01 December 2005

Define 'reckless'

A New York Times story (November 29) included the following assessment: "A human rights advocate in Baghdad, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Christian Peacemaker Teams have acted with reckless disregard for their own safety by moving unprotected through communities generally hostile to the foreign presence. The rights advocate said the group's representatives were entering mosques in predominantly Sunni neighborhoods to offer their services in helping find missing family members, were accompanying families fleeing to the border, and were trying to organize prison visits for relatives of inmates."

Does anyone else see a disconnect between the first and the second sentence of this quotation?

Everything we have heard from participants in the Christian Peacemaker Teams demonstrates that their "disregard for their own safety" was anything but reckless. (If I understand correctly, "reck-less" means "without reckoning.") For a beautiful example of the documented reckoning of the CPTers, see Jim Loney's reflection, "A tale of two fathers," in the CPT archives. Jim is one of those still being held at this time.

My interpretation of their reckoning: There is no true community and no true security outside the realm of love.


Nancy A said...

It amazes me how differently this story is being covered in different countries. I check the BBC and CBC sites frequently for updates on the unfolding situation. It is always either the top story or the second-to-top story, with great interest in the peace philosophy of the captives, with none of the bristling indignation being reported in the States.

The CNN website is not carrying the story at all. Truth, they say, is always the first casualty of war.

But the Light is stronger. How heartening it has been to see the response of the Iraqi Sunni community and the Palestinian community to this kidnapping, as well as the British muslim community. By being faithful to the Light and to their calling, these four men have drawn the world's attention to the Light, and in the world's darkest place.

Lorcan said...

Dear Friends: I recieved this from Chuck Fager, a Friend and friend of Tom's. Chucks daughter and some of Tom's friends worshiped with us this first day, and are waiting with sadness, and with faith and courage. Please consider the following letter from Chuck.
From: CHUCKFAGER@aol.com
Sent: Dec 2, 2005 12:15 PM
To: qpr@quaker.org
Subject: Free Tom Fox! New Website & ACTION Steps

Dear Friend--

We are Quakers and admirers of Tom Fox, kidnapped in Iraq with three other
peaceworkers on Nov. 26. Please join us in taking action aimed at helping free
them, safely and soon. Joining together through the web, we can keep their
plight and innocence before the world, and their captors.

To this end, we have put up a new website: _http://freethecaptivesnow.org/_

We believe that the most help those outside Iraq can be to these prisoners
is to make clear to the world, and especially their captors, that they were in
Iraq NOT as spies, military contractors, or even missionaries, but as
unarmed advocates of peace, justice, and reconciliation.

They have done no wrong, and deserve to be free and safe. We call on their
captors to let them go, now.

If you agree, here are the specific steps we advocate. Time is of the

1. Visit the website: _www.freethecaptivesnow.org_
(http://www.freethecaptivesnow.org/) There you can sign a special petition page, aimed at the captors.
You can also link there to Tom Fox's Iraq blog.

2. Hold a public vigil or prayer service focused on the call, expressed in
your own words, to release the captives, end the occupation and stop torture.
Join with like-minded groups, and invite the media to attend and report on
your action.

3. Write to newspapers, call in to radio shows, and tell them of the
innocence of these peaceworkers and your support for their immediate release.
Mention the website!

4. Send emails to the feedback pages of media such as Al-Jazeera, Al Arabiya
and other major national and international media, especially in the Gulf
region (any other links??), repeating the call to free the captives.

5. If you are part of a group or church with a peace and justice emphasis,
ask them to join this effort in whatever public way is appropriate to their

6. Let us know what you are doing.

7. VERY IMPORTANT - Pass this message on! Tell your friends about the
_www.freethecaptivesnow.org_ (http://www.freethecaptivesnow.org/) website,
petition, and action suggestions..

With your email help, we can quickly reach supporters of peace and justice
throughout the world. Together our voices can make a powerful chorus for
freeing the captives and ending the war.

As this urgent effort continues, we'll be updating the site. They have done
no wrong, and deserve to be free and safe. We call on their captors to let
them go, now.

Thank you and Peace,

Chuck Fager & John Stephens

Johan Maurer said...

In the USA, some observers and pundits have apparently become so corrupted that their silence would be better than their "coverage" of the CPT story from Iraq. (Here's the Christianity Today weblog from last week with links to some examples. I dare not visit the linked articles and their "cheerful" coverage of our friends' agony.)

The temptation to abandon a prayerful stance and just scream bloody murder at such rhetoric is almost more than I can bear. I have to keep reminding myself: "Cynicism is spiritual poison. Cynicism is spiritual poison. Cynicism is ......"

Johan Maurer said...

PS: Another international call for prayer:

Four Christian Pacifists In the Hands of Islamic Terrorist Group

By Wolfgang Polzer
Special to ASSIST News Service

HEIDELBERG (ANS) -- Mennonites are calling for worldwide prayer on behalf of four kidnapped members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq. An Islamic terrorist group called “Swords of Righteousness” abducted two Canadians, one US-citizen and a Briton, November 29.

They are threatening to kill their victims if the Iraqi and US authorities do not release all imprisoned Iraqis by December 8. Their demands are included in a video aired by the Arabian TV channel Al Jazeera.

The German Mennonite Peace Committee in Bammental near Heidelberg supports the international call for prayer. Christians should intercede for all victims of violence in Iraq, for soldiers, rebels and criminals who kidnap persons for political or financial gain.

US-President George W. Bush and his administration should also be included in prayers, so that they may face up to their responsibility for the tangled situation, according to the prayer call.

The oldest victim is the 74-year-old medical scientist Norman Kember from London. He was accompanied by Tom Fox (54) from Clearbrook, Virginia, and the Canadians James Loney (41) and Harmeet Singh Sooden (32).

The peacemakers are originally a Mennonite initiative. Pacifists from other churches have joined them. The prayer initiative also mentions the German Muslim Susanne Osthoff, who was abducted with her Iraqi driver, November 25. No contact has so far been made with their kidnappers.
Wolfgang Polzer (55), is senior news editor of the Evangelical News Agency idea, Wetzlar (Germany), which he joined in 1981. His previous work included four years in the editorial department of the Salvation Army in Germany. In all, he has spent 28 years in Christian media. Wolfgang can be contacted by e-mail at: Wolfgang.Polzer@idea.de.

** You may republish this story with proper attribution.