Sophia's Peace Work

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Various perspectives

The following are two very different statements made in relation to kidnapping and the four CPT kidnap victims ... The first an excerpt from an email of a friend of mine on the CPT team in Baghdad. The latter is from a former Iraqi student of mine at the University of Baghdad's College of English (with only slight English correction ... he was a good student). This person is now working as a translator/reporter for a western news agency.

Today I bring you no new revelations of my own, no startling theological clarity. Rather, I bring you a bit of my day, spent mostly thinking about my 4 CPT colleagues still held in captivity by their kidnappers, praying for them, planning what we will do when they are released, entertaining all sorts of rumors about where they are/what their fate has been, talking about what we can do (tacitly acknowledging that there is very little we can do but wait).

Some see their captivity as directly linked to the United States occupation. I understand the thinking, but I am much more simple. All violence has a context; every violent act has a reason or justification. 'Because he/she made me' is as old as the school yard or perhaps even the womb. Cain's anger was its own justification; and how many sermons admit that it is far easier to understand Cain than God in the Genesis account of the death of Abel. 'Why did God favor Abel?' we ask, as if somehow the life of Abel can be accounted for, the violence and its injury erased by looking elsewhere than Cain's hand for our answers. I am, as I said, simplistic (also, I am an only child :-)

Would my friends have been kidnapped if the United States had not invaded Iraq? The truth is probably not. Does that vitiate the very real violence that was done to them at the hands of their captors by their taking? No. What do we do with that?

Falling down and getting up, time after time after time, we pray and we wait. It is the waiting that is hardest of all.

Please keep Tom Fox, Jim Loney, Norman Kember and Harmeet Sooden, their families and friends, along with all those held in captivity of various kinds and their families and the people of Iraq who continue each day in the captivity of war and violence, in your prayers. We have seen Tom and Jim, Norman and Harmeet in recent video footage, confirming that they are alive, an answer to our prayers; but they are very thin and threats against them continue.

And this is from my former student:

Did you see the videotape of the American female journalist, Jill Caroll yesterday night? Oh God I can't beleive it. She was wearing a white Islamic scarf and she was weeping. I can't bear this. I have a feeling that they will release her. I hope this (by the way, I liked her and I can't see her crying). But the thing that made me feel that they will release her is that why [would] they dress her like a Muslim lady? This sign made me draw [the] conclusion that she will be released and I am praying for this...

... I hope that [something will happen for] Tom Fox and the other guys in CPT but in my view they are idiots because how can a foreigners drive out in the streets without guards?!! I hope they will be o.k.

I'm not sure about this but I believe that the female journalist was also without a guard ... I think she had only a translator and driver with her? But perhaps her translator was armed? Even so, it didn't do them much good to resist, as he was killed trying to protect her. I know that CPT, as a peace organization, would reject traveling with armed guards. It goes against their philosophy. Idiots or not.


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