Wider View Archive

In Nigeria, preventing radicalization through rebuilding lives

December 6, 2019 Charles Kwuelum

Several years ago, Emmanuel Sawa, then a high school student in the Plateau State of Nigeria, dropped out of school when violence caused his parents to lose their livelihood and become displaced along with many others in their community. Sawa, like many other young adults who either grew up in Plateau State or moved there to escape violence in other parts of the country, became addicted to drugs and was at risk of becoming radicalized. Years of brutal localized conflicts and intense violence have displaced more than 2 million people and destroyed livelihoods. The humanitarian crisis is primarily a result […]

Seeking relief

November 22, 2019 Thirdway

Written by Estefania Martinez, International fellow, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office In Luke 5, a man with leprosy approaches Jesus and, with his face to the ground, he begs to be healed, pleading, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean” (Luke 5:12). To put the story in context, Mosaic law required people sick with leprosy to rip their clothes, live away from the city and shout: “Unclean! Unclean!” to any passersby (Leviticus 13:45-46). Contrary to what the law required of him, this man approached Jesus. Some of the people with Jesus that day were likely offended because […]

An education for all

Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, is quoted as saying, “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” Congress continues to discuss the possibility of passing the Restoring Education and Learning (REAL) Act, which would provide access to Pell Grants for incarcerated students, as a part of the Higher Education Act. Education improves the lives of people who are incarcerated by reducing the recidivism rate among returning citizens, providing them with social capital and increasing employment opportunities when they return to their communities. Some lawmakers […]

Iraq: Rebuilding what is broken

October 25, 2019 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

Over the past several weeks, Iraqis have been protesting in the streets. More than 100 people have been killed and more than 6,000 wounded. The protesters’ demands are basic: They want jobs, improved services such as education, water and electricity, and an end to corruption. There are many reasons why these conditions are lacking in Iraq. But the role of the U.S. cannot be ignored. The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and subsequent military occupation led to the dismantling of much of Iraqi society. U.S. military actions stirred up tensions between ethnic and religious groups. Infrastructure was destroyed. Government […]

Gun violence: Loving our neighbors so they may flourish

So far this year the House of Representatives has made various efforts and held numerous hearings to address the United States’ unique gun violence problem. The House Judiciary Committee recently advanced three gun violence prevention bills that would outlaw large capacity ammunition magazines, provide funding to states to enact Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) and bar individuals convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime from owning a weapon. These bills will now be voted on by the entire House of Representatives, which approved a bill in February that would expand background checks. Conversations in the Senate are ongoing. Often lost in […]

No safety here

September 20, 2019 Tammy Alexander

  On July 16, the Trump administration released a new regulation requiring asylum seekers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border to have requested asylum, and been denied, in at least one country they traveled through before asking for asylum in the U.S. (The rule does not apply to Mexican asylum seekers who do not need to travel through a third country to get to the U.S.) The new rule was immediately challenged in federal court and temporarily halted. However, on September 11, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the regulation to go into effect while lawsuits in lower courts continue. Lee Gelernt, […]

A migrant’s journey starts in Central America: U.S. immigration policy should too

September 6, 2019 Kate Parsons

  When people hear “immigration policy,” many think immediately about border security, detention and asylum. While it is crucial to advocate in these areas – supporting asylum seekers, protecting children and keeping families together – we shouldn’t forget that people’s migration stories start long before their arrival in the United States. Most immigrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border today are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, a region sometimes referred to as the “Northern Triangle.” These countries are among the most violent in the world, with high levels of poverty, inequality and government corruption.   El Salvador Guatemala Honduras United […]

The urgency before us: A call for collaborative effort towards DR Congo

August 16, 2019 Charles Kwuelum

Charline Kavugho shared the news that she and her two-year-old son, Jonathan, had been declared free of the Ebola virus, 17 days after her husband Gerome Kanyitondi died of an Ebola infection. Kanyitondi had been a pastor for the Community of Baptist Churches in Central Africa (CBCA). Kavugho was sharing her testimony with the Church of Christ of Congo’s Ministry of Refugees and Emergencies (ECC MERU), a partner organization of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). She had been willing to undergo an infection prevention and control process, at a time when many in the community are distrustful of health care personnel. […]

C-262: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

August 9, 2019 Thirdway

In a letter to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in January of 1985, MCC Chairman Ross Nigh wrote a letter encouraging the government “not to allow any major industrial projects without prior settlement of the land claims. We would also want these settlements to proceed by negotiation rather than imposition, without requiring the extinguishment of claims to aboriginal rights.” In 1999, in a letter to Jane Stewart, then Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, concerning hydro-electric developments on the lands of the Pimickimak Cree Nation, MCC Canada wrote, “We are concerned that the hydro-electricity we have used to power our homes […]

Tear down these walls

August 2, 2019 Eliza Mull

Humanity’s fixation with walls can be traced back to the world’s first recorded civilization – the Sumerians, who built a border wall circa 2100 B.C. – and is seen repeatedly throughout history in examples such as the Great Wall of China, the Long Walls of Athens and the Berlin Wall. Walls typically symbolize a power imbalance: Constructed by a dominant group, walls often block or suppress a weaker adversary, reinforce unjust policies and lead to human rights violations. Today, the U.S.-built wall just north of the U.S.-Mexico border serves as a formidable “No Admittance” sign but fails to be a […]