Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christian Peacemaker Teams - Tom Fox /non-wire

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Austin peace activist talks about kidnapped colleagues in Iraq/Austin American-Statesman/Austin/TX/USA/14-Dec-05/….Tell me about Tom Fox. You said you just met him, in September.

Jim had been a Marine, and I'm always a little suspicious of military people in the peace movement. But it turns out he's this sweet, gentle guy. The typical Quaker. Very self-effacing. But he's very experienced on the ground; he's been to Fallujah two or three times this year already. . . . He's more willing to go into an extremely dangerous situation with the attitude of, "Well, let's see how dangerous it is, and if I get killed, I get killed, but let's test it out to see if it's really that bad." ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Kember, Norman/Hostage believed Iraq peace mission was worth the risk/Times Online/London/England/USA/13-Dec-05/…As Britain anxiously awaits news of Norman Kember, the kidnapped British hostage, our correspondent recalls his meeting last year with Mr Kember’s fellow hostage and peace activist, Tom Fox

EVEN the nervous laughter was subdued, stifled by the gloom and candle smoke from a shrine to the recently-kidnapped Briton Margaret Hassan, a frequent visitor widely believed to have been executed.

This spacious but frugal apartment was the Baghdad home of the Peacemaker Teams, a four-member team of Christian peace campaigners who were among the last Westerners living unprotected in the Iraqi capital. They were concealed from the world’s most ruthless jihadists only by a thin wooden door and the discretion of kindly neighbours. This was the worst of times, just after the kidnap of the Briton Kenneth Bigley, and Mr Fox proved the most tenacious of the group, one of the two to remain in Baghdad when others pulled out.

Asked what it would take to drive them from Baghdad, Mr Fox, a Quaker from Virginia, said: “We constantly evaluated our security, tightening up where and when we went. We felt that even an absolute minimum presence here would contribute to making the situation better. We decided it was worth the risk.” Surrounded by hostile forces it would have been easy to develop a siege mentality but their situation was the reverse: a steadfast collection of people surrounded by well-wishers urging them to leave.

This included taking witness accounts of the coalition’s abuse of Iraqi detainees, meeting with Sunni and Shia leaders, working with Fallujah refugees and children in schools and exploring the establishment of a Muslim Peacemaker Teams. They also collected personal ‘testimony’ from ordinary Iraqis to inform the debate back in the US.

Some thought they were foolhardy, not least western diplomats alarmed by their insistence on staying outside the Green Zone without armed protection. Indeed the British Embassy’s repeated warnings finally persuaded one British member to quit Baghdad within the last few months. But whether imprudent or not, they were by no means naïve about the danger. “It is worth the risk,” said Mr Fox’s colleague Sheila Provencher, now anxiously awaiting news of his fate. “Being here opens up space for listening, for relationships.”

Mr Fox, however, said quietly: “We have two criteria for leaving. If we get the sense from a majority of our contacts and partners that our presence here creates a danger for them and if (we) feel a very strong internal sense of danger.” So insistent were they on non-violence, even if they were kidnapped, Ms Provencher said: “We don't want any violent repercussions, we don’t want any ransom paid, we don’t want any military rescue.” ...

Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Otway, Lorcan/An Open Letter to our Brothers holding Tom Fox and other CPT .../ York/NY/USA/3-Dec-05/It is early morning in America. I am a Quaker and I am trying to find words to stay your hand. I can only say that hatred is blind and love is unconditional. ...

Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Guilford College/Carter, Max/The strength of silence/Greensboro News Record/Greensboro/NC/USA/9-Dec-05/…. "Tom," of course, is Tom Fox, the American and Quaker who was kidnapped two weeks ago in Baghdad along with three other peace activists who were documenting human rights abuses against Iraqis. His captors have threatened to kill the four, members of an anti-war group called Peace Keeper Teams, if all Iraqi prisoners detained in the U.S. and abroad are not released by today.

Tom's daughter Kassie, who has declined all requests for interviews, is a Guilford College graduate.

Her dad has spent lots of time on the tree-lined campus, where he made new friends and nurtured long-term friendships with Quakers from his past.

Here, in this room, on a lower floor of Dana Auditorium, people from various faith communities in the city -- Catholics, Jews, Greek Orthodox, Presbyterians -- have come and gone during the daylong prayer vigil. Each takes to the hard wooden benches in silence, in the Quaker tradition of worship, during which people speak only when they are led to say something.

Rabbi Fred Guttman of Temple Emanuel. Westminster Presbyterian's Suzanne Henderson. Jan Greene of Liberty Friends Meeting. Others.

"It says this is not just a Quaker thing -- but all are deeply moved by the situation," says Max Carter, director of campus ministries. Carter helped organize the vigil, extended through today when the captors extended their deadline from Thursday until today.

"The confrontation of agape love," Carter says, "with unmitigated evil is a challenge to all of us."….

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Truth/Deadlines Pass, No Word On Peace Activist Hostages/ The lay leader of American hostage Tom Fox's Quaker congregation said Fox and his British and Canadian comrades "went to Iraq to find truth" and "give voice to ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Keffer-King, Leslie/As Deadline Passes, Friends Of Iraqi Hostage Wait And Hope/Harrisonburg Daily News Record/Harrisonburg/VA/USA/12-Dec-05/... his fate. "Everybody’s concerned," said Harrisonburg resident Leslie Keffer-King, 22, who, like Fox, is a Quaker. "Everyone is ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Bacon, Anne/The Winchester Star/Winchester Star/Winchester/VA/USA/12-Dec-05/... “We’re taking that as a hopeful sign,” said Anne Bacon, a Quaker and clerk of the Hopewell Centre Meeting, which Fox often attended. ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Epstein, Marge/In Their Hour of Need, Prayer/Los Angeles Times/Los Angeles/CA/USA/11-Dec-05/By Sonni Efron, Times Staff Writer. McLEAN, Va. — In the plain, white room where Tom Fox had attended Quaker meetings, his friends greeted the deadline laid ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Amid Hostage Vigils, Peace Work Endures/The Nation/New York/NY/USA/11-Dec-05/….Based on that, perhaps it was only a matter of time before some of CPT's members fell victim to the same fate as so many other westerners and Iraqis. On November 26, four CPT workers were abducted in Baghdad--James Loney, 41, a community worker and advocate for the homeless in Toronto; Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, an electrical engineer from Montreal now pursuing graduate studies in Australia; Tom Fox, 54, a Quaker human rights worker from Clearbrook, Virginia; and Norman Kember, 74, a retired professor of medicine from London. Since then, prayer vigils and events calling for their release have been held across the United States, Canada and Europe. ….

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Canada/Vigils held for hostages in Iraq/Globe and Mail/Toronto/Ontario/Canada/11-Dec-05/... 41, Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, formerly of Montreal, American Tom Fox, 54, and ... and Toronto-based organization backed by the Brethren, Quaker and Mennonite ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Colleague keeps hopes alive for peace activists held in Iraq/Buffalo News/Buffalo/NY/USA/10-Dec-05/… A deadline had been set for Thursday, but last-minute negotiations pushed it to at least today.

Kern, who has put up photographs of her four colleagues, said she is friends with Fox, 54, a Quaker from Virginia, and is close with Loney, 41, a Catholic community worker from Toronto.

"Tom is very funny," Kern said of Fox. "He says surprising and unexpected things."

Fox had been a member of the Marine Corps band during the Vietnam War.

"But he never handled weapons," she said.

Kern said she shares an especially strong bond ….

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Local group rallies for Iraqi hostages/News 14/Charlotte/NC/USA/9-Dec-05/... rally. "They live among the people.”. One of the four hostages, 54-year-old Tom Fox, is a Quaker from Clear Brook, Va. Two are ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Smith, Doug/Support for Fox/Burke Connection/Burke/VA/USA/8-Dec-05/…. Vigil attendees pray as deadline extended for four hostages in ... ….

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Smith, Doug/Support for Fox/Fairfax Connection/Fairfax/VA/USA/8-Dec-05/… To the Editor:
Tom Fox, now being held captive in Iraq, is a beloved and long-standing member of our Quaker worship community. One of our strongly held beliefs is that if we listen, God can guide our lives. Before Tom went to Iraq, we considered with him his sense that he was being inspired by God to do what he could to relieve the suffering of individual Iraqis and to serve peace and justice. We were aware of the danger he faced. He went with our support and continues to have our support and love. We know Tom very well and can affirm that he is neither a spy nor an evangelist.
The tenets of our Quaker faith ask us to work for peace in the world and to respect that of God in everyone. That is what led Tom to go to Iraq. We believe strongly in justice, mercy and peace. We opposed this war as we oppose all wars. We believe in a God that is compassionate and merciful, as do the people of Iraq.
We ask you as an act of justice, mercy and devotion to release Tom and the other Christian Peacemaker Team members so that they can continue their work on behalf of those who suffer.
Releasing the captives, so that they can continue to serve the Iraqi people, would be an act of dignity and courage.

Doug Smith, Clerk
Langley Hill Monthly Meeting ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Vigil attendees pray as deadline extended for four hostages in .../Winnipeg Free Press/Winnepeg/Saskatchewan/Canada/8-Dec-05/... went overseas as part of the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), a 17-year-old antiwar organization with rich Manitoba ties to the Mennonite, Quaker and Brethren ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq have no political agenda/Fort Wayne News Sentinel/Fort Wayne/IN/USA/7-Dec-05/Tom Fox is a very reflective person. He is a Quaker from Clearbrook, Va., the father of two grown children an accomplished musician and a great cook. I met him in August 2004 at Clam Lake, Wis., as he was undergoing training to become a full-time CPT worker. I saw him again in Chicago this past summer while I was doing my training. He had already spent much of the year in Iraq and went back in early September.

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Death date at hand for hostages in Iraq/Edmonton Journal/Edmonton/Alberta/Canada/7-Dec-05/Fox, a Quaker resident of Springfield, Va., adds: "We feel that continued British and American occupation is not in the best interest of the Iraqi people."

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Fager, Chuck/A fight for the life of a friend/Fayetteville Online/Fayetteville/NC/USA/7-Dec-05/…Fager is a personal friend of one of four Christian activists taken hostage nearly two weeks ago in Iraq. Fager met Tom Fox, a 54-year-old from Virginia, when they attended the same Quaker meetings for years near Washington. The captors have threatened to kill the activists if Iraqi prisoners aren’t released by Saturday.

“Six days a week, my work here is a matter of principle and conviction,” said Fager, head of the Fayetteville Quaker House. “This stuff ... it’s personal and family, as well.” ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Light Within/Activist speaks at vigil for colleagues in Iraq/Charleston Gazette/Charleston/WV/USA/7-Dec-05/… The kidnappers have claimed the hostages were spies. On Wednesday, Al-Jazeera television reported that the kidnappers extended the deadline for killing the four peace activists from today to Saturday.

In Baghdad, Pyles worked closely with Fox.

“Tom is a very quiet man, very introspective,” said Pyles, a former lawyer now looking for a job as a minister. “He’s very tied to the notion of the light within, which is part of the Quaker tradition.”

Pyles, an unpaid worker with the Christian peace group, disputed President Bush’s recent statements about progress in Iraq. ….

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Graedon, Terry/People of peace/News & Observer/Durham/NC/USA/7-Dec-05/… As a local Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), we stand for peace, love and friendship with all persons. This is the spirit in which the Christian Pacemaker Teams (CPT) work. The four members of the CPT who were taken hostage in Iraq recently are there to offer an organized nonviolent alternative to war.

Tom Fox, the American member of CPT, is known to our Meeting and to many Triangle residents as a kind and gentle man who has borne a long and hazardous witness for peace in the Middle East. CPT, which was working with Iraqi groups and is not involved in missionary work, had just met with local leaders to discuss human rights abuses when they were seized.

These people of faith are not looking to become martyrs. Waging peace is every bit as dangerous as waging war, and they are willing to lay their lives on the line as soldiers do who go to war. They took personal responsibility when heading for Iraq, understanding the risks inherent in living and working in a war zone.

As they would wish, we pray for those who persecute them. We also keep the CPT hostages in our thoughts and prayers.

Clerk, Durham Friends Meeting

Durham ….

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Guilford/Quaker captive has Guilford College ties/Greensboro News Record/Greensboro/NC/USA/7-Dec-05/... of the four Christian peace activists taken hostage by insurgent Iraqis was already a familiar face at Guilford College and in the local Quaker community now ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Canadian hostages: 'We are both well' treated well/National Post/Toronto/Ontario/Canada/7-Dec-05/... Mr. Fox, a Quaker resident of Springfield, Va., adds: "We feel that continued British and American occupation is not in the best interest of the Iraqi people.". ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Langley Hill Meeting/Peace Makers Held Hostage in Iraq/The Baltimore Chronicle/Baltimore/MD/USA/7-Dec-05/... invasion and occupation of Iraq. Tom Fox is a Quaker and a member of Langley Hill Meeting in Virginia. The Christian Peacemaker Teams ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Guilford/Vigil Held For Iraq Hostage/WFMY News 2/Greensboro/NC/USA/7-Dec-05/... Fox is a peace activist working with the "Christian peacemaker team.". He's active with the Quaker community at Guilford College and in Virginia. ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Langley Hill Meeting/More Time for Va. Hostage/Washington Post/Washington/DC/USA/7-Dec-05/... calls. Tom Fox, a Quaker, is a longtime member of the Langley Hills Friends Meeting in McLean, which organized last night's vigil. ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Ecumenical/Ramallah Palestinian Leaders Call for Iraq Civilian Hostage .../BBSNews/Charlotte/NC/USA/6-Dec-05/Christian Peacemaker Teams is a program of Brethren, Quaker and Mennonite Churches (USA and Canada). The Baptist Peace Fellowship, Every Church a Peace Church, On Earth Peace and The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship are also sponsors of CPT. Christians from other bodies in the ecumenical Christian community are particpants in the 40 member full time Christian Peacemaker Corps and the part time 125 member Reserve Corps. CPTNet is the collective information source used for this story.

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Fox, Katherine/Iraq extremists threaten to kill US hostage/Mail & Guardian Online/Johannesburg/South Africa/Africa/6-Dec-05/…Canadians James Loney (41) and Harmeet Singh Sooden (32) were abducted in Baghdad along with Briton Norman Kember (74) and US national Tom Fox (54).

Fox's daughter Katherine Fox told ABC news Tuesday her Quaker father felt "so welcomed by all the Iraqi people, how well his neighbors took care of him, a guest in their country."

"I do not think a loss of his life benefits their cause," she told ABC news. ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Temperance/CPT's Tom Fox, now a captive in Iraq, was a graduate of .../Tennessee Independent Media/Chattanooga/TN/USA/6-Dec-05/…. Fox, 54, the father of two children, eventually became a pacifist and a Quaker, opposed the Vietnam War, and in 2004 joined Christian Peacemaker Teams, becoming part of its Iraq presence. He was abducted by an Iraqi insurgent group called the Swords of Righteousness Brigade on Nov. 26, which holds him captive along with two Canadians and a British member of the team.

Former high school friends described Fox as quiet, unusual, a person who refused to drink or smoke, and who was opposed to the Vietnam War, the Times Free Press article said. “He didn’t like war at all. He thought it was a stupid thing to do,” according to John Roberson, an Ooltewah jeweler quoted by the newspaper. “When everybody else joined (the military), he would say ‘Nope, I’m not going.”

Fox, who lived in Clear Brook, VA, was also described as a vegetarian cook who had attended a 2004 class in nonviolent action at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, VA. In Iraq, he was a team coordinator of eight people, a full-time CPT volunteer on his third mission to the strife-torn region.

Jessica Phillips, CPT’s personnel coordinator, was quoted as describing Fox as “one of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.” He was to have returned from his current mission this month, she said. “We don’t want this to turn into a violent situation in any way, because this really goes against what our mission is,” Phillips was quoted as saying.

Christian Peacemaker Teams had posted on its list serve Fox’s “most recent reflection” on Iraq on Dec. 2, written the day before he was abducted. It is titled “Why are we here?” and is quoted below:

“The Christian Peacemaker Team (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? …..

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Langley Hill Meeting/Deadline for Hostages Nears/Winchester Star/Winchester/VA/USA/6-Dec-05/… “We, as Quakers, write because Tom Fox lived among us and was our friend ... He is in Iraq to help you, the Iraqi people,” said a statement from Hopewell Centre Meeting, where Fox often attended service.

“He came to Iraq armed with love to wage peace. We pray for the release of all those being held.”

Members of the Hopewell Centre Meeting held a service for Fox and the other hostages to hold them “in the light” Nov 30.

The Langley Hill Meeting, where Fox was a member, and Eastern Mennonite University also held vigils for Fox, praising his commitment to non-violence.

In a fresh statement, the Langley Hill Meeting described Fox as a beloved and longstanding member of the Quaker community.

“The tenets of our Quaker faith ask us to work for peace in the world ... That is what led Tom to Iraq.”

“We ask you as an act of justice, mercy, and devotion to release Tom and the other Christian Peacemaker Team members so that they can continue to work on the behalf of those who suffer,” the statement read.

The Langley Hill Meeting will be holding a 24-hour vigil at its meeting house in McLean starting at 4 p.m. today. ….

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Pacifist/Peace activist held hostage in Iraq attended school in ET/Knoxville News Sentinel/Knoxville/TN/USA/6-Dec-05/... After high school, Fox went on to become a clarinetist with the Marine Corps Band in Washington. He also became a Quaker and a committed pacifist.

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Prayer/Couple praying for Canadian hostage/Brockville Recorder and Times/Brockville/Quebec/Canada/5-Dec-05/... "I'm sure he's taking the opportunity to teach them what (the peacemakers) is about.". The Christian Peacemakers Team is a Quaker organization based in Chicago. ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Mathison, Hilde/The Winchester Star/Winchester Star/Winchester/VA/USA/1-Dec-05/Hilde Mathison sat with her eyes closed and her hands loosely clasped in her lap as she “held in the light” fellow Quaker Tom Fox of Clearbrook — one of ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Iraq hostages 'not missionaries'/Chicago Daily Southtown/Chicago/IL/USA/1-Dec-05/….Founded in 1988, the organization is supported by several Quaker and Protestant denominations, including the Mennonite church, who see their religion as antithetical to war-making and violence. It has sent peace activists into war zones in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Haiti, and still operates in Colombia and Hebron.

The organization has had four- to seven-person Peacemaker Teams in Baghdad since October 2002, and has maintained a consistent presence there ever since. It has about 160 members worldwide.

'We are not missionaries'

The group adamantly opposes the current Iraq war. It issued a statement saying the kidnappings are "the result of the actions of the U.S. and U.K. government due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people."

Despite its name, Christian Peacemaker Teams works in the name of peace, not religion, Phillips said.

"We are very strict about this: We do not do any evangelism; we are not missionaries," she said. "Our interest is to bring an end to the violence and destruction of civilian life in Iraq."

Other activists say the group is known for being low-key. "They are generally not considered to be extremely conservative," said Dori Dinsmore, the director of Amnesty International's Chicago office. "They have a strong grass-roots focus, and they try not to draw too much attention to themselves."

Evans, who was part of a Peacemakers delegation to Iraq in September, declined to say whether the organization would send more teams to Iraq. ….

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Hostage video shows American, Canadians, Briton/The Casper Star Tribune/Casper/WY/USA/1-Dec-05/….. In a statement, Christian Peacemaker Teams said it strongly opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq and blamed the kidnapping on coalition forces.

"We are angry because what has happened to our teammates is the result of the actions of the U.S. and U.K. government due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people," the group said.

Christian Peacemaker Teams does not consider itself a fundamentalist organization, a spokeswoman said.

"We are very strict about this: We do not do any evangelism, we are not missionaries," Jessica Phillips told The Associated Press in Chicago. "Our interest is to bring an end to the violence and destruction of civilian life in Iraq."

The group's first activists went to Iraq in 2002, six months before the U.S.-led invasion, Phillips said, adding that a main mission since the invasion has been documenting alleged human rights abuses by U.S. forces.

Loney, a community worker, was leading the Christian group's delegation in Iraq.

Fox, the captive from Virginia, has two children, plays the bass clarinet and the recorder and worked as a professional grocer and at a Quaker youth camp, according to the statement. …..

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Langley Hill Meeting/Fox Details His Mission in Message/Winchester Star/Winchester/VA/USA/1-Dec-05/…. Editor’s note: The following item, written by Tom Fox of Clearbrook, appeared in the Hopewell Centre Meeting’s newsletter that was mailed on Aug. 30, less than two weeks before Fox went to Iraq:


I wanted to briefly introduce myself and hope that I have an opportunity to get to meet you personally while I am staying with you at the Youth House. My name is Tom Fox and I am currently going into my second year of a three-year commitment to serve with Christian Peacemaker Teams ( ). I am part of the Iraq team and spend eight to nine months a year on projects mainly in Baghdad.

I started attending Quaker meeting in 1983 and became a member of Langley Hill Monthly Meeting in 1989. Much of my service to the yearly meeting has been with youth. I was a teacher in the Junior Yearly Meeting program for eight years and for the past ten years I have served as a FAP (Friendly Adult Presence) with the BYM Young Friends program. I’ve been involved with the formation of the current Opequon Quaker Camp and for the last three years have been a volunteer cook at camp.

I am divorced and have two children. Kassie, age 25, has been teaching school in North Carolina and has just started a graduate program for school counselors at USC (California not Carolina) and my son Andrew, age 20, works in food service in Philadelphia, PA.

During the four months (divided into two segments) that I will spend in the U.S., I have asked to rent a room from you in the Youth House. It is the nature of CPT work that a good deal of time spent in the U.S. is speaking at different churches and meetings and that is the case with me. I want to be able to worship with you as the way opens, but I expect that many weekends during my time in the states will find me elsewhere.

While I realize that some folks don’t have internet access, I would recommend that you look over my weblog (http:// for a perspective on the writings I have done concerning Iraq since joining CPT....

I will be returning to Iraq on Sept. 10th and, God willing, I will return to the U.S. in the middle of January, 2006. I hope to be able to share with you some of my experiences with CPT during that return visit.


Tom Fox . ….

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Christian peace team faces perilous journey/New York Newsday/Long Island/NY/USA/1-Dec-05/…. In 27 months of militant attacks on foreign aid agencies in Iraq, nearly every such group has pulled out: the United Nations, the Red Cross and dozens of others. The tiny Christian Peacemaker Team has watched them go, quietly continuing small projects to aid Iraqis and promote reconciliation amid war.

Over dinner at the team's Baghdad apartment last month, Tom Fox, a bald, 54-year-old Quaker and former grocery-store manager from Virginia, joked about needing the permission of his college-age children to come and work in such a dangerous place. Like other team members, he quietly acknowledged the high risks of their work and matter-of-factly described it as a duty of his spiritual faith. ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Politics and Economics/US Christian Group Names Captives in Iraq, Blames US, UK/Bloomberg/New York/NY/USA/30-Nov-05/…. Fox is a Quaker, a father of two children and an ``accomplished musician,'' according to the Christian group.

Virginia Connection

Fox came back to northern Virginia twice a year from Iraq and would speak to groups at the Langley Hill Friends Meeting in the town of McLean, a Washington suburb, the Washington Post reported. About 400 people attended a Nov. 27 prayer service for him there, the Post cited a friend as saying.

In a May 17 entry on his blog, Fox gave impressions of the violence in Iraq.

``The 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes described the ultimate nightmare of any society as being `the war of the all against the all,''' the entry says. ``Such is the state of existence here in Iraq. When the U.S.-led invasion tore away the façade of the state of Iraq, a torrent of religious, ethnic, tribal and cultural tensions that had festered for generations was unleashed.'' ….

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Langley Hill Meeting/Virginia man a captive in Iraq/Richmond Times Dispatch/Richmond/VA/USA/30-Nov-05/…A divorced father of two college-age children, Fox was an active member of the Langley Hill Friends Meeting, a Quaker church in McLean, before departing for Iraq last year.

In Baghdad, he lived with other members of Christian Peacemaker Teams in an apartment outside the fortified Green Zone.

Fox has been working in the last two years with Christian Peacemaker Teams in partnership with Iraqi human-rights organizations to promote an end to violence in the Middle Eastern nation, the organization said in statement. "He is committed to telling the truth to U.S. citizens about the horrors of war and its effects on ordinary Iraqi civilians and families as a result of U.S. policies and practices."

Fox also went to Iraq to learn more about Islamic culture, the statement said.

He is described as an accomplished musician who plays the bass clarinet and served in the Marine band. He loves to cook and devotes much of his time to working with children, including efforts to encourage young people to oppose war and violence, Christian Peacemaker Teams said in its news release. ….

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Gibb, Christina/Auckland man held hostage in Iraq/New Zealand Herald/Auckland/NZ/Oceania/30-Nov-05/…. Ms Gibb, 76, of Dunedin, the Christian Peacemaking Teams' only New Zealand member, said the organisation's policy on responding to hostage-taking was that it would attempt peaceful negotiations with captors and eschew any form of violence or military intervention.

She said the group was one of the only humanitarian organisations, since the slaying last year of British aid worker Margaret Hassan that had chosen to stay close to ordinary Iraqis by remaining outside a green security zone maintained by coalition forces in Baghdad.

"Many of them left after the murder of Margaret Hassan."

In another hostage drama in Iraq, kidnappers are threatening to kill a German woman and her Iraqi driver unless her country halts all contacts with the Iraqi Government. Germany has been training Iraqi police. ….

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Journeys/For Christian hostages, a perilous peace trek/New York Newsday/Long Island/NY/USA/30-Nov-05/…. In 27 months of militant attacks on foreign aid agencies in Iraq, nearly every such group has pulled out: the United Nations, the Red Cross and dozens of others. The tiny Christian Peacemaker Team has watched them go, quietly continuing small projects to aid Iraqis and promote reconciliation amid war.

Over dinner at the team's Baghdad apartment last month, Tom Fox, a bald, 54-year-old Quaker and former grocery-store manager from Virginia, joked about needing the permission of his college-age children to come and work in such a dangerous place. Like other team members, he quietly acknowledged the high risks of their work and matter-of-factly described it as a duty of his spiritual faith.

On Tuesday, the risks became hauntingly clearer. Fox and three colleagues sat against a blank wall, looking nervous, in a video released by militants who abducted them over the weekend.

The militants, calling themselves the Swords of Righteousness Brigade, accused the men of spying. Christian Peacemaker Teams, a group of mostly Americans and Canadians from various denominations, denied the charge and said it was trying to communicate to the kidnappers its role as an independent monitor of the war's brutal effects on Iraqi civilians.

The organization has criticized U.S. policies and military rules of engagement in Iraq, and has voiced sympathy for U.S. soldiers and other combatants. In a statement Wednesday, it said "what has happened to our teammates is the result of the actions of the U.S. and U.K. government due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people."

Gunmen seized Fox and the others -- Norman Kember, 74, a retired British medical professor; James Loney, 41, a Toronto social worker, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, a Canadian electrical engineer -- from their car in western Baghdad on Saturday.

Militants began a methodical assault on foreign human rights and relief workers barely four months after U.S.-led forces captured Baghdad in April 2003. Suicide bombers blew up the Baghdad headquarters of the United Nations in August 2003 and the International Committee of the Red Cross two months later, prompting those organizations to pull out their international staffs. In October 2004, militants kidnapped and killed CARE's country director, leading that agency and others to cut operations in Iraq.

The Christian Peacemaker Teams has kept a presence in Baghdad since before the invasion. The group, which has offices in Chicago and Toronto, for years has sent teams to Afghanistan, Colombia, the West Bank city of Hebron and other war zones.

The Baghdad team published reports about the U.S. military's abuse of prisoners months before photos from Abu Ghraib prison made the issue a global scandal. The team is encouraging conciliation between Sunni and Shia Muslims as extremists from both sects fight a civil war.

This year, the group helped Iraqis form a small Muslim Peacemaker Team in the Shia city of Najaf. The Christian team took Shia peacemakers to the war-shattered Sunni city of Fallujah to spend a day clearing rubble and garbage from the city's streets. This month, team members helped this correspondent visit Fallujah to .report on its condition.

Last month, Fox helped lead one of the team's more grueling missions, helping 19 Palestinian refugees who were trying to migrate to Syria because of rising animosity against Palestinians in post-Hussein Iraq. Team members rode with the Palestinians to the Syrian border and camped with them in the desert for a portion of the five weeks it took to get the refugees entry. Fox, who is tall and thin, later joked that the trip had been a great weight-loss program.

In Baghdad, the team lives at a nondescript downtown apartment building and shares chores in what feels like a group house for aging college students. Last month, after fixing a dinner of pasta and salads for the team and a visiting reporter, Fox offered a variation on the traditional mealtime prayer of thanks and blessing.

"Let's take a moment to meditate about journeys," he said. "We're all on journeys."

Fox's team members expressed anguish Wednesday about where their peacemaking journey has taken him and his fellow hostages. …..

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Evangelism/Virginia volunteer held hostage in Iraq/ excursions through the Shenandoah Valley during youth summer camp, Fox was an influential and loved role model, said Anne Bacon, clerk of a Quaker meeting in ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Update on Four Missing CPT Members in Iraq/Political Affairs Magazine/New York/NY/USA/1-Dec-05/……Tom Fox, age 54, is from Clearbrook, Virginia and is a dedicated father of two children. For the past two years, Mr. Fox has worked with CPT in partnership with Iraqi human rights organizations to promote peace. Mr. Fox has been faithful in the observance of Quaker practice for 22 years. While in Iraq, he sought a more complete understanding of Islamic cultural richness. He is committed to telling the truth to U.S. citizens about the horrors of war and its effects on ordinary Iraqi civilians and families as a result of U.S. policies and practices.

Mr. Fox is an accomplished musician. He plays the bass clarinet and the recorder and he loves to cook. He has also worked as a professional grocer. Mr. Fox devotes much of his time to working with children. He has served as an adult leader of youth programs and worked at a Quaker camp for youth. He has facilitated young people's participation in opposing war and violence. Mr. Fox is a quiet and peaceful man, respectful of everyone, who believes that "there is that of God in every person" which is why work for peace is so important to him. …...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Elections/Iraqi authorities say kidnappings may be aimed at disrupting Dec. .../CBC News/Toronto/Ontario/Canada/29-Nov-05/... engineer who went to McGill University in Montreal and was studying for a masters degree in literature in New Zealand; and Tom Fox, 54, a Quaker from Clearbrook ...


Post a Comment

<< Home