Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Robber Needed a Hug

Thanks for list member Paul Cesare for sharing this story!

On Earth Peace

Robber needed a hug
Posted on Fri, Jul. 13, 2007


WASHINGTON | Police on Capitol Hill are baffled by an attempted robbery that began with a handgun put to the head of a 14-year-old girl and ended in a group hug.

It started about midnight June 16 when a group of friends was finishing dinner on the patio of a District of Columbia home. A hooded man slid through an open gate and pointed a handgun at the girl�s head.

�Give me your money, or I�ll start shooting,� he said, the witnesses told The Washington Post.

Everyone froze, but then one guest spoke up. �We were just finishing dinner,� Cristina Rowan, 43, told the man. �Why don�t you have a glass of wine with us?�

The would-be robber took a sip and a bite of Camembert cheese, put the gun in his sweatpants, and apologized.

�I think I may have come to the wrong house,� he said. �Can I get a hug?�

Rowan stood up and wrapped her arms around the man, and the four other guests followed. The man walked away a few moments later with the crystal wine glass in hand.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Landmine use down due to stigma


Here's an article on the decrease in landmine usage in the last few years. 

The authors wonder about the iconic impact of Princess Di's opposition to their use. 

I also reflect on the careful and widespread mobilizing that was spurred, for instance, by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which, together with landmine campaigner Jody Williams, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 (read her acceptance lecture here: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1997/williams-lecture.html).

What is your philosophy or theology of social change?  Is it due to iconic figures, a product of organizing, a result of the movement of God's spirit?  Some combination thereof? 

Understanding HOW we believe change will come
can help empower us to make our work even more powerful.


Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace

Landmine use down over stigma


LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Ten years after the death of Princess Diana and the first global treaty against antipersonnel landmines, experts say only a handful of rebel groups and perhaps one state dare use what has become a pariah weapon.

Hard to detect, difficult to clear and often designed to maim rather than kill, antipersonnel mines can linger in the soil for decades. Activists estimate mines still kill or injure perhaps 15,000 to 20,000 people a year -- mainly civilians in countries now at peace.

Landmine clearance agencies say it will likely take another decade to clear probably the world's two most affected countries -- Angola in southern Africa and Cambodia in Southeast Asia -- both the scene of long-running but now ended civil wars. Ongoing conflicts delay clearance in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

But fewer are now being laid and many activists have moved on to a campaign against cluster munitions in the aftermath of last year's Lebanon war, which left much of the country's south seeded with small unexploded bomblets.

"There is a global stigma attached to landmines now," said Paul Hannon, executive director of pressure group Mines Action Canada.

"The supply of mines is drying up. I wouldn't say we have won the war but we have won the battles so far. We have to stop people slipping back and we have to get the mines out of the ground."

Activists say global opinion was already turning against antipersonnel mines even before Diana, Princess of Wales, began using her fame to draw attention to the issue. But they say her campaigning sped up the process.

Diana joined a British Red Cross campaign against landmines in 1997 and before she died visited Angola and Bosnia with landmine charities.

"I don't know whether individuals change history that much or whether landmines had simply had their day," said Simon Conway, director of British-based group Landmine Action. "But everyone remembers those pictures of Diana in the minefields and when it is someone as iconic as that it makes a difference."

Campaigners say the focus on the issue at the time of Diana's death in a Paris car crash in August 1997 almost certainly boosted the number of countries that signed the Ottawa treaty banning antipersonnel mines a month later.

Eighty percent of countries have now signed.

Non-Ottawa signatories the United States, China and Russia continue to hold millions of antipersonnel mines between them -- but now seem not to use them.

Click here to read the remainder of this story:

SUSIYA (SOUTH HEBRON HILLS): Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals show solidarity with Susiya village

Dear sisters and brothers,

Here is an encouraging story of solidarity in the midst of imminent destruction.  Where is solidarity needed in your own community or region?  How are you already providing it?  What might it look like for you to take a next step in solidarity with the threatened or the oppressed close to where you live?

May God grant us courage. 

1 Corinthians 16:13: "
Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. "


Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace

14 July 2007
SUSIYA (SOUTH HEBRON HILLS): Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals show solidarity with Susiya village
by Matthew Chandler

Over 150 Palestinians, Israelis and internationals gathered Saturday, 7 July 2007 to support the people of Susiya, a small Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills that faces expulsion and destruction by the Israeli.  (See 21 June 2007 CPTnet release, "SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Palestinians from Susiya face threat of eviction for fifth time.") The event was a follow-up to a small informational tour the previous Saturday.

The group heard a series of representatives from Susiya and the surrounding Palestinian villages share their struggle to survive in the face of constant harassment, abuse and land confiscation from the Israeli forces and settlers who surround them.  A visitor from Beit Ummar summarized the sense of frustration among the group: "We cannot speak of the High Court of Justice" (referring to the Israeli judiciary that dismissed Susiya's appeal to prevent demolition.) "It is the High Court of Injustice." A representative from Ta'ayush, an Israeli peace organization, also spoke about his group's efforts to achieve justice in the region.  "We thank the people of Susiya for their hospitality and their steadfast courage," he said, "They are doing this for all of us, and it is our privilege to be part of this struggle."

The day's activities culminated with a walking tour around the Palestinians' homes and farmlands, again hearing the stories of demolition and harassment at each stop.  Palestinians and Israelis sang and chanted together, saying, "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies," and, "From Susiya to Beirut, the people live and will not die." Members of the Israeli-Palestinian organization Combatants for Peace carried a banner reading, "This is not about security.  This is about outright theft!"

Dozens of Israeli soldiers and police officers confronted the group when the tour entered the closed military zone near Susya settlement, the primary source of harassment for Palestinians in the area.  All parties remained calm, however, and no injuries or arrests occurred.

Several residents of Susiya reported to CPT and Operation Dove that they were encouraged to know they were not alone.  Local and international journalists covered the event, stressing the Israeli government's public relations regarding policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  Villagers still do not know what the outcome of the decision of the Israeli Civil Administration will be for the fate of their village.  A political concession is the last hope the residents of Susiya have for preventing their imminent eviction.

Monday, July 09, 2007

BORDERLANDS REFLECTION: Liberty... for whom?

Dear friends,

Here is a reflection originating from the ongoing Christian Peacemaker Teams witness along the border between the US & Mexico. 

Please pray for all those touched by border enforcement, including officials, immigrants, and accompaniers.  It is well to remember how Jesus dealt with borders -- crossing them, seeking and offering healing and relationship.


Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace

7 July 2007
BORDERLANDS REFLECTION: Liberty...  for whom?
[Note: People wishing to follow the progress of Christian Peacemaker Team's Borderland's Witness drive may do so at <http://cptborderlandswitness.blogspot.com/>] 

"Y cuando digo: ¡libertad!  me dicen: ¡muere!" ("And when I say liberty, they say to me, death.")--Otto Rene Castillo

The border city of El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua awoke on U.S.  Independence Day to headlines in the newspapers announcing the shooting of a migrant by a Border Patrol agent.  This incident was the second Border Patrol shooting of an undocumented person in as many weeks, and the fourth this year in El Paso.  The shooting has increased fear and anxiety among many in this majority Latino community.

Earlier this week, at Annunciation House, a shelter for migrants and refugees on the fringes of El Paso's El Segundo Barrio, two Border Patrol agents attempted to enter the facility to apprehend a migrant whose employer had just dropped him off.  The Border Patrol is a regular presence in this old Latino neighborhood between El Paso's downtown and the bridges over the Rio Grande to Juarez.  Guests of Annunciation House might be detained anywhere outside the house, but inside they find a sanctuary usually respected by the Border Patrol.  On this particular night, Annunciation House staff successfully and non-violently resisted the agents' pursuit.  However, the Border Patrol did detain another guest of the shelter who was leaving the building.  He will be deported.

Many of the residents of this part of the border feel they live in one city, not two.  Most families in El Paso, 80% of whose population is of Hispanic or Latino origin, have close ties that reach across to Juarez.  Ten percent of the students at the University of El Paso come over the border from Mexico every day to attend classes.  For these people, the border is a place where people come together, rather than something to keep people apart.

This border and the way we police it says much more about our concept of liberty than it does about the people from the South who seek a better livelihood here.  This latest shooting in El Paso, alongside the mounting deaths in the desert in Arizona, speaks louder than words.  It leaves us with questions: Liberty for whom?  Independence from what?  At what cost, and at whose expense?

To what kind of freedom did you wake up this morning?