Thursday (July 16th) was the anniversary of the death of the four Bakr boys who were shot and killed by an Israeli gunboat operator on the beach in Gaza as international reporters staying at the al-Deira hotel looked on.
Update: In May the Israeli High Court of Justice turned down a request for a judicial order to halt the demolition of the West Bank village of Susiya. Up to 100 homes are under threat for demolition at any time by the civil administrations of Judae and Samaria. The high court judge, Noam Sohlberg, who refused the request for the judicial order is himself a resident of an illegal West Bank settlement. The residents of Susiya hold deeds to the land going back to the Ottoman era, but Israeli authorities say the residents did not have permits to build their current structures.
It’s been a hard summer. From the bombardment on Gaza to the refugee children on the border to Ferguson, it feels as though the world is cracking apart and oppressive policies and the militaries or police that protect them are proceeding with impunity. The consequences of the twisted systems in which we live are being exposed. People all over the world are crying out for justice and connecting their struggles.
“How good it is, how pleasant for God’s people to live in unity.” – Psalm 133:1
The first time I experienced a gathered meeting was at Mid-Year Meeting of Iowa Yearly Meeting Conservative. We were in an old meeting house up on a hill that overlooked the prairie. It was a windy day. As we sat in meeting for worship, the wind whipped around us. The silence was deep and rich. As the wind swirled, stirring up dust and bringing a breeze into the meeting house, I could sense the Spirit also moving in the room. I felt as though we were one body, coming together.
I talked recently with Ng Shui Meng, the wife of Sombath Somphone, a Laotian man and close associate of AFSC who ran civil society programs in Laos until he disappeared in December, 2012. Despite having close circuit television footage documenting his abduction, the Laotian government has denied any knowledge of Sombath Somphone’s whereabouts. Shui Meng came to the United States recently to request the assistance of AFSC, Amnesty International, Quakers and others to take action to support the return of Sombath Somphone.
I started taking yoga again a few months ago in a well lit, open studio in west Philadelphia. The teacher started the class by saying that yoga isn’t a religion; it is a spiritual practice open to all. When she introduced each standing pose, she talked about how important alignment is: that taking time to pay attention and settle into the pose with attention makes all the difference in how you practice yoga and in the benefits you receive from it.
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
Where we work
AFSC has offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.