Partera Blog

Known Unknowns and Unknown Unknowns

Sep 11, 2011

…Because if I know
         then, knowing,
                  I can no longer unknow
                         what I know
                                  and I know
that the consequences of knowing
       will change me.

Update on the boat

Jul 4, 2011

http://livenews.thestar.com/Event/Aboard_the_Gaza_flotilla The boat has left the port! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zeiINV-Ing&feature=related CBC footage by Alexandre, training Irish boat sabotaged http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxZbhrREmVw&NR=1 David Heap http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4a8KnbS6yt0&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXMhodwffBQ&NR=1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HucmHqzhaAc&feature=related Dignite sets sail http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FCqDWilo0k&feature=related Kevin […]

Taking our fear for a walk

Jun 25, 2011

The media section of the Tahrir passenger list has grown to include Daria from Pravda, Adam and Hassan from press tv, the latter an acclaimed documentarist, as well as Alun from the Danish state broadcaster and Alexandra and Alexei from Radio Canada/RDI. The journalists now number more than a dozen. They are photographing the trainings, doing interviews, filing stories (see last postcard for a sampling). The Belgians, Danes and Australians are frequently getting up to leave a training session to take a call or do an interview with their national media.

Embargoes and Blockades

Jun 23, 2011

From somewhere in the eastern Mediterranean:

It’s been difficult to write anything at all, the days are long, exhausting, as we imagine ourselves into the next days and weeks; internet access is common but slow. But perhaps the greatest impediment to writing is the reality of our embargoed status. What at first appears as an intriguing constraint, adding to the flow of adrenalin, becomes increasingly sobering as the days pass and reports flow in. If we didn’t know why we needed to be careful of our speech in public places, why information on timing and location is strictly limited, we now know.

The Indignant Ones

Jun 21, 2011

I pick up a newspaper left on a bench in the National Gardens; it’s a few days old, French. Inside there are photos of last week’s demonstrations in Syntagma, the smoke of burning tires rising behind the images of protesters. Across the page, another photo of people crowding a public space, standing on an overturned car, mouths opened to release shouts – of what? Robson Street, Vancouver. I recall a quote captured in a Canadian paper before I left: What else do you expect me to do? I have to let it out somehow, he says to a journalist as he sets a newspaper box alight.

Protest, Democracy and the Cradle Thereof

Jun 20, 2011

The Canadian contingent is arriving now in droves, half of them Québecois. Several of the US contingent are staying here in the same hotel. The French and the Scandinavians are arriving soon, as well. This evening, the trainers for all teams will be meeting to plan and share ideas.

Egypt’s Good Week: Reading the Entrails

Feb 14, 2011

Sunday 13 February 2011

Greetings, Peacemakers:
It’s been quite a week, hasn’t it?  Not just for Egyptians; not even just for Tunisians and Algerians and Yemenians and Jordanians.  But for Canadians and US Americans.  For the United Nations.  For the world.

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?’ 

WomenPower and Peacemaking

Feb 14, 2011

Many pairs of feet of all shapes and colours and sizes are at work in the hot mid-morning Thai sun.  The mud sucks and sinks with every step and stomp.  The owners of the feet – dancing, circling in what feels like ancient ritual – are mostly ‘Burmese’, young women, Karen, Kachin and Shan, who live in precarious camps in the forests about 20 kilometres from the Thai border.  Some of the feet are Thai, some of them belonging to women who run the Women’s Centre for Peace and Human Rights whose extension will be constructed from the bricks soon to be formed out of the mud oozing between our toes.  Some belong to young boys and girls of the neighbourhood joining in the fun.  A couple of them are Canadian: mine.

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.