Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach Archive
After ISIS, now what?
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 […]
Counting calories in Gaza
Counting calories in Gaza By Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach October 16 marked World Food Day. In Gaza, a small slice of land home to two million Palestinians, 80 percent of people rely on international humanitarian assistance. Nearly 1 in 2 do not have enough to eat on a regular basis. Gaza’s humanitarian crisis is due primarily to the blockade that has been imposed by Israel. For centuries the residents of Gaza have relied on the sea as a source of food and income. But Israeli restrictions prevent Gazan fishing boats from traveling more than six nautical miles from shore, and often […]
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, […]
Threat or friend?
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 […]
O little town of Amona
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 […]
The forgotten parts of the Syria crisis
The forgotten parts of the Syria crisis By Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach On the International Day of Peace, September 21, Mennonite Central Committee U.S., along with other organizations, is sponsoring a “Global Day of Action and Prayer for Syria.” In addition to events that day in New York City, local congregations are encouraged to use the materials to pray and act for peace. As we have worked at planning this event, we have sought to keep the focus on calling for an end to the war in Syria—calling on all parties to cease the violence and urging a negotiated solution. Many, […]
No Way to Treat a Child
By Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach In the documentary “Detaining Dreams,” Abed, a 15-year-old Palestinian, tells how he was arrested by Israeli soldiers at gunpoint in his home while sleeping and then was taken away, handcuffed and blindfolded. While in detention he was beaten, interrogated and placed in solitary confinement before eventually being released on bail. Abed’s story is not unique. At the end of April (the most recent numbers available), more than 400 Palestinian youth were being detained by the Israeli military. A recent report showed that three-quarters of children who are detained experience physical violence after their arrest. Two separate […]
Five years later – The war in Syria
by Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach It has been five long years since the terrible war in Syria started. More than 250,000 Syrians have been killed. More than half of Syria’s population have been displaced from their homes, and 13.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Alaa* and his family are just some of the many who have been affected. Originally from the city of Aleppo, the family fled the war two years ago; several generations of family members now live in a small, crowded space in Amman, Jordan. They are among more than 630,000 Syrian refugees now living in […]
Peace on earth, goodwill to all
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 […]
“The bombs kept following us”
By Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach A photo of a Syrian three-year-old boy, who drowned trying to flee to Greece, captured global attention last week. But sadly, he and his family represent just a fraction of the millions of Syrians whose lives have been devastated by the civil war that has now been raging for more than four years. In June I met some of these refugees in Lebanon and Jordan. The stories they told were heartbreaking. One family was from Damascus, Syria. When the war forced them to leave their home, they moved first to several other parts of Syria, but “the […]