Wider View Archive

A New Year’s resolution for diplomacy

January 5, 2018 Charissa Zehr

A New Year’s resolution for diplomacy By Charissa Zehr The relationship between the U.S. and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea) proved ever more volatile in 2017, with much public and political anxiety as rash decisions and name-calling of leaders came from both sides. There was renewed focus on the meaning of nuclear deterrence and authorization to use military force, both in Congress and the administration. In August, President Trump issued an executive order outlining travel restrictions for U.S. citizens visiting North Korea. Concerned this would hamper our humanitarian efforts, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. (MCC) wrote a […]

Jails as warehouses

December 27, 2017 Cherelle M. Dessus

Jails as warehouses By Cherelle M. Dessus Many people believe that the primary purposes of prisons are to increase public safety, punish offenders for crimes against society and rehabilitate prisoners. But in many ways, jails and prisons have become warehouses for people with mental illnesses or drug addictions and those who are living in poverty. In most states, jails hold more people with mental illnesses than do state psychiatric hospitals. Two million people with mental illnesses are booked into jails each year. Many are not assessed by health professionals and end up going to prison instead of being treated properly. […]

A prayer of response to Mary’s Magnificat

December 21, 2017 Third Way

A prayer of response to Mary’s Magnificat The Magnificat is often understood to be a song of praise. Recorded in Luke 1:47-55, it is Mary’s response to the prophecy that, through her, God’s fulfillment will come. I sometimes struggle to believe Mary’s strong and powerful affirmation of the coming of God’s “upside down kingdom.” Mary’s words are meant to comfort and give hope to those seeking justice, but injustice continues and at times even flourishes. Where is the mercy for those who fear the Lord? Did I miss the proud being scattered? When I look at the leaders of the […]

Challenging false narratives about immigrants

December 8, 2017 Tammy Alexander

Challenging false narratives about immigrants Tammy Alexander, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office As the U.S. Congress decides whether to protect Dreamers—immigrants who were brought to the United States as undocumented children—policymakers are once again embroiled in a debate about the relative merits of different categories of immigrants. In September, the Trump administration announced the end of a program that protected Dreamers from deportation. Various bills have been introduced in Congress to restore these protections, including the Dream Act which would provide an eventual path to citizenship. The White House and some in Congress would like to pair the Dream […]

Moving backwards on nuclear disarmament

November 22, 2017 Jennifer Wiebe

Moving backwards on nuclear disarmament By Jennifer Wiebe, director of the Ottawa Office of MCC The Humanitarian Disarmament Forum, held October 14-15 in New York, was abuzz with a celebratory spirit. It’s not hard to imagine why. After all, the International Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons (ICAN for short) had just won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. And the landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons—the result of years of hard work by millions of global campaigners—had opened for signature at the UN merely a few weeks earlier. In the world of humanitarian disarmament, history had been made yet again. I had […]

“I will not forget you”

November 16, 2017 Charles Kwuelum

“I will not forget you” By Charles Kwuelum Amidst all of the headlines these days, little attention is being paid to the crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo). In August 2016, violence broke out in the Kasai region when the Kamuina Nsapu, a local militia group, engaged in a clash with national security forces. The clash was partly due to the local appointment of a traditional chief, seen by many as a way to influence land rights and traditional values. The Kasai region is the birthplace of the Mennonite Church in DR Congo. The violence displaced […]

After ISIS, now what?

November 3, 2017 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

After ISIS, now what? By Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach Last winter Rafee, his wife and sons received heating fuel through a program supported by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Syria. In 2015, their hometown had been attacked by ISIS, and eventually the family fled to another village. There they struggled to pay for rent and medication, so they were grateful for the fuel assistance provided by the church. Rafee’s last name is withheld for security reasons. Syrians like Rafee long for an end to the conflict that has engulfed their country since 2011. With the next round of negotiations scheduled for […]

What is Canada’s Persons Day?

October 27, 2017 Third Way

Persons Day By Monica Scheifele October 18 is Persons Day in Canada. It is a time to remember and celebrate the historic 1929 decision of what was then Canada’s highest court of appeal – the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of Great Britain – to include women in the legal definition of “persons”. The idea that women would not be considered persons seems absurd today and even more ridiculous to think that this was the case less than 100 years ago. Aren’t all human beings persons? Apparently not in Canadian law before 1929 when the definition was still based […]

Counting calories in Gaza

October 20, 2017 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

Counting calories in Gaza By Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach October 16 marked World Food Day. In Gaza, a small slice of land home to two million Palestinians, 80 percent of people rely on international humanitarian assistance. Nearly 1 in 2 do not have enough to eat on a regular basis. Gaza’s humanitarian crisis is due primarily to the blockade that has been imposed by Israel. For centuries the residents of Gaza have relied on the sea as a source of food and income. But Israeli restrictions prevent Gazan fishing boats from traveling more than six nautical miles from shore, and often […]

Reflecting the humanity of migrants

October 6, 2017 Charissa Zehr

Reflecting the humanity of migrants By Charissa Zehr Sacrifice, bravery, survivor—these words kept running through my mind as I sat in migrant shelters in Mexico City and Tapachula, near Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala. Hearing the litany of dangers people faced as they crossed highways, forests, deserts and borders to find safety and security, I was struck most by their courage. I was reminded by our hosts at Voces Mesoamericanas, an MCC partner in southern Mexico, that most people don’t migrate because they want to–they are resigned to it because they see no other option. At each shelter, we listened […]