Civilian protection requires simple, straightforward dialogue and negotiation with the people who can control whether other people are safe or not. It also works, say Tim Wallis of Nonviolent Peaceforce. As soon as we bring guns, tanks and air support into the picture, we are talking about something which more often than not does not work, and often makes things worse.
The Catholic Bishop of Brentwood, in his address for the Mass for Migrants on 2 May 2011 highlights the Christian contribution to campaigns for migration justice and a Living Wage, urging all people of good will to stand in solidarity with them.
In a culture seemingly dominated by royalist propaganda, particularly around the wedding of William and Kate, here are plenty of reasons to be republican, says Phil Wood; not all of them honourable. Some may be in danger of reinforcing what they oppose. But for Christians, the case for disestablishing the kingdom and the church derives from a higher level of subversion, and a vision of equity before monarchy which people from many backgrounds are seeking.
How should one respond to decades of subjugation, oppression, marginalisation, imprisonment, brutalisation, torture, rendition, murder and unenlightenment? Harry Hagopian examines the case of Syria, and finds complexity and long-term struggle, as well as immediate rebellion and repression, in the picture.
People in the Middle East and North Africa are struggling to change the lexicon of their erstwhile realities with a series of trial and error policies, says Harry Hagopian. But whether the uprisings go the bumpy way of the 1848 European revolutions, emulate the South African path of truth and reconciliation, follow the East European fast lane of 1989, or entrench the violence we have been witnessing lately, surely freedom cannot be snuffed out forever?
With Easter Sunday this year coinciding for the first time with the memorial day for the 1915 Armenian Genocide, Harry Hagopian explores a painful history and asks how, in the present and future, those who inherit the mantle of the victims can move forward to discover new life.
A new song was playing on Iraqi Kurdistan radio just before Easter, which included the lines, "Don't kill this generation" and "don't kill the future." Michele Naar-Obed from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) recounts part of the untold story of nonviolent action and brutal state violence in Suleimaniya and Kawler, the state capital.
If you're not convinced that Anzac Day in New Zealand bears the hallmarks of fundamentalist religious belief, try questioning anything about the state's most holy day and feel the vitriolic reaction, says Sande Ramage, exploring the myths around Easter and Anzac, which coincide in 2011.
Jim Hodgson is a journalist with extensive experience in Latin America and the Caribbean. Since 2000, he has worked with the United Church of Canada’s Caribbean and Latin America desk. Over the past 25 years he has written for a variety of church-based media and worked for extended periods in the Dominican Republic and in Mexico. He recently spoke at a seminar on Theology and Ecology held in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the end of March 2011.
Two of the worst atrocities of the 20th century started in the month of April, reports Mike O'Sullivan.The killing of 1.5 million Armenians in Ottoman Empire Turkey in 1915 and 1916, and the slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda in 1994.
Is the Jerusalem that we all claim to love not bigger than ego-politics, self-interest or self-aggrandisement, asks Ekklesia associate and regional expert Dr Harry Hagopian, surveying the fate of the city. We are all held hostage to ego-politics that negate win-win solutions. Yet, such win-win solutions alone can resolve this conflict. Walls or fences cannot protect a whole people. Nor can military might, religious radicalism and extremism. What is critical is the elusive good will that facilitates peace.
The belief that violence “saves” is so successful because it doesn’t seem to be mythic in the least. Violence simply appears to be the nature of things. It’s what works. It seems inevitable, the last and, often, the first resort in conflicts, says the late Professor Walter Wink. If a god is what you turn to when all else fails, violence certainly functions as a god. What people overlook, then, is the religious character of violence. It demands from its devotees an absolute obedience-unto-death. It requires a theological critique.