Wider View Archive

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 […]

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 […]