This Update (now entering its seventh year) is influenced by our recent work trips to the Middle East. Its a beautiful region, albeit a precarious one, filled with a mosaic of beautiful peoples! The Update includes a variety of perspectives on a variety of topics (some definitely controversial) that will be of interest to those working in member care and mission aid, including news reports on conflicts, martyrdom, supporting Christian workers, end times prophecy, and reconciliation. We begin and end the Update with two sobering quotes: the first on the "transforming security landscapes" in the world today from the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform and the second on the "widespread sense of precariousness in the world today" from the United Nations Development Program.
Warm greetings from Geneva,
Kelly and Michèle O’Donnell
Many regions face transforming security landscapes.
"Key elements driving these transformations include chronic political instability, persistent social volatility and conflict, the proliferation of non-state armed groups and transnational actors, disputes over land and natural resources, weak state systems, and recurring cycles of violent competition over the state or markets. These transformations manifest themselves differently across regions but are particularly powerful in the Middle East and North Africa; East, Central and West Africa; Eastern Europe; Southeast Asia; and Central and South America. Some societies in these regions face an erosion of the social fabric, albeit for different reasons. This erosion is not new, but has intensified in many regions..." (p. 7). White Paper on Peacebuilding (2014), Geneva Peacebuilding Platform
Perspectives on a Precarious Region
Death of Aleppo, Syria. Al Jazeera World special report, 25 March 2015. This documentary follows the everyday lives of Aleppo residents living amid the on-going conflict and destruction in what remains of one of the most beautiful, historical cities of Syria and the region.
Malatya. “On April 18, 2007 five young Muslim men tortured and killed three leaders of the small church of Malatya, Turkey, inside their Bible distribution office...The murders sent shockwaves throughout Turkey…And yet, in the midst of all this chaos, the martyred men’s widows made a brave decision that revealed the mercy of God as never before to an awestruck nation. This is their story...” (excerpt from the film website) Watch the film trailer here: http://www.malatyafilm.com/index.php
الفصل الخامس والعشرون
Arabic Member Care Projects
Ministering Wisely in the Middle East: Christian Service Under Pressure by Naji Abi-Hashem and Anneke Kompanjen (chapter 19 in Doing Member Care Well). Available for free download on the Arabic Member Care website: https://sites.google.com/site/arabicmembercare/
Doing Member Care in Red Zones: Examples from the Middle East. Raymond Hicks (chapter 20 in Doing Member Care Well). Available for free download on the Arabic Member Care website: https://sites.google.com/site/arabicmembercare/
Through My Enemy's Eyes: Envisioning Reconciliation in Israel-Palestine (2014) by Salim Munayer and Lisa Loden. "This book addresses the universal theological dimension of reconciliation in the context of the Israeli Messianic Jewish and Palestinian Christian divide. Palestinian Christians and Israeli Messianic Jews share a belief in Jesus as the son of God and Messiah. Often, though, that is all they have in common. This remarkable book, written in collaboration by a local Palestinian Christian and an Israeli Messianic Jew, seeks to bridge this gap by addressing head on, divisive theological issues (as well as their political implications) such as land, covenant, prophecy and eschatology which separate their two communities. The struggle for reconciliation is painful and often extremely difficult for all of us. This unique work seeks to show a way forward."
Learn more about the reconciliation work of Musalaha, (the first author's organization) including the short video overview: https://www.musalaha.org/
Urbi et Orbi, Easter Message 2015, by Pope Francis. A few excerpts related to the Middle East are included below. Click here to watch the video and read the text: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/06/pope-francis-easter-message-_n_7010152.html
"We ask for peace, above all, for Syria and Iraq, that the roar of arms may cease and that peaceful relations may be restored among the various groups which make up those beloved countries. May the international community not stand by before the immense humanitarian tragedy unfolding in these countries and the drama of the numerous refugees.
We pray for peace for all the peoples of the Holy Land. May the culture of encounter grow between Israelis and Palestinians and the peace process be resumed, in order to end years of suffering and division.
We implore peace for Libya, that the present absurd bloodshed and all barbarous acts of violence may cease, and that all concerned for the future of the country may work to favor reconciliation and to build a fraternal society respectful of the dignity of the person. For Yemen too we express our hope for the growth of a common desire for peace, for the good of the entire people..."
Living in the Age of Precarious
On the border of the divided capital: Nicosia, Cyprus (Turkish Cypriot, Greek Cypriot).
This monument is a shattered version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
characterized by a lack of certainty, stability, and safety...
Many of the challenges facing people-personnel in the Middle East are also being faced by people-personnel in many regions of the world. History continues to unfold---or depending on you perspective, to unravel--leading us deeper into "the age of precarious." The opening paragraph in the latest Human Development Report (2014) summarizes well our precarious (and often perilous) condition.
“As successive Human Development Reports have shown, most people in most countries have been doing steadily better in human development. Advances in technology, education and incomes hold ever-greater promise for longer, healthier, more secure lives. Globalization has on balance produced major human development gains, especially in many countries of the South. But there is also a widespread sense of precariousness in the world today—in livelihoods, in personal security, in the environment and in global politics. High achievements on critical aspects of human development, such as health and nutrition, can quickly be undermined by a natural disaster or economic slump. Theft and assault can leave people physically and psychologically impoverished. Corruption and unresponsive state institutions can leave those in need of assistance without recourse. Political threats, community tensions, violent conflict, neglect of public health, environmental damages, crime and discrimination all add to individual and community vulnerability.”
Human Development Report: Sustaining Human Development--Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience (2014). United Nations Development Program (p. 1, bold font added for emphasis) .http://hdr.undp.org/en/2014-report/download
Actively integrating our lives (connecting and contributing) with global realities
(skillfully addressing the major issues facing humanity and promoting well being)
in light of our core values (e.g., ethical imperatives, commitment to humanity, faith-based).
More MCA Resources
Global Portal for Good Practice (website)
Reflections, Research, and Resources for Good Practice (weblog)
Global Mental Health: A Global Map for a Global Movement (website)
Global Integration: Connecting and Contributing (updates, materials, webinars)
Global Member Care: (volume one): The Pearls and Perils of Good Practice (2011)
Global Member Care (volume two): Crossing Sectors for Serving Humanity (2013)
(the e-book version is available on Amazon)