A blog by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration about justice and peace issues

Posts tagged ‘Franciscan Sisters’

Xe/Blackwater and a $1 billion Pentagon contract

Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater, is poised to get a $1 billion contract from the State Department to train the Afghan National  Police despite their dismal failure training the Afghan Border Police. The Border Police are one of the most corrupt entities of the Afghan security forces. They are renowned for their involvement in bribes, drug trade, arms trafficking and unnecessary use of force with civilians.

Deep concerns have been raised that these behaviors are part and parcel of the training provided by Xe/Blackwater. This is not too hard to believe when you follow the trail of Xe/Blackwater training.

Xe has trained police and security forces in Mexico, Colombia and Iraq – all three have significant records of human rights violations. More than one source, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (when she was a Senator) have expressed concern over outcomes from engaging Xe.

“These private security contractors have been reckless and have compromised our mission in Iraq. The time to show these contractors the door is long over due.”  Senator Hillary Clinton (Press Release Feb 28, 2009)

Former Senator Clinton even went so far as to co-sponsor a bill that would have removed private contractors from Defense Spending (SOS – Stop Outsourcing our Security).

So why now would Secretary Clinton look to hand over a $1 billion contract? Let’s remind Secretary of State Clinton of her own previous wisdom. Contact Secretary Clinton and let her know you do not support any more contracting with Xe.

White House: 202-456-1111; State Department: 202-647-4000; U.S. Capitol: 202-224-3121.

And check out the link below for more information on what is happening with Xe training in Afghanistan…Peace Liz

http://rethinkafghanistan.com/blog/?p=1614

Circle of Life in Colombia

Dear All – It is very good to be back from my trip to Colombia. I visited with a community in Debeiba who was displaced in 1997 from their land and suffer ongoing human rights violations due to the presence in their community of Colombian military, paramiltary forces and guerillas. They shared their stories and dreams as we visited the land that had been stolen from them over ten years ago.

Also while I was in Colombia the announcement of a new military agreement between the U.S. and Colombia was announced. This agreement allows for increased access of U.S. soldiers to seven military bases as well as additional weapons, training and overall military aid. The people of Colombia are deeply concerned about this agreement and fear it will only serve to increase the level of violence within their own country.

I am including an action and a link. The action is to encourage your Reps to sign onto a “Dear Colleague” letter asking Secretary Hillary Clinton to reconsider this effort of the U.S. in Colombia.

The link is a brief video clip of me speaking with the Colombian press about the bases. The link is a little hard to hear because they are translating my English to Spanish, however the heart of what I said was no more military aid! Let us move toward humanitarian solutions that empower the people of Colombia and in particular the victims of the violence that exists there.

In Much Peace and Solidarity – Liz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJhQNQqqq3I

ACTION

Dear Friends,

As of Friday, Representatives McGovern, Schakowsky, Payne and Honda are circulating a letter throughout the halls of Congress addressed to Secretary of State Clinton with a clear message: let’s spend our taxpayer dollars on supporting victims of violence, not funding military abuses.

This letter is a chance to get Congress behind the changes we want to see and an opportunity for our government to stand by our brothers and sisters in Colombia. We need your support to give the letter the power it needs.

Take action today to ensure we get at least 70 representatives to sign on to it in the next two weeks, before it is sent out to Secretary Clinton. The letter makes a strong case for why there is no time to waste in changing our policies towards Colombia. It paints a vivid picture of the Colombian government’s failure to protect human rights, raising issues like the killing of civilians by the army, the persecution of human rights defenders, and the humanitarian crisis of over four million people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes. Echoing what we have been saying for a long time, it demands a cut in military aid and an increase in support for victims and those who are working for peace and justice in Colombia.

 It also calls for an end to harmful and ineffective aerial fumigations, suggesting that we invest instead in creating more drug treatment centers in the United States to do our part by decreasing the demand for illicit substances. Now is the time for faithful action for a sustainable peace in Colombia. Please help ensure that your congressional representative signs on. Call your Rep. today! If you don’t know who your representative is go to go to http://www.congress.org/ and type in your zip code to find out who your Rep is and get in touch.

 When you call, ask to speak to the foreign policy aide. If he or she is not available, leave a voicemail message. An example is provided below:

“I am a constituent calling to encourage Representative ____________ to sign on to the Dear Colleague letter written by Representatives McGovern, Schakowsky, Payne, and Honda, which calls for change in U.S. policy towards Colombia. This letter to Secretary of State Clinton asks that our government be honest about the human rights conditions in Colombia and make changes in the aid package.

The U.S. should stop spending taxpayer dollars on the military, which has been found to be killing innocent civilians and illegally wiretapping human rights defenders, journalists, and Supreme Court judges.Instead, we should be supporting refugees and displaced people, Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities, and small farmers who are trying to turn away from coca. And we also need to invest in drug treatment centers here at home.

I strongly urge Representative ______ to take a stand for human rights and sign on to this letter today. To get a copy of the letter and to sign on, please contact Cindy Buhl in Rep. McGovern’s office. Thank you.”

 

Heath care is a human right.

Dear All – I hope this finds you all well.

It is good to be back and I send many thank you’s to all those who sent wishes concerning my father’s passing. It was a great gift during that time so thank you.

Also while I was away some requests were made to have the blog include more FSPA stories – feel free to send your stories to me (eininn@gmail.com ) or Jane in communications (jcomeau@fspa.org) – our hope is to have the blog be a relection of the FSPA community and would love to hear from all FSPA member and affiliate readers!

I have just a simple action for all of you and a brief piece to read on health care. I am sure we are all sick of the debates and the drama surrounding this issue but it seems more important now than ever to be in touch with our congress people and encourage and even insist that the public option remain a piece of any legislation that is passed.

By public we mean an option that includes the poor and does not parade itself as public but has a price tag that denies accessibility.  By public we mean a democratic solution within a democratic republic that tends to all of its citizens not just those obsessed with false notions of socialism. By public we mean a plan that treats heath care as a service and a right not investment package with options ranging from broken roller skates to Cadillac.

Talk to your Reps and Senators and encourage them to support legislation that takes into account both reforming the laws that give private companies options like “preexisting conditions” and includes a public option. Private insurance spokesman made the comment a few weeks ago that regardless of what Congress passes they plan to raise their rates by 111%.  If insurance companies can be so bold in their messaging let us be bold too! Peace Liz

Health Care for All

Monday 26 October 2009

by: t r u t h o u t | Staff Editorial

photo

Americans are mired in debate over which national health care reform plan would best serve their needs. On an individual level, Americans also face tough decisions on a regular basis when it comes to choosing private health insurance plans for themselves and their families.

We at Truthout don’t think health care should be so confusing. We believe it is a human right and should be available to everyone. We also believe the same level of care should be available across the board, regardless of ability to pay for treatment. What if the fire department decided to not send its newest equipment to a particular house because the homeowner didn’t have “Cadillac” insurance?

While we know that Anthony Weiner’s single payer bill (HR 676) will not pass this time around, we call on all members of Congress to support this approach since it is the only true solution to the health care crisis.

As the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) goes on estimating the percentages of Americans that will be covered by this bill or that bill, Weiner’s bill stands alone in its ethical simplicity: It will cover 100 percent of the people, no CBO guessing games needed.

For now, we call on Congress to pass a bill with a “robust public option.” We applaud the president and Congress for their consensus on key reforms, such as making it illegal to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions and capping out-of-pocket expenses. At the same time, we urge them to prevent the insurance industry from passing those costs on to us in the form of higher premiums and co-pays. Only competition from a strong public option will control skyrocketing health costs.

Congress members have centered the health reform debate on the question of whether a bill will add to the national debt, rather than whether it will provide affordable, top-quality health care to everyone. It is time to treat health care as a right of all people and not a commodity to be bought and sold.

The United States and the Wolf of Gubbio

Dear All – First a very Happy and Blessed Feast of St. Francis this weekend! May the memory of St. Francis infuse our world with the passion, creativity and vast love he lived so deeply.

I have copied below one of my favorite stories of St. Francis –St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio. I invite you as you read this familiar tale to picture the wolf as the United States and the village as one of the many communities that has had to survive our dominating presence.

Imagine the United States offering its “paw” as we promise the world to no longer terrorize but rather live in harmony.  St. Francis opened a new space when he chose to not encourage the villagers to kill the wolf; let us honor that creative action today as we work to open new spaces to transform the wolf, heal the village and trust in the faith that guides us.

At the end of the story is a great link from American Friends Service Committee which looks at our military spending and challenges us to imagine a world where 53% of our resources would not be going to war.

Happy Feast Day! Pace e Bene

Liz

St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio

At the time when St Francis was living in the city of Gubbio, a large wolf appeared in the neighbourhood, so terrible and so fierce, that he not only devoured other animals, but made a prey of men and women also; and since he often approached the town, all the people were in great alarm, and used to go about armed, as if going to battle. Notwithstanding these precautions, if any of the inhabitants ever met him alone, he was sure to be devoured, as all defence was useless: and, through fear of the wolf, they dared not go beyond the city walls.

St Francis, feeling great compassion for the people of Gubbio, resolved to go and meet the wolf, though all advised him not to do so. Putting all his confidence in God, he went forth from the city, taking his brethren with him; but these fearing to go any further, St Francis bent his steps alone toward the spot where the wolf was known to be, while many people followed at a distance, and witnessed the miracle.

The wolf, seeing all this multitude, ran towards St Francis with his jaws wide open. As he approached, the saint, cried out: “Brother Wolf; I command you, in the name of Christ, neither to harm me nor anybody else.”

Marvellous to tell, no sooner had St Francis cried out, than the terrible wolf, closing his jaws, stopped running, and coming up to St Francis, lay down at his feet as meekly as a lamb. And the saint thus addressed him: “Brother wolf, you have done much evil in this land, destroying and killing the creatures of God without God’s permission all creatures are made after the image of God; for which thing you could be hanged like a robber and a murderer. All of the people cry out against you, the dogs pursue you, and all the inhabitants of this city are your enemies; but I will make peace between them and you, O brother wolf, if you will no longer offend them, and they shall forgive you and all your past offences, then neither people nor dogs shall pursue you any more.”

Having listened to these words, the wolf bowed his head, and, by the movements of his body, his tail, and his eyes, made signs that he agreed to what St Francis said. On this St Francis added: “As you are willing to make this peace, I promise you that you shall be fed every day by the inhabitants of this land so long as you shalt live among them; you shalt no longer suffer hunger, as it is hunger which has made you do so much evil; but if I obtain all this for you, you must promise, on your side, never again to attack any animal or any human being; do you make this promise?”

Then the wolf, bowing his head, made a sign that he consented.

Said St Francis again: “Brother wolf, wilt you pledge your faith that I may trust you to keep this promise?” and putting out his hand he received the pledge of the wolf; for the latter lifted up his paw and placed it familiarly in the hand of St Francis, giving him thereby the only pledge which was in his power.

Now, the news of this most wonderful miracle spreading quickly through the town, all the inhabitants, both men and women, small and great, young and old, flocked to the market-place to see St Francis and the wolf.

St Francis spoke these words: “Listen my brethren: the wolf who is here before you has promised and pledged his faith that he consents to make peace with you all, and no more to offend you, and you must promise to give him each day his necessary food; to which, if you consent, I promise in his name that he will most faithfully observe the compact.”

Then all the people promised with one voice to feed the wolf to the end of his days.

Now this event caused great joy in all the people, and a great devotion towards St Francis, both because of the novelty of the miracle, and because of the peace which had been concluded with the wolf; and they lifted up their voices to heaven, praising and blessing God.

The wolf lived two years at Gubbio; he went familiarly from door to door without harming anyone, and all the people received him courteously, feeding him with great pleasure, and no dog barked at him as he went about.

At last, after two years, he died of old age, and the people of Gubbio mourned his loss greatly; for when they saw him going about so gently amongst them all, he reminded them of the virtue and sanctity of St Francis.

http://www.oneminuteforpeace.org/

“One nuclear weapon exploded in one city…”

“One nuclear weapon exploded in one city — be it New York or Moscow, Islamabad or Mumbai, Tokyo or Tel Aviv, Paris or Prague — could kill hundreds of thousands of people. And no matter where it happens, there is no end to what the consequences might be — for our global safety, our security, our society, our economy, to our ultimate survival.” President Obama

Dear All – I would like to share a link from Peace Action, a group that works to promote alternatives to military solutions. They are engaging a year long set of strategies around the reduction and ultimate removal of nuclear weapons.  One of their actions is to gather 100,000 signatures for a petition calling for a nuclear free world.

If you click on the link below it will take you to their home page – you can then click on the link entitled “Petition Obama” and join with thousands of others to ask President Obama to move toward complete disarmament. They have a lot of great information on their site so feel free to check it all out!

A unique moment came in last few days when the F-22 program was successfully cut from the defense budget.  It is the first time in a long time that the Pentagon was open and transparent about a military program being a waste of money and only being continued because miltary contractors profited.

While this offers a small success it does not address the broader concern that the United States is still putting the lion share of its resources toward military solutions and determent.

Join with Peace Action in taking the small opening created in public dialog by cutting the F-22’s and sign a petition to broaden what we acknowledge as a “waste”…Nuclear bombs powerful enough to destroy the whole planet would certainly qualify… Peace Liz

http://www.peace-action.org/

Seeking refuge…have you heard of Sheriff Joe Arpaio?

“Home for an immigrant is not a fixed and stable location, but a traveling adventure, which entails seeking refuge in a strange lands, bargaining for survival, and negotiating for existence…” Kwok Pui-Lan

Dear All – Blessings on this Holy Week as we reflect on the pieces of our shared oral and written tradition that tell the stories of the Passion and Resurrection. A story out of Phoenix, Arizona in the last few weeks recalls a part of our sacred story.

A group of migrants were paraded through downtown Phoenix by Sheriff Arpaio, dressed in striped uniforms, humiliated and mocked. I thought of Jesus tortured and mocked by his guards over two thousand years ago. Both suffered at the hands of those who could not see their full humanity, nor recognize their inherent dignity. I want to believe we will one day live in a world where we will not see the Passion reflected in the world around us.

I know that to reach that point we must work together. We must stand with those who are being made to walk the road to Calvary for no reason other than the abuse of power and the reach of ignorance and fear.

Click on the link below to send a letter to President Obama and Homeland Security asking for the dismissal of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Sheriff Arpaio is in charge in Phoenix and is abusing his power to enact cruel, degrading, racist, and extra legal measures against immigrants in the community.

Join with others to create what Sr. Ivone Gebara has named “little resurrections”…any actions that foster the beloved community. Much Peace Liz

OH! I had a question if the ringing of the bells for the Postville event is CST and the answer is yes! The ringing will begin at 10 a.m. CST.

http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/stop287g

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