Sophia's Peace Work

Friday, November 05, 2004

This was just sent to me from Drishtipat, a human rights group in Bangladesh. Now that I'm in the U.S. I hadn't even heard of this particular kidnapping of two truck drivers (one from Bangladesh and the other from Sri Lanka) and it illustrates a rather insidious problem about Iraq. It has become so dangerous in Iraq for workers from the coalition countries (not to mention workers from the surrounding countries like Jordan, Kuwait and Turkey), that there is an employment gap. Goods and equipment still need to be brought into the country and someone will bring them in. Many who are willing to take the risk and fill this employment gap are people from the poorest countries who have come to the Middle East in the hopes of supporting their families back at home.

But what will the kidnapping of men like Abul Kashem Faruk and Dinesh Dharmendran Rajaratnam bring to the Resistance in Iraq? Certainly in the U.S., given our general unwillingness to even pay attention to the deaths of Iraqis, they'll be luckly to get a footnote on the back pages of a few local papers that were scrounging around to pad out their papers. I'm sad to say I wonder if they will even get that.

My prayers go out to Mr. Faruk, Mr. Rajaratnam and their family. And my prayers also go out to those that have taken them. Perhaps they have good reason to resist the occupiers but punishing the poor and the weak for the mistakes of the wealthy and the powerful seems more than pointless ... it seems impossibly cruel and sad.

AN APPEAL FOR THE RELEASE OF ABUL KASHEM FARUK, A BANGLADESHI KIDNAPPED IN IRAQ

We earnestly appeal to all Iraqi groups for the release of our compatriot, Mr. Abul Kashem Faruk. On behalf of the Bangladeshi people and ourselves, we urge and plead for the release of Mr. Faruk in the name of our common humanity and brotherly compassion.

We call upon various Iraqi groups to have mercy on Mr. Faruk and release him because he is a civilian who had neither any intention of nor had any part in harming the Iraqi people in any manner.

We believe that the kidnapping of an innocent Bangladeshi civilian does not serve the cause of Iraqi resistance or the country's freedom from foreign occupation. Mr. Faruk is a truck driver from Bangladesh. He went to Iraq in search of a livelihood so that he could support his family in Bangladesh with his meager remittances. Unfortunately, he is reported to have been recently kidnapped by some Iraqi group.

We urge the Iraqi people and Iraqi civilian groups to exert themselves for the release of Mr. Faruk. We request all those involved in this matter to do their utmost to have Mr. Faruk released as soon as possible and end the anxiety of his family and friends.

We also urge all Iraqi groups to end the kidnappings of civilians. These bring bad and hurtful publicity for Iraq's rightful bid for freedom from foreign occupation.

We like to point out that the people of Bangladesh, in solidarity with the people of Iraq, have consistently and vigorously opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the cultural and historical pride of us all.

Our country, Bangladesh, is a member of the Non-aligned Movement and the Organization of Islamic Conference. Bangladesh is one of the world's most important Muslim-majority countries.

Bangladeshis of all religion and faith have served in the past as professionals, military advisors, doctors, engineers, and workers in Iraq and have made their modest contributions in the service of and to the development of Iraq.

The people of Bangladesh have always favored peace and understanding among the nations of the Middle East and have resolutely opposed unjust wars and illegal foreign occupations. The government of Bangladesh, for its part, had also worked for resolving the Iran-Iraq conflict years ago. It has vehemently opposed foreign aggression during both Gulf Wars and the genocidal UN sanctions against Iraq.

The people of Bangladesh wholeheartedly support Iraqi people's struggle for freedom from tyranny of occupation and their claim for adequate reparations and full reconstruction of Iraq.

Bangladeshis believe that it is the Iraq people who rightfully ought to exercise sovereignty over their country and have full control of their rich resources.

We hope and pray that the concerned Iraqi groups will release Mr. Abul Kashem Faruk and all other civilians kidnapped in accordance with the pledged values of Arabs and Muslims that civilians should never be harmed.

The release of Mr. Faruk would be considered a magnanimous humanitarian gesture by the Bangladeshi people.

Therefore, we urge the concerned Iraqi groups to release him and earn the gratitude of us all who stand with Iraq shoulder to shoulder in its hour of crisis.

We pray for the safe return of our compatriot.

- Drishtipat

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