Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Christian Peacemaker Teams

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Prayer///Praying for Light to Reach Peacemakers' Captors/Embassy/Ottawa/Ontario/Canada/21-Dec-05//… I met Tom Fox at Pendle Hill (a Quaker study center) last March in a workshop entitled "Beyond Diversity 101." I understand now what he was facing in returning to Iraq, a reality he talked about during that workshop. As a fellow Quaker, he and all of you have given me a real-world understanding of the Quaker Peace Testimony. I thank you for your work.

When I first heard about Tom's capture, I closed my eyes to pray for him--to hold him in the Light as we Quakers say--and saw a huge light around him and his captors. I know that Tom, Harmeet, Jim and Norman are great sources of strength and conviction. It cannot be easy what they are going through, but I trust that the prayers of thousands of people around the world give them daily sustenance and that the Light within them will somehow touch the Light in their captors.

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Iraq//Duluth woman determined to bear witness to Iraq war/Minneapolis Star Tribune/Minneapolis/MN/USA/21-Dec-05//….DULUTH - The drivers in Baghdad unnerve her. The prospect of triggering a roadside bomb or crossing paths with a suicide bomber worries her even more.

Yet what Michele Naar-Obed fears most as she works in Iraq, unarmed and vulnerable, is that nobody back home will listen to her plea to end the bloodshed.

"What I'm afraid of is that nobody's going to care," said the 49-year-old peace activist who calls a Catholic Worker house in Duluth her home. "That as a nation, we're just going to continue on this downward spiral of violence and ... reach this point of no return."

Hoping to prevent that, Naar-Obed and her colleagues at Christian Peacemaker Teams keep praying. And protesting. And returning to Iraq to document the atrocities of war.

The Chicago-based peace group is funded by the Brethren, Quaker and Mennonite churches.

This month, Naar-Obed will again leave her husband, their 11-year-old daughter and their home on the hill overlooking Lake Superior to go back to Iraq to talk with civilians and push for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

It'll be her fourth trip, her third since the war began and the first since four co-workers -- two of whom she knows personally -- were kidnapped last month by insurgents who have threatened their execution.

"We feel part of the faith is putting God first," said her husband, Greg Boertje-Obed, a fellow peace activist. "There is sometimes a mission you are given that will take priority over your family relationships. ... It's not easy. But we do know many military families who are separated by business and risk, and they do adjust." ….

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Reacciones ante retención de miembros de ECAP en Iraq/Indymedia Colombia/Bogota/Colombia/South America/3-Dec-05//... Fox trabajó con para la paz CPT en colaboración con organizaciones iraquíes pro derechos humanos. Durante 22 años ha sido cuáquero practicante. ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Pacifist/Friends of captive in Iraq await word/Richmond Times Dispatch/Richmond/VA/USA/21-Dec-05//Fox, the father of two grown children, is a Quaker and pacifist who belongs to a congregation in McLean. He moved in August to the northern Shenandoah Valley, where a local Quaker group is housing him.

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/that of God/US captives in Iraq show peaceful courage/Kennebec Journal/Kennebec/ME/USA/20-Dec-05//…We, members of Vassalboro Friends Meeting (Quakers), voice our support for the four members of the Christian Peacemaker Team now held captive in Iraq.

They include Tom Fox, a fellow Quaker from Virginia, who shares our own view that "there is that of God in every person," and has thus probably been talking to his captors as fellow human beings, not as enemies.

The four, having put themselves in harms way, just as American soldiers do, though without bearing arms, practice what they preach in terms of nonviolence being the key to reconciliation. They have rejected offers to use the military to attempt a rescue because they oppose violence in all its forms.

Their acts of courage are similar to what Jesus might have done in similar circumstances. They deserve our prayerful support, just as we pray for the soldiers, whose approach is different.

Richard M. Kelly, Clerk

Vassalboro ….

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/Guilford/Profile in Courage: Peace activist blazes a Christmas story/Winston-Salem Journal/Winston-Salem/NC/USA/18-Dec-05//…Yet Fox's story really has a lot to do with Christmas. That's because the baby born on Christmas Day grew up to be the Prince of Peace, the radical whose example should have shown the world that real courage has a lot more to do with extending your hand to your enemy than raising your fist in anger.

Far too few have learned that lesson. That's why Tom Fox, a 54-year-old Quaker with ties to Guilford College, went to Iraq.

Fox is one of four activists with a group called Christian Peacemaker Teams who were kidnapped by Iraqis in Baghdad Nov. 26. The thugs, called the Swords of Righteousness Brigade, somehow got the wrong idea that Fox and the other hostages are spies. They threatened to kill them unless the United States releases its Iraqi prisoners.

Fox was still alive Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, that might not be the case as you read these words.

Either way, Fox's story has attracted worldwide attention. Maybe the story made some rethink their views on this war, or on war in general, or at least on kinds of courage. Maybe there's a lesson here for Christians on what acting on your faith really means.

Some Americans, including some Christian Americans, might call Fox a nut.

They wouldn't call Jesus a nut. He acted on his convictions, including his ones on peace. He preached nonviolence. And he didn't stop there. He stilled Peter when that disciple tried to lift his sword to save him.

Fox, too, acted on his beliefs. He's a pacifist, but he's far from passive. He wasn't content just to talk about peace, or pray for it or sing hymns about it. He gave up his job as an assistant grocery- store manager in northern Virginia to go to the Middle East and work for peace. His group voiced opposition to the war and documented abuses against the Iraqi people. ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/Peace Activities/Fox, Tom/FIVE ON FAITH/Greensboro News Record/Greensboro/NC/USA/17-Dec-05//... Is the risk too great for peace activists like Tom Fox, the Quaker captured along with three others by insurgent Iraqis last month? Got an opinion? ...

Christian Peacemaker Teams/International Conflict/Israel//HEBRON: Say it With a Home Invasion/BBSNews/Raleigh/NC/USA/21-Dec-05//…. HEBRON: Say it With a Home Invasion

CPT via BBSNews 2005-12-21 - by Rich Meyer -- On the evening of 11 December there was a loud banging on our door. Six Israeli soldiers in full battle gear, flak jackets and field radios demanded to come in to search our home. John Lynes held the door half-shut, and told the soldiers that they could come in if they left their guns outside. I told them that it is our organization's policy not to allow guns into our houses.

At the top of the stairs, the soldiers said they wanted us all in one room, and one of us to come with them to search. We did not comply, and one soldier began a cursory search. I asked, "What are you searching for?"


I said, "We've been here ten years, completely committed to nonviolence, we have no guns and you know it. Where is your order for this search?"

"We don't need an order; we are the army."

I responded, "That's not right, in a disciplined army there is accountability for actions, you need an order."

"You disturbed us in that house yesterday."

Oh. Rewind.

Yesterday morning at 8:45 a Palestinian child came to our door, and told us that there were Israeli soldiers in a neighbor's home.

Kristin Anderson and Diane Janzen went over, and walked in with the video camera running. They found Israeli soldiers lying around the living room, eating candy bars, helmets off. The Palestinian family was confined to one room. Clothes had been pulled out of cupboards.

"Why are you in these people's house?" asked Kristin. "Why are you keeping them in that room? Why are you pulling their things out of the cupboard?

"We don't have to explain it to you."

Four minutes after Kristin and Diane walked in, the soldiers left. As the last soldier left, he returned the ID of the fifteen-year-old son.

Oh. Rewind.

Sixteen days ago we were at a stand-off at the checkpoint where the Israeli soldiers are now trying to force students and teachers to go through a trailer with metal detectors on their way to school. During the pushing and shoving the Israeli soldiers pulled two boys out and arrested them. One was our neighbor's son. He was held in an Israeli military jail until two days ago, when his father paid 5,000 shekels (US$ 1100).

What message were the Israeli soldiers trying to send the neighbor boy and his family yesterday morning? What message were the Israeli soldiers trying to send us this evening?

Say it with a home invasion.

(Update 12 December: 6:50 a.m. to 7:50 a.m. the same group of Israeli soldiers occupied the home of another Palestinian family in the old city, the family again confined to one room. For that hour, the soldiers hung an Israeli flag from the awning of the adjacent shop and told the shop owner they would seal his shop if he removed the flag. The soldiers took the flag with them when they left.)


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. ….


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