[saymaListserv] "The Children of God will not Go to War"

Quakerkristi at aol.com Quakerkristi at aol.com
Fri Aug 4 17:30:55 JEST 2006


I've been keeping up with some of CPT's work since Tom Fox..... 
If you've never seen their website (www.cpt.org) it is rich with current 
efforts for peace.  One current effort is with Native Americans in S. Dakota.  The 
story below is another example...which holds up the hard work in Columbia.  
It is only about a page long, but I liked it's appreciation of small but 
meaningful efforts- especially hopeful ones. 
....Kristi 
CPTnet 
2 August 2006 
COLOMBIA REFLECTION: The children of God will not go to war 
by Erik Turnberg 

I write from my bedside in Colombia, where two days ago I met my Christian 
Peacemaker Team (CPT) delegation and we began our work here. Twelve hours a 
day we learn about this country's conflicts, the history of violence, the 
lives destroyed, and we pray. I listened to a brave man, a husband and 
father, forced to tears by recounting his story and his feelings of 
helplessness. Again and again, I hear people say that Colombia is 
"complicada," and indeed this is a very complicated place. 

Colombia is rich in resources--oil, natural gas, coal, and gold among them. 
It is not all cocaine and the worst conflict doesn't seem to be about 
narcotrafficking--that is just another layer of complication. It has a long 
history of Spanish colonizers, the Colombian elite and multinational 
corporations oppressing poor people and forcing them off their land. 

Layers of complication have left the country in war for forty years between 
guerrillas, the military, and, since the 1980s, paramilitaries. The hardest 
hit are the poorest. Sixty percent live on less than $2 a day; three 
million have been displaced, forced from their land by death threats. I 
think I am not alone among our delegation members in wondering if our 
presence is going to change anything, if there is any justice in sight, or 
any hope for peace. 

Today I witnessed a small vision of hope. It is Colombian Independence Day, 
which is marked in Bogotá by a grand military parade. Our team was 
invited to participate in a counter parade, organized by conscientious 
objectors, that would follow the military, cleaning the streets of the death 
left in their footsteps. 

We followed in the wake of this parade bringing song and dance, street 
theater, signs and brooms sweeping the streets clean of violence. The group 
we were with chanted loudly "Los Jóvenes de Jehovah, no van a la Guerra!" 
("The children of God will not go to war!") There are a growing number of 
Colombians standing up against great odds, and great personal threat, to 
struggle for a nonviolent and just peace. 

>From organizers of this action we heard two things when they thanked us for 
our presence. First, by having North Americans there, the credibility of 
the message increased. Second, on the radio organizers heard police 
communicating about breaking up the demonstration, but they dispersed and 
the march moved on. The organizers felt that the police did not act because 
of our presence with cameras. Both small statements represent a powerful 
reality. We can help those who put themselves at great risk by calling for 
justice and an end to violence in Colombia. We can call attention to what 
is happening and refuse to allow past atrocities from being forgotten. We 
can speak out against government and corporate policies that lend support 
for violence, war and oppression, so that none of God's people will have to 
go to war. 

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