Wider View Archive

Remembering the Legacy of War

April 6, 2018 Charissa Zehr

I walked the perimeter of a small rice paddy, surrounded by a few simple houses and groupings of gravestones. The plaques nearby list the names of people who died there, but no one is exactly sure who ended up in which mass grave. Most haunting was the cement-covered path, now imprinted with the steps of barefooted children and soldiers’ boots–a reminder of the tragedy that took place in this Vietnamese hamlet 50 years ago. On March 16, 1968, Lt. William Calley led his platoon into My Lai in the Quang Ngai province of Vietnam. Convinced the village held enemy combatants, […]

To help or not to help: Eritrean refugees in Israel

March 23, 2018 Thirdway

To help or not to help: Eritrean refugees in Israel By Nicholas Pope, Advocacy Research Intern in MCC’s Ottawa Office. Nicholas has a law degree from the University of Calgary. He has served with MCC in Palestine and also Alberta, where he has been the MCC Alberta Refugee Sponsorship Coordinator.  He continues in that role part-time, while serving in the Ottawa Office. On January 1, Israel announced an ultimatum for the thousands of East African asylum seekers within its borders: take $3,500 USD and a one-way ticket to Africa or face indefinite imprisonment. There are around 34,700 East African asylum seekers in Israel. 27,000 […]

A temporary fix for enduring issues

March 16, 2018 Thirdway

A temporary fix for enduring issues Erin Beidler, Domestic Policy Intern, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office In recent months the immigration conversation has been largely focused on the fate of nearly 700,000 Dreamers protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. However, another 300,000 people are now living in uncertainty under Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS is granted to immigrants in the U.S. when it is determined that it would be difficult for them to return home due to ongoing armed conflicts, natural disasters or other extenuating circumstances. In January of this year the Trump administration announced that […]

Is prison reform criminal justice reform?

March 2, 2018 Cherelle M. Dessus

Is prison reform criminal justice reform? Cherelle M. Dessus In President Trump’s first State of the Union address, many priorities and goals were mentioned. Advocates for criminal justice reform were not left out of this conversation. Trump stated that his administration would focus on reforming prisons to ensure that returning citizens have access to second chances. For several years, presidential administrations and Congress have mentioned the need for bipartisan criminal justice reform to end the cycle of over-incarceration. Many understand criminal justice reform to be a combination of reforms to how sentencing happens and to prison conditions. Separately, both reforms […]

We are still here

February 28, 2018 Third Way

We are still here Miriam Sainnawap, author of this reflection, is Co-coordinator of MCC’s Indigenous Neighbours program.  She is Oji-Cree from Kingfisher Lake First Nation in northwestern Ontario. Her reflection is prompted by the story of Tina Fontaine, a 15-year-old Indigenous girl who was murdered in Winnipeg in 2014. The white man charged with her death was acquitted in February 2018 because of insufficient evidence. Prior to her death, Tina was in the care of Children and Family Services. Tina’s death galvanized attention on the reality of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada and led to the establishment […]

Give me your healthy, your wealthy, your huddled college graduates

February 16, 2018 Tammy Alexander

Give me your healthy, your wealthy, your huddled college graduates Tammy Alexander, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office As the U.S. Congress considers legislation to protect Dreamers (undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children) they are also debating a number of policies regarding what type of immigrants we should welcome into the United States. Some proposals would move us to a more merit-based system while limiting family-based and other forms of immigration. Limiting family migration could mean no longer allowing people to petition to bring their siblings, parents, or adult children to the U.S. Discussions also involve ending […]

Weaponized peace is not genuine peace

February 2, 2018 Thirdway

Weaponized peace is not genuine peace By Charles Kwuelum Recently the Nigerian government has been claiming victory over the insurgent group Boko Haram, even as suicide bombings, kidnappings and killings are still taking place. On January 8, 20 loggers were killed near Maiduguri and on January 17 in an attack at the Muna garage area in Maiduguri, 12 people were killed and 48 injured. The fact that the Nigerian government is still fighting Boko Haram is also shown by the withdrawal in December 2017 of $1 billion from its Excess Crude Account. Despite being in the midst of a budget […]

A lament for the children

A lament for the children Esther Epp-Tiessen Twenty-three years ago, my husband and I held our son Timothy as life ebbed from his cancer-ravaged body. Over his short eight years, he had struggled with cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, and epilepsy, but it was medullablastoma (a form of childhood brain cancer) that ultimately killed him. Tim’s prolonged illness – and our journey with him – have made me especially sensitive to the suffering of children. Because of Tim, I cannot bear to see children suffer. I am especially enraged by the suffering inflicted on children by other humans. Consider these realities: According […]

The right to live

January 19, 2018 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

The right to live By Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach “We are human beings. We need the right to live,” a Syrian Palestinian family told me when I visited Lebanon several years ago. The family was receiving a food voucher from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) that helped them buy basic items like rice, oil and bread. Unable to work legally in Lebanon, the family depended on a small stipend from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to help pay their rent. But that stipend had been reduced recently due to lack of funds. Now UNRWA faces yet more funding cuts. […]

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 […]