April 5, 2007
“For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65: 17a)I met Dr. Chandu Claver, in March as part of an ecumenical delegation of Church leaders and human rights activists from the Philippines who were on a global tour appealing for support for their campaign to stop the harassment, intimidation and political killings of human rights defenders in the Philippines. The delegation courageously told of the more than 800 church leaders, human rights defenders, Indigenous peoples, members of progressive organisations, peasant and trade union leaders and lawyers who have been assassinated since 2001 in the Philippine government’s counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism strategies. Among the 800 killed was Alice Claver, Dr. Claver’s wife, who was killed in an assassination attempt on her husband. Dr. Claver, known as a doctor of the masses, is a staunch advocate for human rights, justice and peace. He chairs the provincial chapter of Bayan Muna, a grass-roots political party in the Philippines, which, with other church and community leaders has been calling for political investigations into assassinations of community leaders.
Dr. Claver gave an emotional account of his wife’s murder in the assassination attempt.
I have never met Alice, but I remember her this Easter. I remember her when I hear Isaiah’s prophecy “For behold I am about to create new heavens and a new earth”. Out of Alice’s death and the hundreds of other innocent lives lost, a new earth, a new Philippines, is being imagined.
Isaiah prophesises a future that is not yet fully in place. A new earth Ã¢â‚¬” where children live out their years, where labourers build and inhabit their homes, where farmers plant and eat Ã¢â‚¬” is possible. An earth, where Alice and Chandu can safely deliver their children to school. An earth, where church leaders can safely preach the bold message of the Gospel. An earth, where Indigenous peoples control their lives, land and governance. The revelation of this new earth of Isaiah’s prophecy is our collective work.
It is the work of advocating for human rights, fair trade, and debt cancellation; commitment to appropriate levels of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) and fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); and gender and racial justice.
Part of an ecumenical delegation, Dr. Claver, has spoken to church leaders and government representatives around the world and United Nations members calling for solidarity and joint action. The delegation is calling on partners, such as The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund and the Anglican Church of Canada, to fulfill the prophesy of a new earth.
PWRDF continues to work in long-term partnership with organisations committed to peace, justice and human rights in the Philippines, and around the world, so that God’s creative presence will make tangible the promise of a nation’s joy.Wish you all a Happy Easter!