Wider View Archive

DR Congo’s uphill battle for peace

December 6, 2018 Charles Kwuelum

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is at a critical historical moment. That was the conclusion during a recent workshop held by Church of Christ in Congo (known by its French acronym, ECC), which focused on creating teams to prevent electoral violence. Long-expected parliamentary elections, a chance for the first peaceful transfer of power since independence, will be held on December 23. After the assassination of his father Laurent Kabila in 2001, Joseph Kabila became president and has remained in office beyond the country’s two term limit. After much local and international pressure, he has agreed to not run again. […]

Advocacy: Action and reflection, no deportation required

November 29, 2018 Thirdway

I slipped out of the office over lunch for a brief twenty minutes a few weeks ago: down the elevator, out the building, and around the corner, to join a small group standing in front of the building housing the Mexican Embassy. September 26, 2018 marks four years since the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa. A few Canadian human rights groups held a small vigil in their honour and to demand action. At the beginning, I stood on the outskirts. Someone was taking photos. I was not with a partner organization. I was present as myself, not by invitation […]

Reinvigorating trust in the midst of displacement

November 16, 2018 Charles Kwuelum

As the dry season set in, Modibo Ado* migrated from his home in Bauchi State, Nigeria, leading his herds of cows and sheep to neighboring Plateau State. There the grass is still green, and water is available for his livestock. In Plateau State, farmers like Emmanuel Davou* tend their crops and wait to harvest them for food and income. For migratory herdsmen like Ado, growing his herds necessitate a search for vegetation and water. Encroachment into grazing routes for farmers like Davou often become a cause for conflict and violence. Such encounters break down relationships and trust among farming and […]

Methane: A key to our changing climate

November 1, 2018 Thirdway

A recent study published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts a bleak future if nothing is done by governments and individuals to curb climate change. Vulnerable communities around the world are already experiencing the negative impacts of a changing climate, including drought, flooding, famine and increased natural disasters, all of which also contribute to migration and violence. Climate change is caused by the greenhouse effect, which is usually associated with carbon dioxide. However, methane traps 86 times more heat than carbon dioxide. As of 2017, methane comprised 10 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and 60 percent […]

And then there were three

October 25, 2018 Thirdway

By Monica Scheifele In 1968 Mennonite Central Committee took the bold step of opening its first advocacy office in Washington DC. In 1975, a second advocacy office was opened in Ottawa to be followed by a third advocacy office in 1991 in New York to relate to the United Nations. The offices initially opened as listening posts, but now monitor and analyze policies, facilitate meetings for MCC staff and encourage constituents to be advocates themselves. While each office is situated in a different context with unique challenges requiring unique strategies, they all share the same primary purpose of advocacy which […]

The war goes on

October 19, 2018 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

In 2015, Artur’s* family was forced to leave their home in Aleppo, Syria when their home was destroyed. Artur, who requires expensive medications and is unemployed, lives with his elderly parents, wife and two children. The family has received various forms of assistance from Mennonite Central Committee through a partner organization. The war in Syria has shifted into a new phase, focused in Idlib province. As the war winds down in other parts of the country, some have begun to focus on the need for reconstruction. Long-term rebuilding will be necessary for Syria to recover. But for many Syrians, such […]

When pressure prevents life-saving aid

October 5, 2018 Charissa Zehr

Other stories have long since overshadowed the groundbreaking summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jung Un of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea). Sadly, it seems the United States government is dragging its heels in this critical process that could bring reconciliation to the Korean Peninsula and between decades-long adversaries. Despite the friendly handshake, photo op and effusive tweets, very little has changed in the frozen relations between the U.S. and North Korea. U.S.-imposed travel restrictions hinder most human interaction between the two nations. Financial sanctions and shipping constraints limit the import of almost every kind […]

Understanding perspectives on gun violence

September 21, 2018 Cherelle M. Dessus

Mass shootings are regularly highlighted in the media, and they prompt important conversations regarding U.S. gun policy and public safety. However, The American public  fails to acknowledge that the majority of gun deaths and injuries do not stem from mass shootings but are a result of homicides, suicides and accidents. It is crucial to pursue policies that prevent those daily occurrences as well as mass shootings. Furthermore, the controversy and over-generalizations surrounding gun violence have prevented us from exploring the issue in depth. One narrative suggests that strengthening gun policies will take away the freedom to carry a weapon that […]

Invest our treasure in people, not walls

September 7, 2018 Tammy Alexander

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. –Matthew 6:21 Matthew 6:21 is often cited as a guide for individual spending habits, but it can also be an important principle to consider for federal budgets. The U.S. government spends roughly $18 billion per year on immigration enforcement—more than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined. In July, the House Appropriations Committee passed a bill to increase this funding and add $5 billion for more walls on the U.S.-Mexico border. A similar bill in the Senate calls for $1.6 billion for border walls. To many members of Congress, […]

 Humanitarian assistance and politics

August 17, 2018 Thirdway

by Xin-Dee Low, international affairs intern at the MCC U.S. Washington Office, Summer 2018   Sanctions, economic embargoes and withholding humanitarian assistance are sometimes seen as effective foreign policy tools. Many policymakers believe they can indirectly twist the opposition’s arm into carrying out their interest. But civilian lives should not be put in jeopardy because the people in power are unwilling to reconcile. In January the United States announced it would freeze funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides assistance to Palestinian refugees. UNRWA has been working hard to gather political and financial support around the […]