Micah was a peasant farmer born in Moresheth, a quiet village located in Judah, southwest of Jerusalem; This peasant farmer prophesied against greed and cruelty that abounded in his time.
In Micah’s time people were selfish and opportunistic and therefore justice was mismanaged, always seeking self-benefit over truth.
Micah’s strongest words were against the corruption that permeated all areas of society, a society in which those who had power took advantage of it ignoring the call of God to act with justice. Of course in that historical context poor people were not only the result of an unequal society, but also their poverty resulting from corrupt laws and judicial processes that favored only the owners of power.
Late February, 2015. I’ve been traveling for about a week along the border between Mexico and the United States, territory of the Tohono O’odham Nation, with a Christian Peacemaker Teams delegation. We’ve been learning about the impact of border militarization on local communities, the dangers of remote desert crossings, the sweeping impact of United States policies that have decimated small farmers in Central America, then restricted and punished people who try to move north for survival. Near the end of our trip, we visit a courthouse in Tucson, Arizona, where a program called “Operation Streamline” attempts to expand the court’s capacity for processing immigration cases.
A man from Las Pavas collects firewood for community members who take nightly shifts to guard their crops from attacks by palm oil company, Aportes San Isidro’s private security.
There is nothing more liberating than saying I love God, because by God’s love I am able to understand the struggles of my sisters and brothers, through God’s love it is possible to understand that my commitment as a Christian is to transform the world into a more just place where all can have a place in which to live, a just world for me, for you, for us, for all.
On Monday, September 26, 2016, I flew from Canada back to Colombia more excited than usual. After four years of negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia had finally reached a deal, which they would officially ratify that very day.
As I began boarding the plane I saw a cameraman from the CBC news, and my heart fluttered with expectation. Upon landing in Bogotá, I could feel the energy buzzing through the exceptionally long line at customs. I quickly ran downtown to catch the festivities in the main square. Although the official signing was taking place in Cartagena, a historic walled city on the Caribbean coast where Colombia gained its independence, there were tens of thousands of people gathered in the capital to watch the live feed on big screens set up in the square.
Over Easter break, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) organized a national delegation for Colombians to travel to the northeastern region of the department of Antioquia. The delegation was organized by CPT and by a grassroots organization under the acronym of CAHUCOPANA (Corporation for Humanitarian Action for Peace and Coexistence in Northeastern Antioquia). These two organizations seek to raise awareness about the realities of the armed conflict as well as to defend the human rights of communities who live in the armed conflict zone.
As members of the delegation, we represented the cities of Bogota, Ibague, and Cali.
There is nothing so beautiful than seeing the fruits of the land, planted by farmer’s hands which will soon make it to our table.
The universe, pachamama (Mother Earth), the green earth calls to us shouting for her protection and care. Some of us defend her; we protect and we protest alongside her, telling the world that we must love and take care of her. It is important to highlight the work of our farmers, men and women who till this land, who take care of her as if she were one of their children and develop a special connection with her, she who feels and breathes like any one of us.
15 This is what the Lord says:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
mourning and great weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
16 This is what the Lord says:
“Restrain your voice from weeping
and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded,”
declares the Lord.
“They will return from the land of the enemy.
17 So there is hope for your descendants,”
declares the Lord.
“Your children will return to their own land.
Jeremiah 31:15-17The International Ecumenical Encounter for Peace in Colombia held April 8th, 2015 drew 70 plus women and men from around the world to discuss ways the church can build peace in the face of the ongoing war in Colombia.
It is not the same thing, having land and a safe place to live, and being forced to flee to a dirty and dangerous city–a place you did not choose.
How can a campesino continue to be a campesino far from her or his land? How can one still be a farmer amidst the pain and anguish of a city? How can one be a campesino among paramilitaries, guerrillas and the army?
In Micoahumado (a small town located in the southern Bolivar province) we witness a reality very different from the official one. The government portrays the campesinos as guerrilla members.
Agroup of 13 women from different Christian churches and organizations working in human rights and peacebuilding in Colombia joined a Christian Peacemaker Teams’ (CPT) delegation during Easter Week of 2015. This delegation focused on the accompaniment of the campesino community of El Guayabo, part of the municipality of Puerto Wilches, Santander, Colombia.
This community is comprised of approximately 250 families who have lived in the region on the banks of the Magdalena River for more than 28 years. Since 2002 they have struggled for their right to remain in the territory, resisting unlawful eviction on the part of the national police and military forces who have conspired and aligned themselves with a man who declared himself owner and inheritor of these lands, without ever having lived there.