Partera Blog

Holy Ground: Muslim-Christian relations in a context of civil war

Feb 14, 2011

The room is cacophonous with role-played debate and argument, hands gesticulating, brilliant clothing flying, faces wide open with passion and heat.  Abruptly it all ceases with a signal from the trainer; laughter, some of it nervous, ensues.  Two lines re-form to face one another.  The trainer trawls up and down the corridor formed by bodies, probing, questioning, ‘So what happened?  How did you feel?  What worked?  What didn’t?’ 

Blessed are the Trouble-makers

Jan 26, 2011

Blessed are the Trouble-Makers

Bishop Samuel Ruíz Garcia’s death this week leaves a gap of immeasurable proportions, the passing of a generation, some might say.  Though others of the progressive wing of CELAM (the Latin American Conference of Bishops), such as Gustavo Gutiérrez1, were better known as the early articulators and later elaborators of liberation theology and the preferential option for the poor, Don Samuel was the beloved pastor of thousands of indigenous chiapañecas and chiapañecos, Tztotziles, Tzeltales, Cho’les, and Tojolabales.  Like the 16th century namesake of the highland town, San Cristóbal de las Casas (SCLC)2, and heart of the diocese he led for forty years, Don Samuel was a defender of the indigenous people, whose lives had remained largely untouched by the revolutionary, redistributory changes of 1911 and beyond.

What You Honour Tonight

Nov 30, 2010

It is an honour to be the recipient of an award with such a rich history and to find myself in the company of some remarkable and passionate peacemakers. It can often be lonely work in a world in which there are endless resources available, it seems, to prepare for and make war and so little dedicated to the search for other ways to make our planet secure in the best sense of that word.

Postcards from Sudan #1

Sep 21, 2010

The website of the Sudanese Embassy in Ottawa features some beautiful ‘postcards’, many of them from either the Meröe pyramid fields at the sixth cataract of the Nile or the marine life of the Red Sea, with enticements to consider scuba diving while in Sudan.

Highway of Heroes: An Open Letter to David Miller

Sep 14, 2010

Highway of Heroes: Open letter to David Miller, Mayor of the City of Toronto: 
Peacemaker  Autumn 2010
I would like to register my strong objection to the co-naming of parts of Bloor and Bay Streets and the Don Valley Parkway as the ‘Route of Heroes’.  Three years ago you did the right thing in rejecting the overtures of Legions and others whose interests are linked to war to change the name of the DVP; now it’s parts of Bloor and Bay, as well.

They Have a Dream

Apr 1, 2010

The Khartoum Monitor carries news of yesterday’s attack on an Army Base in North Darfur by one of the rebel groups – to which the military responded with an air attack on nearby villages, the dead not yet counted. The ceasefire in a brutal war of attrition that has left 2.5 million homeless and at least 350,000 dead, enjoys the respect of neither side. The government is once again escalating the violence, targetting humanitarian aid efforts, hoping perhaps to present a status quo of permanent destruction prior to further UNAMID deployment in the months leading up to national elections. President Omar al-Bashir chafes under his indictment by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, throwing tantrums that reach across the peripheries of this war-torn land.

God’s Name is Celia

Nov 15, 2009

I raced past the little currency kiosk in the Vancouver airport, dragging my luggage behind me. The small, dark-haired woman inside leaned her head to the size, a quizzical look on her face. Can I help you? she mouthed at me through the glass that separated her and her cash from passersby such as me.

I halted abruptly and directed my suitcases and myself towards the kiosk, nodding my head in the affirmative. ‘Where’s the Air Canada passenger assistance counter? I’m told it’s right around here, but I can’t see it.’

Mindanao: Something’s Happening Here

Nov 1, 2009

Above the muddied streets, once more, post-typhoon, filled with jeepnies and tuq-tuqs, pedestrians and the occasional SUV, an inauspicious meeting was assembling. The large sanctuary of a Pentecostal church dwarfed the modest handful of participants. Amongst those seated in a semi-circle of benches before a lectern is the Pentecostal bishop, his presence signifying, to me at least, an unanticipated endorsement of the proceedings.

International Women’s Day: a memorial

Mar 10, 2009

IWD Improvised Womanist Device. What was He thinking? Foul, bloody, moody; bloodied. She. Her. Mother daughter sister crone. Dissected, brotherly raped, fatherly […]

Retreat from Redemptive Violence

Oct 9, 2008

The question for this week’s Cross-Country Check-up[1] is ‘What is the relationship between religion and conflict?  Is religion a help or a […]


Muslim-Christian Trainings
Mindanao / Philippines Conflict Transformation
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico
Sudan third party non-violence intervention