Wider View Archive

When good intentions go bad: U.S. dumping peanuts in Haiti

May 27, 2016 Charissa Zehr

By Charissa Zehr Just as many children in the U.S. enjoy eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, peanut butter is a regular nutritious snack for Haitian children and adults. Peanuts represent an important industry in Haiti, where nearly 150,000 farmers produce roughly 70,000 metric tons of peanuts annually. A thriving peanut processing sector employs an estimated 500,000 Haitians, most of them women. In recent years, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has supported a range of projects to increase food production and market access in Haiti, including the cultivation of peanuts. So when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) […]

Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral hope

May 13, 2016 Charles Kwuelum

By Charles Kwuelum When Laurent Kabila was installed as president of Zaire in 1997, he changed its name to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After he was assassinated by one of his body guards in 2001, his son Joseph Kabila succeeded him 10 days later. At the time that Joseph Kabila became president, there were lingering historical challenges related to rebel and ethnic violence that the Lusaka ceasefire agreement had attempted to address in 1999. A United Nations peacekeeping mission was formed in 2000 to monitor the ceasefire. Following years of economic and political decline, the war of 1998-2002 […]

Locking up children is not the solution

April 29, 2016 Joshua Russell

The United States has become infamous for having the largest prison population in the world. Our “justice” system is, in reality, unjust. Many of these injustices start with how young people are treated. Crimes committed by juveniles are overwhelmingly non-violent, and overall juvenile crime has actually declined over the past decade. Despite this, our country continues to operate a system that too often treats children as adults, and imprisons far too many children overall. Roughly 500,000 juveniles enter or are a part of the criminal justice system each year, and 200,000 will enter the adult system. On any given day, […]

Unlearning the Doctrine of Discovery

April 27, 2016 Thirdway

By Rick Cober Bauman, executive director of MCC Ontario “The church is the chaplain of empire.” These words came from Adrian Jacobs, a Haudenosaunee pastor and Circle Keeper, and a former colleague in MCC Ontario. He was a presenter at a MCC Canada workshop on the Doctrine of Discovery, April 5-7, in Winnipeg. He credited the statement to someone else, but he went on to give ample evidence of its truth. The Doctrine of Discovery (DoD), Jacobs and other Indigenous speakers informed us, is that legal framework and deeply held belief that European explorers and expansionists assumed sovereignty over the lands — as well as […]

Climate change and faith: A Christian imperative

April 15, 2016 Thirdway

By Elizabeth Vincent, Domestic Policy Intern, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office The Conference of Parties (COP) climate change talks in Paris last year posed several potent questions about a general human response to climate change and a specific response from faith communities. How, as faith communities, can we draw from our ethical underpinnings to address our dependence on fossil fuels and the hidden price tag of emissions and global warming? Considering that many attempts within our political system to address climate change are faced with gridlock, we cannot underestimate the importance of faith communities – and interfaith collaboration – […]

Sacred space, sacred journey

April 1, 2016 Thirdway

By Monica Scheifele, Program assistant, MCC Ottawa Office Upon entering, I was asked to remove my shoes, as I was now walking on sacred ground. I had gone to Carleton University’s Art Gallery to see a commemorative art installation meant to draw attention to the thousands of cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and the injustice of residential schools. Entitled “Walking with Our Sisters,” I quickly realized this exhibit was something to be experienced, rather than simply seen. As the title suggested, I was invited on a journey to recognize and remember victims of violence and injustice. Burning sweet […]

Five years later – The war in Syria

by Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach It has been five long years since the terrible war in Syria started. More than 250,000 Syrians have been killed. More than half of Syria’s population have been displaced from their homes, and 13.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Alaa* and his family are just some of the many who have been affected. Originally from the city of Aleppo, the family fled the war two years ago; several generations of family members now live in a small, crowded space in Amman, Jordan. They are among more than 630,000 Syrian refugees now living in […]

Not made in Israel

March 11, 2016 Thirdway

By Rebecca Babirye As 2015 was ending, the European Union (EU) implemented guidelines that require member countries to avoid labeling products “made in Israel” if they are made in occupied Palestinian areas. The guidelines clarified that indication of origin was mandatory and must not be misleading to consumers. A group of U.S. lawmakers have decried the EU policy through legislation introduced in both the House and Senate. The bills (H. Res. 567, S. Res. 346) equate Israel and “Israeli-controlled territory,” erasing a distinction that the U.S. has long made between Israel and its occupied territories. As Lara Friedman of Americans […]

A forgotten epidemic

February 27, 2016 Thirdway

By Katharine Oswald Haiti is home to the world’s worst cholera epidemic today. The outbreak was instigated in 2010, unknowingly, by United Nations (U.N.) peacekeepers. Five years later, Haitians are still waiting for an adequate response to this disaster. I sat beneath an almond tree in Poirée, a rice-planting village on the outskirts of St. Marc, in northwestern Haiti. Though 40 townspeople formed a tight circle around my makeshift interview station, my attention was focused on the slight woman seated across from me. “Did you contract cholera?” I asked her.  “Yes.” “Did anyone else in your family contract it?” A […]

Praying by the Prisons

February 25, 2016 Thirdway

Praying by the Prisons By Randy Klassen Every so often, the Lord’s Prayer erupts as a public issue, as it did recently in a Saskatchewan community. Should it be recited in a public school? Personally, I have more than enough challenges keeping it in my own home, or my own heart. Do those of us who serve “in the name of Christ” (those of us who work or volunteer for MCC have that as our guiding star) let this prayer speak into, and even challenge, our own daily practices? A few months ago, I went on an early morning walk […]