Wider View Archive

Let the little children come

February 12, 2016 Tammy Alexander

By Tammy Alexander, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office Just before Christmas, the Washington Post reported that the Obama administration would begin a new series of immigration raids. Immigration raids are, unfortunately, not a new tactic for the administration (Operation Cross Check last year picked up more than 2,000 immigrants, including Mennonite pastor Max Villatoro). A troubling feature of these newest raids, however, is that they target women and children. In the past few years, the number of migrants seeking asylum—i.e., protection—from the three Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras has risen sharply. This refugee population consists […]

The risky business of mining

February 2, 2016 Charissa Zehr

Democracy, transparency and good governance become catchphrases during political campaigns and election cycles. In Haiti, these issues contribute to the deepening debate around mining. As the legitimacy of Haiti’s government continues to be questioned, some of Mennonite Central Committee’s partner organizations have expressed concerns that a proposed mining law could be passed by presidential decree without consent of the legislative branch and, more importantly, without consulting the Haitian people. In 2013, the World Bank provided technical support to Haiti’s government to update the country’s mining law, making it more attractive to the Canadian and U.S. mining companies already interested in […]

Canada and the Arms Trade Treaty

January 22, 2016 Thirdway

By Jennifer Wiebe, Director of the Ottawa Office, MCC Canada During the marathon (by Canadian standards!) election campaign, the Liberal Party claimed its vision for “a more compassionate Canada”—a “sunnier” Canada that would re-engage multilateral institutions, re-invest in public diplomacy, and reverse the decline in foreign aid. Three months after their win, the Liberals have moved in as governing party. Political staffers are slowly (but surely) taking their positions. And everyone in Ottawa has hit the ground running, trying to give legs to the many promises made on the campaign trail. The slogan around town is, “Canada’s back.” As the […]

Race and mass incarceration

January 19, 2016 Joshua Russell

Race and mass incarceration By Joshua Russell There are a plethora of injustices that need to be reformed in the U.S. criminal justice system. From harsh mandatory minimums to the many restrictions that are placed on people after their return from prison, reforms are desperately needed at every level. But it would be foolish and dangerous to undertake these reforms without considering the racial element of mass incarceration. White men in this country stand a 1 in 17 chance of going to prison during their lifetime, while for African-American men the rate is an astounding 1 in 3. Why are […]

Complexities in Nigeria’s democracy and development

December 30, 2015 Thirdway

By Cora Siebert, advocacy research intern for MCC Canada’s Ottawa Office. Nigeria’s presidential election in March 2015 was heralded in the media as a monumental turning point in the country’s political history. Local and international media alike deemed the election to be free and fair, resulting in Goodluck Jonathon willingly and peacefully transferring power to a new leader, Muhammadu Buhari. This is in a country with a long history — since independence from Britain in 1960 — of rigged elections and military coups.  It was also one of the first times in contemporary African politics that an incumbent was defeated […]

Peace on earth, goodwill to all

December 24, 2015 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

By Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach Each year at Christmas we sing songs and read Scripture texts about the “little town” of Bethlehem. It is easy to get caught up in a sentimental version of Christmas, with a cozy manger scene and everyone gathered around, gazing tranquilly at the new baby. The reality was probably a lot more messy. Giving birth in a cave and placing the newborn in a feeding trough was not exactly a sign of greatness to come. And the shepherds that came to see the child? According to Alan Culpepper’s commentary on Luke, “shepherding was a despised occupation […]

Should the church take sides or stay neutral with the #BlackLivesMatter movement?

December 17, 2015 Drew G. I. Hart

Originally posted Nov 25, 2015 by Drew G. I. Hart on his blog Taking Jesus Seriously at ChristianCentury.org The struggle has come near, so what should we do? When is it the right time to take sides, standing with those that live with the daily threat of violence, suffering, and death? Who decides? In the midst of 400 years of white supremacist terrorism many Christian communities still do not want to take sides. Neutrality and the middle way has always been a tempting option for those not directly violated by the concrete death-dealing forces taking people’s lives away quickly through bullets […]

Piecing a patchwork towards peace

December 11, 2015 Charissa Zehr

By Charissa Zehr The quilts were hung with care and pride at the front of the open-air pavilion where the graduation ceremony was to take place. The vivid colors and detailed piecework narrated the story of a community that was ripped apart and has worked their way back towards wholeness, piece by piece. On one side, the quilt portrays a rather idyllic scene – children at play, animals, vegetation, and people going about their daily tasks. The opposite quilt stands in stark contrast. The mountain backdrop is similar, but one house is engulfed in flames; armed people in fatigues line […]

Hopes and concerns: Canada’s involvement in Haiti

December 1, 2015 Thirdway

By Rebekah Sears, MCC Ottawa Office policy analyst I love watching our Canadian political processes unfold: elections, tracking the promises, critiquing the results, the whole game of politics. In a time of transition – a change in Prime Minister and also a change in the governing party – there are endless things to watch and monitor: who is in charge of what file, what are the governing party’s plans and promises, when can we expect results? For us at MCC’s Ottawa Office, some of the files in which we are especially interested include those relating to Canada’s role in the […]

Paris climate talks could be a turning point

November 27, 2015 Tammy Alexander

Tammy Alexander, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office During the next two weeks, we could see an important turning point in global efforts to address the causes and effects of climate change. From November 30 through December 11, delegates from 195 countries will meet outside Paris, France, and, for the first time in more than 20 years, attempt to create a legally binding agreement to address climate change. In the year leading up to the Paris talks, many countries have made pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal to keep the rise in the average global temperature […]