Confronting U.S. Warring Madness

CPT IK

Rebekah, Runak, Kamaran (foreground left to right), and I hiked to a cave and waterfall. PC: Weldon Nisly                  

An excerpt from the monthly update of Weldon Nisly, a retired Mennonite pastor and part-time member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams Iraqi Kurdistan (CPT IK) delegation. 

A few years ago, after 25 years as a human rights and women’s rights activist, Gulistan Saeed decided to seek change within the political system. Elected as a Member of Parliament of the KRG, she was granted her request to serve on the human rights committee.

Gulistan welcomed the CPT IK team to the KRG Parliament and listened as we shared the Deraluk families’ sorrow and request for assistance. She promised to take their case to her committee and to an independent Kurdish human rights committee to help the families find their missing loved ones. She also expressed eagerness to work with CPT on future human rights cases and encouraged CPT to bring these Deraluk families to Erbil to meet with other Members of Parliament. She recommended that CPT and the families have a press conference to help the people of Iraqi Kurdistan and the world hear the traumatic impact of Turkey’s cross border bombing of civilians. Continue reading

The Powers of Death and Life, Lies and Truth

KurdistanFrom Weldon Nisly, retired pastor and half-time Christian Peacemaker Teams member serving five months per year in Iraqi Kurdistan (photo right) serving. This is an excerpt from his Holy Week update on the ground in Kurdistan. 

On this Holy Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, we live liturgically between the powers of death and the powers of life. All of us choose daily whether we worship death or life and are committed to lies or truth.

Recently CPT encountered someone who knows the cost of choosing life and truth confronting militarized political powers. Independent Kurdish journalist Mohammed (name changed to protect identity) told the CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team of his refusal to promise to stop seeking and speaking truth about the powers of death. “I am a journalist,” Mohammed simply and firmly declared to us. His commitment was not a theoretical stance. He had recently been arrested, imprisoned, and tortured for more than 40 days and his family was threatened by the powers of death who accused him of inciting opposition to the ruling political party leader. Continue reading

The Malady of Militarism

Weldon

Rev. Weldon Nisly, arrested a few years ago at a nonviolent protest on Good Friday in Seattle, WA

By Weldon Nisly, originally posted in Hospitality (April 2017), the newsletter of Atlanta’s Open Door Community

Militarism is “a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit” revealing “America is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” With this prophetic proclamation a half century ago, Martin Luther King, Jr., named the sin-sickness of America’s warring violence. Dr. King was preaching to America from the Riverside Church pulpit in New York on April 4, 1967.

On that consequential night fifty years ago, Dr. King declared, “A time comes when silence is betrayal,” and boldly revealed the interconnected violence of America’s “giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism.” His sermon forever connected civil rights, poverty, and war arising from a malady deep within the American soul and psyche. Continue reading