Wider View Archive

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 […]

Holding mining companies to account

January 27, 2017 Thirdway

by Jennifer Wiebe, director of MCC Canada’s Ottawa office Rumour has it that Canada’s federal budget may come down sooner rather than later. Civil society organizations are hoping to see some positive policy signals when the budget is tabled—from more money committed to international development, to the establishment of a federal ombudsperson for the extractives sector (the minerals, oil and gas industry). Establishing an ombudsperson with the power to investigate Canadian mining companies implicated in wrongdoing abroad is something experts have urged the government to implement since 2007. Liberals supported the idea of an ombudsperson while they were in Opposition […]

Climate resilience still under construction

January 20, 2017 Charissa Zehr

Climate resilience still under construction By Charissa Zehr For Haitians and friends of Haiti, January 12, 2010 is a date forever imprinted in their memory. The earthquake and its aftershocks claimed the lives of an estimated 150,000 to 300,000 people and displaced 1.3 million people. Despite billions of dollars in emergency assistance and reconstruction funds, thousands remain homeless even now, seven years later. Precarious housing matters on many levels, for reasons of dignity, health and safety. But of principal concern long-term, is people’s exposure to subsequent natural disasters in a country ranked as one of the most vulnerable to the […]

The greatest act is love

January 6, 2017 Charles Kwuelum

By Charles Kwuelum The U.S. government has been an integral leader in the fight against extreme poverty globally, investing in life-saving humanitarian and development needs. The needs remain enormous. About 65.3 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide by violent conflicts and natural disasters like drought and famine. Among them are nearly 21.3 million refugees, more than half of whom are under the age of 18. More than 795 million people lack sufficient food and 3.1 million children die each year due to malnutrition. According to UNAIDS, in 2015, there were 36.7 million people living with HIV. The new president is […]

Light, peace and hope shining in the darkness

December 23, 2016 Rebekah Sears

by Rebekah Sears, policy analyst for MCC’s Ottawa Office We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. –Henri Nouwen It’s almost time – Christmas time! Our period of Advent waiting, is nearly finished for another year. It is a time when many churches and families are lighting candles in anticipation. It is a season where we celebrate light coming into the darkness. Our hope is arriving – in many ways it is already here! When I was working for MCC in Bogota, Colombia, I experienced the Advent season as being all about lights—as filled with light. I […]

O little town of Amona

December 16, 2016 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

O little town of Amona By Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach At this time of year the hearts and minds of many Christians turn toward the “little town” of Bethlehem. Bethlehem still exists today as a Palestinian city in the West Bank, under Israeli military occupation. But recently the little “town” of Amona has been getting more attention. Amona is an “outpost,” housing about 40 families near the Israeli settlement of Ofra in the West Bank. Amona was started in 1995, with settlers placing three caravans on land taken from private Palestinian landowners. After 20 years of legal wrangling, the outpost still […]