush Limbaugh show on March 23 to offer his perspective on the nonviolent way of the cross.

As you may know, Limbaugh has been quite critical of CPT through the captivity of CPTers in Iraq.

Here's the transcript. (You can also find it here: Rush Limbaugh transcript, but you have to register for Limbaugh's special membership club. It's also been quoted on several blogs that I have found.)

Peace & grace,

Matt Guynn

RUSH: Here is Art in Athens, Ohio. Hi, Art, welcome to the program.
CALLER: I'm part of Christian Peacemaker Teams. I just got back from Iraq. My wife is still in Baghdad with Christian Peacemaker Teams.
RUSH: Okay. Did you call today for a specific reason or did you just want to tell me that?
CALLER: No, I thought you might want to talk to somebody who's been there and been part of the team. The Christian Peacemaker Teams comes out of the Quakers, Mennonites, and the Church of the Brethren, the peace churches.
RUSH: Yeah, peace.
CALLER: And it's based on the idea that if we want peace and are opposed to war, then we ought to be willing to take the same risks that soldiers take and go into violent situations and be a nonviolent presence in the middle of --
RUSH: Yeah, but, you know, peacemakers have never won wars with peace. They do it with guns and soldiers and --
CALLER: Well, we have another idea --
RUSH: You win wars by killing people and breaking things, and then you institute the peace.
CALLER: We believe that the only way to overcome evil is through nonviolent suffering love, the way of the cross.
RUSH: Well, the problem is that you're misdefining evil. You're in the midst of evil over there and yet you see it here in the United States. The evil is all around you. The evil just captured a bunch of your members.
CALLER: We see it everywhere.
RUSH: Well, you don't see it then. You can sit there all day and tell me what you see. You've been rescued by people after swearing off any use of force of violence to have these people rescued, they still took the rescue, and there's not one bit of gratitude. There's not one thank-you, there's nothing more than blaming the people that rescued you and calling them now on this program evil. I, sir, am not interested.

First Nations' Voices -- Canada, Colombia

Dear friends,

For those who celebrate them, I hope that your Holy Week, Passover, or celebration of Mohammed's birthday, Al-Mawlid, were meaningful and strengthening.

Here is a reflection from Sandra Rincón, a Colombian who participated in a Christian Peacemaker Teams delegation to visit First Nations people in Ontario. Her essay raises the question for each of us: What prevents us from seeing each as brother, sister?

What prevents us from moving beyond supportive beliefs to acting in solidarity?

May our voice of hope never be silenced.

Yours for grace and peace,

Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace

CPTnet | 15 April 2006
By Sandra Rincón
translated by Duane Ediger

[Note: The following reflection by Rincón has been edited for length. People wishing to see the full reflection may request it from .]

"We are Anishnaabe. The Creator gave us this land to take care of, land sacred to us because it gives us life." These words of a First Nations Elder in Canada awakened in my heart the pulse and voice of my South American indigenous ancestors.

Fourteen men and two women, with ages totaling nearly a thousand years, shared about their lives and struggles with a Christian Peacemaker Teams delegation in Grassy Narrows, Ontario, in March 2006. The wisdom transmitted by each Anishnaabe has borne their nation's life, culture and traditions for more than 13,000 years. It sent chills up and down my spine, especially as I remembered with sadness all the indigenous wisdom lost in my home country of Colombia.

"We were removed from our homes, taken far from our parents and grandparents, far away from our nation." I frequently hear the voices of Anishnaabe and other First Nations men and women in Canada who survived Residential Schools, where they "learned" religion, math and English. But they refused to forget their loved ones' faces or the smell of home-cooked food, and shed millions of tears hoping for a quick exit to freedom.

The idea behind the schools was to impose on thousands of Anishnaabe a certain way of thinking and seeing the world. But the wisdom of their culture and history kept calling out from their hearts, saying, "you must be who you are: Anishnaabe." The same call gives me a longing to know who I am.

The voices I hear are also those of Anishnaabe women: beautiful, strong, powerful, sensitive, sweet, brilliant; mothers, wives, daughters, nieces, Anishnaabe. The spiritual strength given these women by the Creator has allowed them to persist in the long struggle for their nation.

That same struggle exists in Colombia, and it has been for me a source of energy, pride and hope. It has its origin in different world views. Most people see their planetary home in fragments. Dams, lumber, gold, oil, uranium, fertile lands. For the First Nations, on the other hand, "it is impossible to possess something we have not created."

As this struggle has unfolded, the lands and lives of many First Nations have been snatched away. Others have designed, defined and set limits to their ways of living, their "prosperity" and their civilization. Sadly for the First Nations, the arrival of colonists has meant mostly pain, exclusion, death and desolation. As a mestiza (of mixed blood), I want to listen the voices, including my own, that defy all attempts to be silenced.

Though others turn away and deny First Nations voices, as I listen they lead me to question myself: if all are brothers and sisters, why don't we see it that way? Why continue in the race to self-destruction?

As my ears remain open to these voices, may my life give adequate answer to the questions they raise.

APRIL 29 | March for Peace, Justice, and Democracy

UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE ACTION ALERT | 212-868-5545 | Click to subscribe

Saturday, April 29
March for Peace, Justice and Democracy

Assemble: 22nd Street and Broadway,
10:30AM onward
March: At noon down Broadway to Foley Square
Grassroots action festival: 1:00-6:00PM,
Foley Square
See below and for more details.

If you've ever doubted that protest marches can make a difference, just look at the stunning example of the massive immigrant rights demonstrations over this past week. Millions of people have taken to the streets across the country with a simple, powerful message: Don't deny the promise of opportunity to those who only seek a better life. And not only did this grassroots outpouring transform the political debate -- but it's also stalled, at least for the moment, the most draconian anti-immigrant measures in Congress.

On April 29, large numbers will again take to the streets, to demand a dramatic change in direction. Too much is too wrong in this country. We will call for an immediate end to the Iraq war and for all the troops to come home now. We will demand an end to illegal spying, government corruption, and the subversion of our democracy. We will stand up for the rights of immigrants and women, and for all our civil liberties. We will call for this country's resources to be used to rebuild the Gulf Coast and other devastated communities rather than for never-ending oil wars and massive corporate subsidies.

We have reached an agreement with the New York Police Department for the April 29 march route and festival location. We will assemble beginning at 10:30AM at 22nd Street and Broadway. Starting at noon, we will march down Broadway through the heart of Manhattan, to Foley Square, site of the Federal Building and Federal Courthouse. Maps, plus information about gathering spots for contingents, will soon be posted at

Bring signs and banners, bring musical instruments, and above all, bring friends and associates -- let's make this event massive, vibrant, colorful, and inspiring! (Please note: The NYPD prohibits the use of wooden, metal, or fiberglass sticks or poles -- only cardboard tubes may be used to hold up signs and banners.)

The march will culminate in an action-oriented grassroots festival in Foley Square from 1:00-6:00PM, designed to connect those who attend the protest with a wide array of organizations and campaigns, including the nine national groups who initiated the April 29 protest. At the festival, you'll find leaflets, how-to guides, activist toolkits, and other resources; learn more about the disastrous Iraq War and how you can plug into the many efforts underway to bring the troops home; and have an opportunity to talk to knowledgeable organizers involved in everything from counter-recruitment work to faith-based organizing to immigrant rights and civil liberties. You'll also be able to picnic on the grass, spend time with friends, listen to music, and watch performances. There will be a large tabling area for groups wishing to distribute literature or sell merchandise at the festival. Click here to reserve table space.

Spread the word! We have an opportunity to turn what promises to be an important event into an historic mobilization. But we need your help to make sure everyone knows about April 29th. Visit the April 29 website to download leaflets for photocopying and distributing -- or, if you're in the New York City area, come by the United for Peace and Justice office and pick some up. Our office is at 261 West 36th Street, 7th floor, and is open Monday through Friday, 9:30am to 7:30pm and on the weekends (call the office for exact times -- 212-868-5545). We also have stickers, buttons, and posters to promote the April 29 march.

We need lots of volunteers to make April 29 a success! If you can help out, either over the next few weeks or on the day of the protest, click here to sign up, or call our office at 212-868-5545.

We also need your financial support, to help pay for the costs of the April 29 protest and the ongoing work of United for Peace and Justice. Click here to make a secure online credit card donation, or call our office at 212-868-5545 to make a credit card donation over the phone. You can also send checks or money orders made payable to United for Peace and Justice to UFPJ, P.O. Box 607, Times Square Station, New York, NY 10108.

Promote the protest online!Forward this email far and wide. Post an April 29 web button on your website or blog. Add the April 29 NYC Protest to your friends on MySpace.

Visit for more details, including transportation and housing information.

The times are urgent -- we must act! Join us in the streets of New York City on April 29!

Initiating Groups
United for Peace and Justice
Rainbow/PUSH Coalition
National Organization for Women
Friends of the Earth
U.S. Labor Against the War
Climate Crisis Coalition
People's Hurricane Relief Fund
National Youth and Student Peace Coalition
Veterans For Peace

To subscribe, visit

April counter-recruitment networking calls

This is a call-out to all those active in or wanting to GET active in proactive & responsive engagement with military recruiters and the situation youth face with regards to militarism.
Spring is springing to life, and it's time for our next round of Encountering Recruitment counter-recruitment calls.

For those who haven't participated previously, one recent participant shared,
"These calls have been quite helpful in giving me ideas and resources that I had not known about before.  As we share with each other, we are giving information that can be gained & used in our own communities, finding out what they have tried & what works & doesn’t work – to have an idea what other communities have done."  
The networking call is a great place to share what's been happening in your encounters with recruiters or work with youth around issues of militarism and recruitment.    We usually have eight to twelve participants from all around the country -- California to Nebraska to Michigan to Maryland.   Each gets a chance to share and request input or counsel. 
        If you are just considering getting started, you are especially welcome!  It's a good place to get a boost towards action.

There will be two slots for April:

Evening:  Thursday, April 20, 7:30PM-9:00PM EASTERN DAYLIGHT
Daytime:  Wednesday, April 26, 11:00AM-12:30PM EASTERN DAYLIGHT

Would you please respond to me directly (send to with your availability for either or both slots?  (I will need at least three folks in each slot to keep it open.)  If responding, please let me know if there's a specific focus you would like or question for conversation. 

Peace & respect,

~Matt Guynn

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Immigrants Rally in Scores of Cities for Legal Status

Hello good people, 

May you receive a blessing this afternoon.

I previously sent items about rallies and marches taking place about the immigration legislation currently before Congress.  Here's a follow-up story from today's front page in the New York Times.

How is immigration currently affecting your community? 

What does SOLIDARITY look like, in these circumstances?

a la lucha continua,

On Earth Peace


New York Times / April 11, 2006



WASHINGTON, April 10 ­ Waving American flags and blue banners that read "We Are America," throngs of cheering, chanting immigrants and their supporters converged on the nation's capital and in scores of other cities on Monday calling on Congress to offer legal status and citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants.

The demonstrators marched under mostly clear blue skies with Spanish-language music blaring, street vendors selling ice cream and parents clinging to mischievous toddlers and the banners of their homelands.

The rallies, whose mood was largely festive rather than angry, were the latest in recent weeks in response to a bill passed in the House that would speed up deportations, tighten border security and criminalize illegal immigrants. A proposal that would have given most illegal immigrants a chance to become citizens collapsed in the Senate last week.

But Monday's gathering of tens of thousands of demonstrators in New York; Atlanta; Houston; Madison, Wis., and other cities also suggested that the millions of immigrants who have quietly poured into this country over the past 16 years, most of them Hispanic, may be emerging as a potent political force.

Over and over again, construction workers, cooks, gardeners, sales associates and students who said they had never demonstrated before said they were rallying to send a message to the nation's lawmakers.

Ruben Arita, a 30-year-old illegal immigrant from Honduras who joined the demonstration in Washington, said he was marching for the first time because he wanted to push Congress to grant citizenship to people living here illegally and to recognize their struggles and their humanity.

"We want to be legal," said Mr. Arita, a construction worker who has lived here for five years. "We want to live without hiding, without fear. We have to speak so that our voices are listened to and we are taken into account."

Academics and political analysts say the demonstrations represent the largest effort by immigrants to influence public policy in recent memory. And the scope and size of the marches have astonished politicians on Capitol Hill as well as the churches and immigrant advocacy groups organizing the demonstrations, leading some immigrant advocates to hail what they describe as the beginnings of a new, largely Hispanic civil rights movement.

Some Republicans in Congress say the rallieshave also recalibrated the debate on immigration legislation, forcing lawmakers to consider the group's political muscle.

"Immigrants are coming together in a way that we have never seen before, and it's going to keep going," said Jaime Contreras, the president of the National Capital Immigration Coalition, a group of business, labor and immigrant advocacy groups that organized the demonstration in Washington and helped coordinate the other national protests.

"This is a movement," said Mr. Contreras, who came to the United States from El Salvador as an illegal immigrant and is now a citizen. "We're sending a strong message that we are people of dignity. All that we want is to have a shot at the American dream."

Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, who favors granting citizenship to illegal immigrants, said Monday: "I think everybody sees the immigrant community as an emerging force. I think everybody is quite sensitive that they don't want to be on the wrong side, politically, of this group."

But political analysts say it is not clear whether the fervor on the streets will translate immediately into a force at the ballot box.

In the 2004 presidential election, 18 percent of Hispanics voted, compared with 51 percent of whites and 39 percent of blacks, according to a study conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center. That reflects, in part, the large numbers of illegal immigrants, permanent residents and children under 18 in the Hispanic community who are unable to vote. But turnout has traditionally been low even among Hispanics registered to vote.

President Bush has called on Congress to create a temporary work program that would legalize millions of immigrants.

The demonstrations, while cheered by advocates for immigrants, have meanwhile fueled a sharp response from critics who have expressed outrage at the images of immigrants, some of them illegal, demanding changes in American laws.

Talk of the marches has been burning up the airwaves on talk radio and cable news networks and has appeared in Internet blogs and conservative publications. Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, described the protests with marchers carrying foreign flags as "ominous" in "their hint of a large, unassimilated population existing outside America's laws and exhibiting absolutely no sheepishness about it."

Brit Hume, the news anchor on Fox News, described the marchers, particularly those carrying Mexican flags, as "a repellent spectacle."

But Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, warned that politicians who chose to alienate this group did so at their own peril.

"I understand clearly that the demographic changes are real in America and how we handle this issue in terms of fairness will be very important for the future of both parties," Mr. Graham said Monday. "Those who believe that they have no political vulnerability for the moment don't understand the future."

The organizers of the protests called Monday a National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice, and the focus was on pushing for legislation that would legalize the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants believed to be living in the United States. And in Atlanta, where the police estimated that 30,000 to 40,000 people participated in the rallies, some marchers invoked the tactics and slogans of the civil rights era. Fabian Rodriguez, a 38-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico, said he was tired of living in fear of being deported.

"We are in the situation that Rosa Parks was in several years ago," said Mr. Rodriguez, who works in the landscaping business. "Enough is enough."

In Houston, where thousands of immigrants chanted "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" as they rallied, Staff Sgt. Jose Soto of the Marines marched in his blue uniform. He said he had fought in Iraq and was in Houston to visit his parents, who came to this country as illegal immigrants.

"I've fought for freedom overseas," said Sergeant Soto, 30, who plans to return to Iraq in July. "Now I'm fighting for freedom here."

In Madison, the crowds of demonstrators stretched nearly a mile as protesters headed to the Capitol. Maria Camacho, a 51-year-old Mexican immigrant, attended the march with her husband and daughter. Wearing a white sweater with an American flag, she held up a sign that read, "No human being is illegal."

No rally was more diverse than New York's, where the thousands who converged at City Hall Park were greeted in Spanish, Chinese, French and Korean, and heard invocations by a rabbi and the leader of a Buddhist temple.

"We are inseparable, indivisible and impossible to take out of America," Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, told a spirited crowd that included hotel housekeepers from El Salvador, Senegalese street vendors, Chinese restaurant workers and Mexican laborers.

In Washington, demonstrators carried children on their shoulders, ate popcorn and draped themselves in the banners of their homelands as they cheered Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, who told them that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had spoken here in 1963, and a host of other speakers, including John J. Sweeney, president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., and Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington.

Across the street from the rally, about half a dozen people held signs that read, "Illegals Go Home."

But the small counterprotest failed to douse the spirits of the demonstrators, many of whom seemed almost giddy with their newfound sense of political power.

"Today we march," they chanted. "Tomorrow we vote!"

Reporting for this article was contributed by Helena Andrews in Washington, Chris Burbach in Omaha, Cindy Chang in Los Angeles, Thayer Evans in Houston, Paul Giblin in Phoenix, Brenda Goodman in Atlanta, Barbara Miner in Madison, Wis., Gretchen Ruethling in Chicago and Nina Bernstein in New York.

Algeria: The Women Speak

Sisters and Brothers,

Algeria does not often make it into the news in the U.S.   Here's an item from Le Monde Diplomatique about women from across the political spectrum organizing together in Algeria. 

They are resisting a government proposal to issue in "peace and reconciliation" by consecrating "impunity for crimes under international law and other human rights abuses, and even muzzle open debate by criminalising public discussion about the decade-long conflict” in Algeria (quote from Amnesty International).

May we reach out for role models & inspiration
from women the world over,


p.s. Please, if you find stories of nonviolence that are inspiring, send them my way!
p.p.s You can find a pic of one the main women mentioned here: Cherifa Keddar (scroll down to find her).  I haven't been able to find pics of Nacera Dutour or Akila Ouared.


The article in full can be found at

Truth and justice after a brutal civil war
Algeria: the women speak

The 200,000 dead and 8,000 disappeared of Algeria’s long civil war were almost all men. They left behind a generation of women from different backgrounds and political opinions who have come together in opposition to the president’s charter for peace and reconciliation.

By Wendy Kristianasen

There was an unusual event in Algiers on 24 February, when six associations working for the victims of Algeria’s long and brutal civil war held a joint press conference to reject the new charter for peace and national reconciliation approved three days earlier by the government. The charter, decreed on 15 August 2005 by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to “close the chapter”, as he put it, on Algeria’s violent past, won 98% of the vote in a referendum on 29 September. This was based on a simple proposition: were people for or against peace?

Despite the size of the vote, opposition to the charter is fierce among rights activists and has brought together old enemies. Chérifa Kheddar is the head of Djazaïrouna, an association of victims of terrorism. Nacéra Dutour leads an association that works for those who disappeared at the hands of the state or its agents. She said that Bouteflika, in promising peace to the Algerians, had “ended the dreams of truth and justice for thousands of families of the disappeared”.

As international rights groups observed on 1 March, the new law, which will grant amnesty to state-armed militias and members of armed groups who surrender, would “consecrate impunity for crimes under international law and other human rights abuses, and even muzzle open debate by criminalising public discussion about the decade-long conflict” (1). A referendum could not “be the means by which a government evades its international obligations”.

Although they would scarcely have spoken to each other before last summer, Kheddar and Dutour have come together because they feel that Algeria cannot move on without truth and justice. Algeria’s society was torn apart in 1992 when those in power cancelled an electoral process that the Islamist Front Islamique de Salut seemed likely to win; this triggered a violent civil war in which 200,000 people died, and provoked the rise of shadowy, extremist militias such as the Groupes Islamistes Armées. A chasm now separates the disappeared (presumed terrorists) from the victims of armed Islamist groups. For most Algerians, including moderate Islamists, the conflict was not a civil war, which is an idea too painful to articulate, but le terrorisme: armed insurgents against the state and those that the state had armed for self-defence.

Kheddar and Dutour’s backgrounds are similar. Both worked with women’s associations. Dutour said: “In 1986 I left to live in France. I was divorced and couldn’t bring my three sons with me. One day, 30 January 1997, I got a phone call: Amin, my middle son, had disappeared. Numb with shock, I went to Algeria to look for him. He had been living with my mother at Baraki. There had been an attack on the visiting prefect of Algiers; the army were called in and there were mass arrests. My son wasn’t interested in politics; he didn’t have a job and was trying to become a taxi driver. He wasn’t an Islamist. He wasn’t even observant. The only thing he did was fast during Ramadan. That was what he was doing when they arrested him.

“At the local police station they told me: ‘Of course we torture people: they always have something to confess. You’re all terrorists. You gave birth to terrorists. So everything that’s happening is normal.’ After that I got tips about where they had moved him, but they led nowhere: people were too frightened to tell. The last I heard of him was in 2000.” Did she think he was still alive? Her eyes blazed: “Of course he is. I feel him. He will come back.”

Dutour tried to organise other mothers but there was too much fear. “So I came back to Paris and set up the Collectif des Familles de Disparus en Algérie, working with French and international rights groups. Now that people are less frightened, I’ve been able to set up committees inside Algeria.”

At the rundown office of SOS Disparus in downtown Algiers, funded by Dutour and presided over by her mother, Fatima Yous, the corridor was packed with veiled women (two in black robes and niqabs), there to report or follow up family cases: the security forces or the police are thought to have abducted 8,000 people. Yous said: “The victims always know who’s kidnapped them, even their names. But after that the trail goes cold.” Since 1998, SOS Disparus has been organising demonstrations every Wednesday in front of the parliament building.

Of the victims’ associations at the February press conference, five are headed by women (2). That is unsurprising since Algeria’s women were crucial to the war of independence against the French, then in the violence of the 1990s. As fathers, husbands and sons were arrested or killed, they became heads of households. They were also raped and tortured. As Akila Ouared, militant feminist and one of the original moudjahidates, said:“We women were always there at the helm.”

She was an agent for the Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) in France, tasked with giving money to the families of militants. “I inhabited secret, separate worlds. By day I was Jacqueline, working for the French (something I did not tell the Algerians). In the evenings or at lunch breaks, I would slip away to meet a fictitious fiancé. In July 1962, after the ceasefire, we created a first women’s association. I came back to Algeria and remained an activist with the FLN until 1965. I saw myself as an average Algerian engaged in a just cause. Now I call myself a feminist: not one who hates men but who simply wants equality between the genders.” She blames the FLN: “It was a front for independence; after that was gained, it should have opened the political field to others. It was responsible for introducing the family code in 1984. Two hundred moudjahidates sat down in the street to protest.” Ouared, 69, is still fighting that battle.

You can read the rest of this story at

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ministering to a Broken World

Dear sisters and brothers,

Here is a reflection from a Kenyan Quaker, Margaret Makhoka, who is a faculty member at Friends Theological College in Kaimosi, Kenya.  I was especially drawn to the queries/ questions for reflection in the second half of the article.

May it somehow bless you as you begin the week!

For the revolution of love, grace, and justice,

Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace


Friends United Meeting
101 Quaker Hill Drive
Richmond IN 47374-1980
Phone (765) 962-7573
Fax (765) 966-1293

Quaker Life
June 2005

Ministering to a Broken World

By Margaret Makokha

Jesus began his ministry with these first words: “The time has come,” he said, “the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.” (Mark 1:15)

Underline the phrase “kingdom of God.” In the Sermon on the Mount, the Kingdom is a life of goodness; Jesus tells us that hatred is the same as murder, and lust as adultery to God; that divorce is not the way of life; that forgiveness will be the way of life even when wronged; that love, even love for enemies will be the supreme mark of Jesus’ disciple, because God is Love. Disciples should live a life of generosity, modesty and prayer, not show off or hoard money but give much of it away, for the real investment is in heaven, be totally single-hearted and have a life marked by peace.

After all, God looks after the flowers and the grass and the birds. Can he not be trusted to look after us? What then is the point of worrying? Or of amassing great wealth or fine clothes? That is the way of the secular society. But his disciples should “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

In this kingdom you have to ask, to seek, to knock. You have to enter through a narrow gate. You have to build your very life on the rock, Jesus. This is amazing, yet it is the reality of the kingdom. These ideas attracted many people to Jesus.

Then Jesus told us that our eternal destiny hung on our decision. He made it clear that you could be either safe with God or lost without him. You could either build on the rock Jesus or on the sand of anything else, and that sand would prove no adequate foundation in time of flood.

You could be a sheep in his flock if you are willing, or you could remain a goat outside. You could accept his invitation to the wedding feast, or you could stay outside in the dark. Jesus did not only talk about the kingdom of God, He also did something about it. He did not come simply to proclaim the kingly rule of God but to bring it to bear directly on our everyday life.

While outlining his ministerial goals, Jesus told people he had come to bring healing to our broken world. He had come to bring salvation, God’s wholeness and rescue at every level of our need. How did he do that? The kingdom was characterized by action. He healed many with diseases ­ the leper, the blind, the deaf. He raised the dead, drove out evil spirits and fed the hungry. His salvation was not only from physical and demonic ills, but he also rescued people from sin.

In the kingdom, Old Testament prophecies will be fulfilled. There will be a new heaven and a new earth, where peace and justice will rule. The day will come when the dead and the living will be judged and their final destiny determined. The day will come when God’s kingdom will come to its complete fulfillment. But that day is not yet.

Is the incarnation and the ministry of Jesus significant in this 21st century? Despite scientific and technological advances, human nature has not changed and society is not so different from that in Jesus’ day.

In our world today, we see violence and hatred, cruelty and lust, starvation and greed, corruption and strife, disease and accidents (to name but a few). These things are at familial, national and international levels. Humans wonder how they can survive with such threats.

When the human heart cries out for love and forgiveness, for meaning and reconciliation, for peace and hope, these are the very issues Jesus addressed. Friends maintain Jesus continues to address them today. For disciples to be true disciples, they should pursue the values of the kingdom that make for peace, justice, truth, reconciliation, righteousness, freedom, hope and love.

Jesus focused on the poor, the prisoners, the blind and the oppressed. Then in a wonderful parable of the sheep and goats, we are told that when Jesus Christ comes back, he will hold a final judgment. The judgment is likened to a shepherd separating sheep from goats with each designated to its right place. The sheep represent the righteous and blessed while the goats represent the unrighteous and cursed. (Matthew 25:31-46)

The judge will judge us by our reactions to the needs of the poor and needy (the hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, and prisoners). Jesus calls them “the least brothers of mine.” The result will be that people will be surprised in two ways. First, those who offered help didn’t think they were helping Christ. Their helping was natural and instinctive, flowing out of a loving and generous heart. After all, life in the kingdom was to be characterized by love and generosity (a cheerful sharing of our possessions with believers). And secondly, those who failed to help didn’t know they failed to help Christ. They thought they just failed to help some common people. The questions that come to my mind when I think about the life and ministry of Jesus are so many, such as:

1. Do we need training to do such simple things as feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, cheering the sick, visiting the prisoners or clothing the naked?
2. Do we need the special gift of hospitality or helps for us to minister those in need? One of my teachers said she does not have a gift of hospitality, but what does Jesus say?
3. As individual members of the body of Christ, can our participation in ministry be a blessing to an aching world?
4. How often do we preach or teach about the necessity of helping the needy? Or do we take most of the time preaching and teaching about tithes and offerings?
5. How can we be channels through which hope can be restored to the hopeless?

6. What is our role as a chosen generation in the transformation of the society in which we live?
7. Are there ways we can express our commitment and desire to participate together with God in the ministry of restoring hope and comfort to the “least of these?”
8. Why is it becoming so hard for us to minister to the needs of our brothers and sisters? Is it greed, selfishness or waste?
9. Must we have ten “gorogoros” (20 kg) of maize for us to give the hungry in Kenya today, when more than 20 districts are faced with starvation because of rain failure? Should we strictly embrace the idea that when we have excess, that is when we give?
10. Do we fear to visit hospitals and homes where sick people are? Is there fear we will contract the diseases?
11. Why do we fear welcoming strangers in our homes? Do we fear that they could be con men and women or do we strictly hold that we don’t know them, they didn’t inform us they are coming and we’ve not even budgeted for them? Should we practice hospitality only to friends and relatives?
12. Do we need to have two suitcases of clothes in order for us to clothe a naked child in an orphanage, or are we guided by our customs and beliefs?
13. Do we fear the cost of making a phone call to a weak individual?

May God teach us to be sensitive to the hurts of others and teach us to internalize the hurt, pain and grief of others so we may be transformed. May we always crave for justice and peace in our society, although ours is a “culture of hopelessness” ­ of abject poverty, unemployment, marginalization, homelessness, massive public suffering, the cry of abandonment and loneliness.

May we help others experience the Gospel as the good news of the kingdom of God. Let us delight in Jesus, who is our perfect model, by pursuing the values of the kingdom that make for peace, justice, truth, reconciliation, righteousness, freedom, hope and love.

Margaret Makokha is a faculty member at Friends Theological College in Kaimosi, Kenya.
From Quaker Life, June 2005