Today's post consists of two links to stories about two crises in the world that aren't getting enough attention.
First is to a blogpost by an international accompanier in one of the Peace Communities in Colombia. The Peace Communities are small groups of people living in the rural mountains of Colombia and trying to carve out neutral non-violent space between the official military, para-military and rebel forces. They are ending up targets for everyone. It matters to me because I was an exchange student in Colombia 20 years ago. It also matters to me because members of my Meeting were also accompaniers in this same community about five years ago. It matters to me because people are dying there, and our government is funding part of the violence. This post is called One of Those Days
The second is a link to a NYT Online article about the refugee situation in Iraq. Or rather the desperate situation of the thousands of refugees fleeing Iraq. I got an email about this a few days ago, but I can't find it anymore. This article is called Refugees? What refugees?
I'm still wearing my black ribbon that I got at my Meeting's vigil for the Iraq Moratorium a couple weeks ago. It reminds me of all the women in mourning in and around Iraq (and Colombia) and every time I notice it, I try to take a few seconds to pray for peace in our world, for men and women to make their best choices, to be gentle and generous with each other, despite the suffering they endure.
***Sunday evening update: I received another email about the Iraq refugee situation, and how you can find out more about it. Then Noah Merrill (see below) came to my Meeting this morning. I'm going to the talk tomorrow at lunchtime. Here is the information:
NIGHTMARE BEYOND BORDERS: WHAT CAN WE DO TO STOP San Francisco, CA — By any measure, Iraq is a humanitarian catastrophe. The complex crises facing Iraq and the region are no longer limited by Iraq's borders, and continuing violence and instability daily seem to destroy the hopes for peace and security for the people of the region. Noah Baker Merrill has spent four of the last seven months living and working among Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Syria — conducting in-depth interviews, working to secure release for detainees, advocating for improvements of aid to Iraqi families, and consulting with Iraqi and other governmental and non-governmental organizations, including the UNHCR missions in Jordan, Syria, and Iraq. Merrill now coordinates the Direct Aid Initiative (DAI), a project of Electronic Iraq , a news and analysis web site providing crucial medical care to displaced Iraqis in the Middle East. Raed Jarrar is an Iraqi political analyst and consultant to AFSC currently based in Washington, D.C. After the U.S.-led invasion, Jarrar became the country director for CIVIC Worldwide, the only door-to-door casualty survey group in post-war Iraq. He then established Emaar, a grassroots organization that provided humanitarian and political aid to Iraqi internally displaced persons (IDPs). Emaar means “reconstruction” in Arabic. The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love
Building directly behind St. Ignatius Church
to overcome violence and injustice.