"Would you like something to read on peace?" I asked the taxi driver as I had done probably a half a dozen times to taxi drivers in my trip to Bogota. He responded, "Sure, I am always interested in reading." I told him about Peace Pilgrim's 28 years walking and sharing about peace in the USA and gave him a Peace Pilgrim booklet.
And than I said, "You know I am sorry to say that I feel a lot of the conflict here in Colombia is caused by the million dollars a day my government gives in military aid to Colombia. Can you imagine the lobbying being done to keep the war going by the big US corporations who are supplying those arms?" He responded, "That has been my analysis too. It seems your government wants to keep the war going for the business it generates."
I am reading Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins. It is about Perkins' life of working to convince governments of poor countries to go into debt to do large electrification projects. Perkins would manipulate the numbers to convince governments to accept the project, which would make government leaders very wealthy. The interest from these loans would than saddle the people of the country with a debt forever to the World Bank and other such institutions. In the process, numerous big corporations like Bechtel and Halliburton make the profits by doing the work in the deal. This book is the story of Perkins coming to see how his work was causing great poverty and suffering for many people, eventually causing him to quit his job.
It was a very depressing book at times, until I came to realize that bringing this evil to the light is an important part of God's work to overcome this darkness and transform the world. I've had to remind myself several times of this in order to keep reading. I also had to go back to the "what you can do about it" section so as not to lose hope. Four times he started writing the book, but always quit for fear of reprisals. Perkins only finished the book after his daughter told him, "If they get you I will see that the truth gets out."
I give thanks for the negotiated settlement that was worked out between the Latin American Presidents. Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise be to God!
People here were glued to the TV watching the negotiations. The people did not want more war. Pray this will help leaders see that talking is much better for making peace than military action.
I also give thanks for working things through with the CPT team. It has given me a sense of peace, and I sense this has helped keep depression away.
Before we came to a decision for me not to do presentations in Colombia, a teacher told me, "You have a standing invitation to speak to my 120 students. Let me know when you can do it." So I asked the team how I should respond and they said, "You should say yes."
So pray for the three slide presentations I will be doing at a local high school with the help of another CPTer and a Colombian friend. Pray that the Lord would speak to the students in the presentations and literature we will give them as they decide whether they should comply with the mandatory military service required by the government. Upon graduation, about 50% of the boys will join the military. The military has been doing irregular recruiting here in Barrancabermeja, by going through the streets in trucks and picking up any male youth. They detain them if they cannot show that they have completed their military service or that they are exempt for various reasons, including being a conscientious objector.
Peace to you today,
JimHere I am during a recent Opon visit in a shelter where we sleep. It was one of those sticky nights that did not cool off very much. When we arrived it was pitch black, so the head light I am wearing (a gift from my daughter Emily) really was a big help in putting up the mosquito net and tent. You can see the school in the background. The more than 25 chiggers and mosquito bites on my body I am still nursing with Vicks, which stops the itching.