Sophia's Peace Work

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The following reflection was written by Tom Fox the day before he was abducted.

Why are We Here?
By Tom Fox
December 3, 2005

The Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Iraq team went through a discernment process, seeking to identify aspects of our work here in Iraq that are compelling enough to continue the project and comparing them with the costs (financial, psychological, physical) that are also aspects of the project. It was a healthy exercise, but it led me to a somewhat larger question: Why are we here?

If I understand the message of God, his response to that question is that we are to take part in the creation of the Peaceable Realm of God. Again, if I understand the message of God, how we take part in the creation of this realm is to love God with all our heart, our
mind and our strength and to love our neighbors and enemies as we love God and ourselves. In its essential form, different aspects of love bring about the creation of the realm.

I have read that the word in the Greek Bible that is translated as "love" in the word "agape". Again, I have read that this word is best expressed as a profound respect for all human beings simply for the fact that they are all God's children. I would state that idea in a somewhat different way, as "never thinking or doing anything that would dehumanize one of my fellow human beings."

As I survey the landscape here in Iraq, dehumanization seems to be the operative means of relating to each other. U.S. forces in their quest to hunt down and kill "terrorists" are as a result of this dehumanizing word, not only killing "terrorist", but also killing
innocent Iraqis: men, women and children in the various towns and villages.

It seems as if the first step down the road to violence is taken when I dehumanize a person. That violence might stay within my thoughts or find its way into the outer world and become expressed verbally, psychologically, structurally or physically. As soon as I
rob a fellow human being of his or her humanity by sticking a dehumanizing label on them, I begin the process that can have, as an end result, torture, injury and death.

"Why are we here?" We are here to root out all aspects of dehumanization that exists within us. We are here to stand with those being dehumanized by oppressors and stand firm against that dehumanization. We are here to stop people, including ourselves,
from dehumanizing any of God's children, no matter how much they dehumanize their own souls.


  • You are entirely correct about dehumanization being the first step towards violence. It was for the "gooks" in Vietnam; it was for the Jews in Germany in the 30's and 40's; for "Huns" supposedly bayonetting babies in 1915, and so on and so forth back into time immemorial. Goebbels was an expert, and Ellul elucidated the principles in Propaganda. That the US is doing it now, is no surprise to anyone who's read Noam Chomsky or any of the other brave social critics of the Land of the Spree and the Home of the Rave. Thank you for your updates, and for helping to keep things straight, amongst the twisted lies of the US government.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 05, 2005 2:59 AM  

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