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We need to stop corporate interests from bankrolling our political system and influencing government policies, according to staff and volunteers with Catholic Peace Ministry and AFSC's Presidential Campaign Project in Iowa.

In this three-minute video, CPM board member and videographer Rodger Routh captures a light-hearted look at a very serious issue.

Get involved with AFSC's bird-dogging efforts today! Contact Hector Salamanca or Kevin Rutledge at 515-274-4851, ext. 23. (To view more photos of the clowns prepping for the video, please click here.)

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One year has passed since "Operation Protective Edge", Israel's attack on the Palestinian Gaza Strip which killed more than 2,200 Palestinians and devastated its infrastructure.

Today Gaza remains under Israeli blockade, unreconstructed, and teetering on the verge of humanitarian catastrophe.

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In July AFSC co-sponsored a congressional briefing organized by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation to call attention to the situation in Gaza one year after Israel’s attacks. Please take time to watch the Congressional briefing with Eman Mohammed, Gaza-based photojournalist; Brad Parker, Defense for Children International Palestine; and Nadia Ben-Youssef, Adalah. 

On July 19th, the American Friends Service Committee held a symbolic morning commemoration on Montrose Beach in Chicago to remember the children killed by the Israeli military in the summer of 2014. In the summer of 2014 Israel invaded and attacked Gaza in a 51-day military assault “Protective Edge” which killed over 2,100 Palestinians and left over 11,000 injured. 521 of those 2,100 Palestinians were children. Many are still suffering from the traumatic experiences they faced and continue to face due to the blockade on Gaza.

The American Friends Service Committee’s morning remembrance on Montrose Beach consisted of placing black pinwheels in the sand. Each pinwheel symbolizes a child killed, and is labeled with their name and age. One pinwheel was included to remember the one Israeli child that was killed last summer, and pinwheels represent children and innocence. Attendees placed pinwheels in the sand in a formation that wrote out “GAZA” and heard a poem read by Rabbi Brant Rosen. Following the poem, a litany for Gaza was read. AFSC was inspired to use the pinwheels by Gazan artist Mohammad Hassona.

AFSC chose the location of a beach to symbolize the loss of the four Baker boys who were killed by the Israeli military while they were playing soccer on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea on July 16, 2014. Interns Sanah Yassin and Ruby Macsai-Goren made a video and a Storify of the event to share widely, in hopes that people in Gaza will see it and know that neither AFSC nor Chicago have forgotten about the trauma Gazans have endured, and continue to endure.

For more information and images from this event see our Storify page

 

“It is important to me that we continue to humanize Gazans and not reduce their suffering to numbers and statistics. Pinwheels represent the childhood that was stolen, and the hope that the spirit of these children will continue in the Palestinian resistance movement. In filming this video, I deliberately included the pinwheels spinning quickly as a symbol of this continuing spirit. Holding this event on the beach was an essential connection to the shores of Gaza that are so essential to its people, and the tragedy of the four Bakr boys that were just playing soccer, trying to having fun during the World Cup, but were stopped from doing so in the most brutal way.”

-Sanah Yassin, AFSC intern

 

"As a young person living in the US, I often notice my peers' ambivalence towards global conflicts. I am not excluded; last summer, I marched with ten thousand other Chicagoans to protest the siege on Gaza. Over the past year, the horrors inflicted on the people of Gaza slowly left my mind. Helping to form this event was a turning point for me. I realized we cannot forget when the guns stop firing. Instead, it is imperative for the people of Gaza to have American allies who will stand up for them when their rights are violated. Now, I will remind myself that even though I am removed from the violence, I must be an active participant in the struggle for freedom and equal rights, not a passive bystander."

-Ruby Mascai-Goren, AFSC intern

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Videos by Rodger Routh

Rodger writes: "Nearly 100 people gathered in Des Moines on August 6, 2015 to commemorate the dropping of the atomic bomb's on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan 70 years ago. With song, and thoughtful reflection, the peaceful event  ended with the offering of flowers and the tolling of the Japanese Bell. 'Never again' and 'Dismantle all nuclear weapons' was the message to all. May we heed this call."

[For a video of Jeffrey Weiss' presentation at the event, please click here. Jeffrey is Peace Education Director of Catholic Peace Ministry. To read CPM Executive Director Erika McCroskey's opinion piece in the Des Moines Register, please click here. CPM, AFSC, WILPF and several other groups sponsored the vigil. For more photos of the vigil, click here.]

Contact Rodger Routh at soundslikesouth1@yahoo.com.

 

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Under President Barack Obama, the US has deported almost two million undocumented immigrants, more than any of his predecessors.

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The increasing privatization of detention centers is behind mandatory detention rules in immigration reform bill.

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In the past five years a record number of legal immigrants have been locked up in the US. Officials are driven by a federal mandate that obliges them to keep 34 thousand behind bars every day.

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Congress mandates that 34,000 immigrants be detained in the United States every day of the year.

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AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more

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