Wider View Archive

Peace on Earth, peace with Earth

May 5, 2017 Tammy Alexander

Peace on Earth, peace with Earth Tammy Alexander, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office An estimated 200,000 people participated in the People’s Climate March on April 29 in Washington, D.C., and thousands more participated in more than 300 sister marches around the country. Coming from various walks of life and marching for different reasons, everyone shared a concern for protecting the Earth and those who live on it. In the “Keepers of faith” section of the march in D.C. there were individuals and groups from many different faith traditions, including Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Unitarian. Christian groups included Mennonites, […]

Swords into Ploughshares

April 28, 2017 Jennifer Wiebe

Swords into Ploughshares by Jennifer Wiebe, Director of MCC Canada’s Ottawa Office When Ernie Regehr and Murray Thomson started Project Ploughshares in 1976, their initiative was only supposed to last six months. Just over forty years and many awards and accomplishments later, Ploughshares stands as one of the leading peace research organizations in Canada. How did it all begin? The seeds of Ploughshares were first sown four decades ago when two groups of people, each working separately on a common concern, came together. Ernie Regehr—witnessing the links between militarism and under-development while working in southern Africa—teamed up with Murray Thomson (then-Director of CUSO) in 1976 […]

Why oppose a popular airstrike?

Why oppose a popular airstrike? By Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach  On the night of April 6, the U.S. attacked a Syrian military installation with 59 missiles. President Trump said that the airstrike was in response to a chemical weapons attack a few days earlier in Idlib province. Many members of Congress immediately came out in support of the airstrike, saying it was a proportional response and what the U.S. should have done after a chemical weapons attack in 2013. This favorable response was echoed by many in the media as well. With so many eager to support this show of force, […]

Love in the midst of famine and suffering

April 7, 2017 Charles Kwuelum

Love in the midst of famine and suffering By Charles Kwuelum Conflicts around the world, particularly in Nigeria’s northeast, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, have exacerbated a growing humanitarian crisis. More than 20 million people are facing the threat of historic famine. There is a need for urgent action by the human family, especially wealthy nations. Unfortunately, so far the U.S. has not responded adequately. In March President Trump requested $54 billion more in overall military spending, while proposing deep cuts to international assistance and the State Department. If the cuts happen, humanitarian and development assistance, as well as […]

Actions speak louder . . . Canada in Iraq and Syria

March 28, 2017 Rebekah Sears

Actions speak louder . . . Canada in Iraq and Syria By Rebekah Sears, policy analyst, Ottawa Office “Our new policy in Iraq, Syria and the surrounding region reflects what Canada is all about: defending our interests alongside our allies, and working constructively with local partners to build real solutions that will last.”   These words were spoken by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on February 8, 2016. Flanked by the Ministers of Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Development, Trudeau sought to reshape Canada’s involvement in Syria and Iraq—or at least re-shape the messaging of Canadian foreign policy. Canada’s current involvement in […]

Hospitality in the midst of hostility

March 17, 2017 Charissa Zehr

Hospitality in the midst of hostility By Charissa Zehr I recently had the rare opportunity to visit Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea) with several other Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) staff. I was eager to take part in the visit and see the country firsthand. But I also wondered how we would be received as U.S. citizens, given the tense history between our countries. Most news reports about DPRK remind us of the hostility that has frozen the relationship between our two countries. Talk to almost any North Korean and they will probably use the phrase “hostile policy” when […]

Tough on crime

March 3, 2017 Cherelle M. Dessus

By Cherelle M. Dessus After swearing in Attorney General Jeff Sessions on February 9, President Donald Trump signed three executive orders designed to “reduce crime and restore public safety.” The orders aim to develop strategies such as new legislation and a task force to reduce violent crime, drug trafficking, and immigration. The President has expressed his concern for the crime rate despite the fact that crime is actually decreasing. Throughout recent months, he has promised to be “tough on crime,” a phrase that African American communities especially know all too well. Since the ending of the Jim Crow era, politicians […]

A plea for friendship and solidarity

February 24, 2017 Thirdway

by Esther Epp-Tiessen We had gathered in Ottawa – eight MCC staff, along with 30 students and young adults from across the country – for our annual MCC Canada student seminar. The topic of the seminar was “Gender, peace and conflict: Exploring the intersection.” One of our guest speakers was Senator Mobina Jaffer.  Jaffer has been active in promoting the Women, Peace and Security agenda for many years and she spoke about that work for several minutes. Then she asked permission to go “off topic.” She wanted to discuss what was really on her heart. And what was on her […]

Threat or friend?

February 17, 2017 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

By Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach As I read through the U.S. president’s executive orders on immigrants and refugees, I was immediately struck by the overall framing: immigrants and refugees are security threats to be feared, not human beings to be welcomed. The order stopping the refugee program opens with the obligation to “protect the American people from terrorist attacks,” although the three-judge panel that halted the order noted that there is no evidence that anyone from “the countries named in the order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States.” The order on border security says that undocumented immigrants “present […]

Statement from MCC: Welcoming immigrants and refugees

February 3, 2017 Tammy Alexander

Welcoming immigrants and refugees Tammy Alexander, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office Last week, President Trump signed three executive orders on immigration – one increasing border security and calling for the construction of a wall across the entire U.S.-Mexico border, another aimed at increasing deportations and other enforcement actions and a third temporarily suspending the refugee program and barring people from certain majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S. All three paint a picture of immigrants as threats, criminals and a burden on society – when, in truth, immigrants contribute much to our communities, commit crimes at lower rates than their […]