violachic: (Default)
Harmeet is being interviewed on NPR right now.

Tomorrow

Mar. 17th, 2006 03:16 pm
violachic: (Default)
If you'd like information on Chicago-area marches and rallies for tomorrow, you may go here.

The organizers of the Logan Square rally have decided to dedicate it to Tom Fox, and quite a few CPTers and supporters will be there. I, personally, am planning on going to the Evanston one, where a friend and colleague is speaking, and several other CPTers will be joining us.

Information about feeder marches and other actions can be found here.


Please, if you're interested in joining me at any stage, please let me know so we can hook up.
violachic: (Default)
Today has been a very, very stressful day. Not crisis-filled, but the aftermath of crisis. The coming down of crisis. We had a three hour office meeting this morning, most of which was emotional check-ins and sharing of feelings and fears. It exhausted us.

We've decided that we're going to dedicate our weekly Thursday prayer time to an internal memorial for Tom. It will stretch from our usual twenty minutes to at least an hour, and will be much in the Quaker tradition from which he came. Our office will officially be "closed" on Thursday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. We're not coming in until 11, then we have a two hour block of time set aside for memorial, worship, and meditation. We will not be answering phones, or doing any kind of regular work that morning. A message will be put on our voice mail announcing why we're not answering the phones.

I'm sure more emotional tumblings will come. This is not a small matter.

In the meantime, I'm trying to identify activities that will be positive and relaxing, and not putting extra burdens on other people. I'm not sure what they are yet, so further discernment is needed.




Okay, back to work.
violachic: (Default)
CPTnet
13 March 2006
IRAQ: Tom's Last Journey Begins

by Doug Pritchard



Our brother Tom has begun his final journey home.

He left Anaconda military base at Balat, Iraq, at dawn on Mar. 13 (9 p.m. EST, Mar. 12), and is expected to arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware at 1 a.m. EST, Mar. 14.

CPT Toronto was originally informed by Canadian authorities at 1:30 p.m. EST Mar. 10, that a body had been found in Baghdad which was likely that of Tom Fox. An hour later, when the CPT Iraq team asked officials at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad if they could come to identify the body, they were told that it had already left on a military transport for Dover. Officials had repeatedly assured the team over the previous three months that CPT would be able to accompany our colleagues home "if at all possible." They now said that their only focus was getting the body back to the USA as soon as possible. At 8 p.m. EST, the U.S. State Dept. confirmed the identity as Tom Fox based on fingerprints.

The next day, Mar. 11, at 10 a.m. EST, CPT Iraq learned that Tom's body was still at the Anaconda base at Balat. The U.S. Embassy arranged for Beth Pyles, a member of the CPT Iraq team, to travel to Anaconda, and she was able to keep vigil with Tom for the next 36 hrs. until his departure. Meanwhile, CPTers Rich Meyer and Anne Montgomery travelled to Dover, and have been in the vicinity since 5 p.m. Mar. 11, keeping vigil and awaiting Tom's arrival.

Pyles was present on the tarmac at Anaconda as Tom's coffin was loaded onto the plane for Dover. She reported that his coffin was draped in a U.S. flag. This is unusual for a civilian, but Tom may not have been uncomfortable with this since he had always called his nation to live out the high ideals which it professed. Iraqi detainees who die in U.S, custody are also transported to Dover for autopsies and forensics. On this plane, right beside Tom's coffin, was the coffin of an Iraqi detainee. So Tom accompanied an Iraqi detainee in death, just as he had done so often in life.

At Tom's departure, Pyles read out from the Gospel of John, "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it" (1:5). In honour of Tom's Iraqi companion, she spoke the words called out repeatedly from the mosques of Baghdad during the Shock and Awe bombing campaign in March 2003, "allah akhbar" (God is greater). She concluded the sending with words from the Jewish scriptures, "The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21).

Dawn broke. The contingent of Puerto Rican soldiers nearby saluted. The plane taxied away. Venus, the morning star, shone brightly overhead as the night faded away.

Godspeed you, Tom, on your final journey home to your family and friends.
violachic: (Default)
PLEASE DISTRIBUTE WIDELY:

Dear Friends of Christian Peacemaker Teams,

Yesterday we received the tragic news that our friend and colleague, Tom Fox, was killed in Baghdad. Tom was kidnapped on November 26 along with three other CPT workers – Canadians Jim Loney and Harmeet Sooden, and Briton Norman Kember.

Please join us for a public vigil to stand in the light of Tom’s courageous witness and to pray for the safe release of Jim, Harmeet and Norman still missing in Iraq. Details of the vigil and CPT’s "Response to the Death of Peacemaker Tom Fox" follow:

Prayer Vigil: "Standing in the Light of Tom’s Witness"

Saturday, March 11; 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Federal Plaza; Chicago (Adams & Dearborn)

Join Christian Peacemaker Teams to honor the life and memory of Tom Fox, Christian peacemaker killed in Baghdad, and pray for the safe release of James Loney, Norman Kember and Harmeet Sooden still missing in Iraq

Photos of Tom Fox, and others missing in Iraq, are available on our website: www.cpt.org
violachic: (Default)
CHICAGO/TORONTO/IRAQ: We mourn the loss of Tom Fox

In grief we tremble before God who wraps us with compassion. The death of our beloved colleague and friend pierces us with pain. Tom Fox's body was found in Baghdad yesterday.

Christian Peacemaker Teams extends our deep and heartfelt condolences to the family and community of Tom Fox, with whom we have traveled so closely in these days of crisis.

We mourn the loss of Tom Fox who combined a lightness of spirit, a firm opposition to all oppression, and the recognition of God in everyone.

We renew our plea for the safe release of Harmeet Sooden, Jim Loney and Norman Kember. Each of our teammates has responded to Jesus' prophetic call to live out a nonviolent alternative to the cycle of violence and revenge.

In response to Tom's passing, we ask that everyone set aside inclinations to vilify or demonize others, no matter what they have done. In Tom's own words: "We reject violence to punish anyone. We ask that there be no retaliation on relatives or property. We forgive those who consider us their enemies. We hope that in loving both friends and enemies and by intervening nonviolently to aid those who are systematically oppressed, we can contribute in some small way to transforming this volatile situation."

Even as we grieve the loss of our beloved colleague, we stand in the light of his strong witness to the power of love and the courage of nonviolence. That light reveals the way out of fear and grief and war.

Through these days of crisis, Christian Peacemaker Teams has been surrounded and upheld by a great outpouring of compassion: messages of support, acts of mercy, prayers, and public actions offered by the most senior religious councils and by school children, by political leaders and by those organizing for justice and human rights, by friends in distant nations and by strangers near at hand. These words and actions sustain us. While one of our teammates is lost to us, the strength of this outpouring is not lost to God's movement for just peace among all peoples.

At the forefront of that support are strong and courageous actions from Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world for which we are profoundly grateful. Their graciousness inspires us to continue working for the day when Christians speak up as boldly for the human rights of thousands Iraqis still detained illegally by the United States and United Kingdom.

Such an outpouring of action for justice and peace would be a fitting memorial for Tom. Let us all join our voices on behalf of those who continue to suffer under occupation, whose loved ones have been killed or are missing. In so doing, we may hasten the day when both those who are wrongly detained and those who bear arms will return safely to their homes. In such a peace we will find solace for our grief.

Despite the tragedy of this day, we remain committed to put into practice these words of Jim Loney: "With the waging of war, we will not comply. With the help of God's grace, we will struggle for justice. With God's abiding kindness, we will love even our enemies." We continue in hope for Jim, Harmeet and Norman's safe return home safe.
violachic: (Default)
MEDIA ALERT - PRESS CONFERENCE


WHERE & WHEN:

Chicago – Douglas Park Church of the Brethren
1605 S. California Ave.,
5:30 A.M. CST, March 7, 2006



Toronto – 25 Cecil Street
6:30 A.M. EST, March 7, 2006



WHY: Response to new video of Christian Peacemakers missing in Iraq




Photos of CPTers who are missing in Iraq are available on website: www.cpt.org



Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is aware that a new videotape showing members of our organization abducted in Iraq on November 26, 2005 has aired today on Al-Jazeera television. We continue to pray for their safe and speedy release so that they may return to their families and carry on their peaceful work on behalf of all Iraqi detainees.



This past weekend marked the 100th day since our friends disappeared in Baghdad. In vigils around the world, people came together to honour our missing colleagues and to call for their safe release. We also hold in our hearts the families of 14,600 Iraqis currently detained illegally by the Multi-national Forces in Iraq who likewise await the release of their loved ones. These detainees are being held without formal charges, without access to their families and legal advisors, and without recourse to a fair and open judicial process.



In the latest video we were so glad to see Jim Loney alive. We were so glad to see Harmeet Sooden alive. We were so glad to see Norman Kember alive. We do not know what to make of Tom Fox’s absence from this video. However we do know what motivated Tom and his colleagues to go to Iraq. Tom wrote on the day before he was taken, “We are here to take part in the creation of the Peaceable Realm 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 neighbours and enemies as we love God and ourselves.”



Many Iraqi friends and human rights workers welcome CPT as a non-violent, independent presence. Iraqis have asked us to tell their stories in our home communities, to share with them our own experiences of peacemaking, to assist them in building nonviolent institutions in Iraq, and to accompany them as they seek justice for detainees and others suffering from the oppression of Iraq. We seek to promote what is human in all of us and so to offer a glimpse of hope in a dark time. This hope springs from our own faith tradition. We have witnessed a similar hope within the faith traditions of the people of Iraq.



We believe that the root cause of the abduction of our colleagues is the U.S. and British-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. Many in Iraq have experienced this long war as terrorism. The occupation must end. Work towards this is being coordinated by the Global Call for Nonviolent Resistance to End the Military Occupation of Iraq. The next events in this global campaign are scheduled in cities around the world for Mar. 18-20, which marks the third anniversary of the attack on Iraq. We urge citizens everywhere to join this effort to end the occupation. More information is available at



Now is the time for those holding our colleagues Harmeet, Norman, Jim and Tom to release them back to the care of their families, and back to the peacemaking work which inspired them to come to Iraq.



Christian Peacemaker Teams is a violence-reduction programme and has been present in Iraq since October 2002. Teams of trained peacemakers work in areas of lethal conflict around the world.
violachic: (Default)
I wanted to share this little tidbit that I found funny this morning. It is excerpted from the email update put out by CPT's team in Hebron



Monday, 13 February 2006

Dianne Roe had a conversation with a soldier at gates 4 and 5 in
the Old City. They continued to talk until another soldier approached. Roe,
expecting the worst, feared that settlers nearby had told the soldier that
they should not talk to CPT. The second soldier then confronted Roe and
asked about a paper. Roe, knowing that soldiers have in the past required
special permits for internationals in places in Hebron, said she was from
CPT and lived in the Old Market. The soldier then repeated his need for
some kind of paper. Roe looked bewildered until the first soldier, whose
English was better, said, "He is asking if you have any toilet paper." Roe
checked her pockets and apologized that she had none. She told them she
would bring some next time.
violachic: (Default)
reposted from CPT Chicago email listserve:


Hello all,

Sunday, March 5, marks one-hundred days since our CPT colleagues were kidnapped in Iraq. We invite you to join us in praying for their safe return home at a silent candle-light prayer vigil.

Where: NE corner of Chicago and Michigan
When: 6:00-7:00pm, March 5th (Sunday)
What: 100 candles to mark the 100 days (please bring candles)
violachic: (Default)
This past Sunday, it was three months since our four friends in Iraq went missing.

This coming Sunday, it will be one hundred days.


Life here at the office is certainly not nearly as insane as it was, and much of life has returned to normal. Or, at least, normal for this place- we have resumed our usual meal and prayer schedules, and our day-to-day tasks, and decided to go through with our January training. But there are still constant reminders that things are less well than they should be. Daily conference calls, preparation- both physical and emotional- for a resolution, the deluge of media (although distinctly diminishing as time goes on), the periodic and erratic emotions that overtake one or another of us on a regular basis.

We have photos of the four men up in two places in the office- one set, where we gather for prayers and team meetings; and one in our dining room, where anyone can spot them as soon as they walk in the office. Often, there are candles lit under each of their smiling faces.

The photos are fairly unnerving for me. Where my desk is positioned, I look at them all day. Harmeet’s, in particular, is especially strange; he had been looking directly at the camera when the picture was taken, which gives the eyes the eerie effect of seeming to follow you wherever you go. For me, it is easy to feel as if I’m being scrutinized by him all day long. The fact that he is one of the two I haven’t yet met makes it a little weirder yet. For some reason, I don’t think it would feel quite that odd if it were Tom or Jim.

This entire episode has certainly caused me to think long and hard about an awful lot of things. I know it worried my loved ones, who already get nervous when I go across the world into a conflict zone. But I am somehow relieved to be realizing that not only have I not shied from my values, but they are redoubled. My eagerness to continue what I’ve started is high.

There’s a great deal of musing going on, comparing what we are going through to what those we work with go through every day. The result is a great deal of guilt, and- from time to time- a light bulb of empathy. I remember when the news first broke, telling my Palestinian friends about what had happened. As we talked, although I knew the sympathy was genuine, I realized that I was, in the most accurate sense of the phrase, “preaching to the choir”. Not only was I telling them something they didn’t already know about, but something in which they could give me quite an education- abductions, arrests with no charges, killing of innocent people- whether by execution or other means- torture, and all sorts of things I’ve never dreamed of. It gave me a first-hand look at the kind of life experienced by those we work with, and work for, and a first-hand feeling for those washes of emotion- anger, questioning, grief. For that, I’m grateful in a way, but it shouldn’t have had to happen this way.

I’m learning a great deal of life lessons that most middle-class, white girls from the suburbs rarely learn. I’m learning that there is often a basis for what come out sounding like conspiracy theories; learning that there are those who are so eager to take advantage of another’s grief; learning that no matter how logical your arguments sound to you, you can’t change someone else’s thinking if they are convinced of their own logic; learning that there’s ever more shades of gray than anyone thinks possible. Most of all, I’m learning that the likelihood of the FBI listening in to my phone conversations is frighteningly high.

When they first went missing, Christians all around the world were just entering the season of Advent. It made a good metaphor- waiting, hope, light shining in the darkness, and all that. This metaphor gave us comfort and hope. We sermonized about it, we wrote about it, we talked about it, we prayed about it. And now, three months later, we’re entering the season of Lent. What is the metaphor that comes out of this?

I’m almost afraid to find out.
violachic: (Default)
Planning for "crisis resolution" is like planning a funeral for someone who may or may not be dying.

Although, for some reason today's staff meeting at the office was far more exhausting than having the "so make sure all your funeral plans are ready the way you want them" conversation I had with my parents yesterday.




Bleh.
violachic: (Default)
So part of this whole kidnapping thing that has affected me is that I'm amazingly sensitive- some might even say oversensitive- to things that, before, would bother me, but now they're scraping me raw.

I mean, obviously my emotional state is a tad altered- dealing with trauma, even if its secondhand, can do that to you. Those who spend time with me and know me well I'm sure have already seen testament to that.

But for instance, panhandlers- I give some money when I have it, although I don't often have extra money to give out. Now, though, I either feel like I should give them my last dime, or I feel like screaming "Don't you know that I'm already trying to save the world?" Neither of which response is particularly healthy or mature. I spend more time worried about current events. News clutches at me- if I hear of an occurence somewhere, I immediately wonder if my friends and family who live or work nearby are okay.

And this afternoon, as I was exiting the parking garage from the post office, a song came on the radio. It had clearly been taped at a live performance. The opening riffs sounded all the world to me like U2's Mothers of the Disappeared. I immediately welled up with tears; this song has been moving to me since I heard it for the first time, and now seems so highly appropriate, for so many reasons. But it then went into something I didn't recognize, and the feeling abated. However, by the third or fourth line of the song it was clear that my emotions had not been spared one more roller coaster ride.

It was Peter Gabriel's Biko.

Oh yeah, I bawled all the way back to the office.

I'm not sure what to do about it. I'm not sure if I should do anything about it. But I'm noticing it, and its not going away.
violachic: (Default)
I have a PASSIA!


*dances*




Note: This post may only be intelligible to those on my friends list who have been to Palestine.

More bleh

Feb. 7th, 2006 03:08 pm
violachic: (Default)
Oh, I love opening mail from crazy people!




As might not surprise you, we get a few of those here at the office....


Today's offering: An essay sent in an envelope with no return address, but postmarked Youngstown, OH, entitled "All Terrorists Are Muslim". Enclosed was a scrap of paper with a handwritten note reading "Dear CPT- I thought you may be INTERESTED in these papers- read and pass on. A Friend." It includes statements such as "What you can do- Learn to Hate", and other things so awful that I will not repost here.




*headdesk*


**EDIT: On the upside, at least it didn't tick....**
violachic: (Default)
So all of a sudden today there was talk that we might not go to Toronto after all this week. We figured that if there was this video and statement put out, there might be a higher chance of there being some action this week, and if there were action it would be better if we were all in our respective offices/homes in order to deal with it. But after some deliberation, it was decided that we should go ahead with the retreat, and make really well-organized contingency plans for if we hear any news.

Part of me feels its too bad that we're going, but its actually for selfish reasons; as usual, I'm mourning the fact that there is another four days in a row I'll be away from home. I'm not the least bit organized to do so. The activity of the weekend really put a crimp in my plans to get organized in general, and as usual, there are people to see that I won't get to see. But I'm kind of excited to go to Toronto, which is a place I've never been before. With any luck I'll get to hook up with [livejournal.com profile] sabotabby for a bit, and I do love hanging out with the Toronto CPT folks- and this time it'll be on their territory.



In other news, while I can't decide if this unseasonably warm weather is something I'd like to cheer about, or if it kind of gives me the creeps, but in either case the grayness is starting to really get on my nerves. Really, really get on my nerves. It just makes me feel restless. Maybe getting out of town for a bit will help. Dunno.



Later.
violachic: (Default)
So I have another story. A true story.

So there we were in Tuwani, and it was the first day of Eid Al-Fitr. Our team had spent some of the day sitting on the hillside doing checkpoint monitoring, but decided to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening doing the celebratory visiting of friends and neighbors that is one of the hallmarks of the day. We were served the delicious biscuit that is made with a filling of dates or almonds and dusted with powdered sugar, and vats upon vats of the sweet, sweet tea in small glasses. We stopped in to see one family as they were preparing supper of Makloube (which means "upside down" in Arabic), and we were invited to join. We stuffed ourselves as much as we could on top of the heavy cookies and gallons of tea still sitting in our stomachs- our taste buds wanted it, but our bodies just couldn't handle it!

We knew that the olive harvest was supposed to start in two days, on the third day of Eid, and knew that we needed to have a key role during that time as accompaniers. After dinner, we were informed that the men of the village were having a meeting about olive harvest that evening, and we were invited to attend. The four of us- Matt, Mike, Jenny and I- did.

Now, in CPT training, we work a lot on group dynamics, facilitating meetings, and the consensus process. We do role plays, we learn how to "actively listen", and we use a lot of flip charts. When you work so hard on it, its easy to forget that not every meeting will go the same way. This one, while entertaining and informative, certainly did not.

Picture a very large room, made entirely of cement floors cinder-block walls, and high ceilings. The only actual furniture in it is a television on a small cart. The other furnishings consisted of about a dozen foam mats, which are used for sleeping and sitting, in lieu of beds and couches. My aim here is to point out exactly how acoustically live that room is. Add to the mix about twenty five men, carrying on about ten conversations at once, and us- the best Arabic speaker in the bunch is only so-so, and the only English speaker in that group was not seated very close to us- trying to catch on.

It was a melee. Sensory Input Overload. Voices resounding, arms waving. From time to time a new person would join the room, and five or six men would take the time to try to bring him up to speed on decisions we had no clue about. There was no consensus, no "active listening", and there were certainly no flip charts. We sat patiently, trying to catch conversation, and asking questions to things that related to our role for that day.

All of a sudden next to me, Jenny fell silent. She was one of our two Arabic speakers, and had been listening hard to keep us two non-speakers informed. She kind of just sat back against the wall, now, and silently observed the room.

And then she said, barely turning to me, and sort of sotto-voce, "Amy, my life is not normal."

Silence again.

And then "I mean, look at my life- look at this! This is not a normal life!"

And truly, she was right.


And I empathized.





My life is not normal. It never will be again. I must learn to accept this. It is exciting, but it can be wearing. Or is the other way around?
violachic: (Default)
MEDIA ALERT - PRESS CONFERENCE



Chicago - Water Tower Park, 820 North Michigan Ave., 2:00 P.M. CST
Toronto - 25 Cecil St., 1:00 P.M. EST


Missing Peacemakers Alive in Iraq


Photos of CPT Shine the Light actions calling for justice for Iraqi detainees and of
photos of CPTers who are missing in Iraq available on website at www.cpt.org



We are so grateful and heartened to see James, Harmeet, Norman and Tom alive on the
video tape dated January 21. This news is an answer to our prayers. We continue to
hope and pray for their release.



All of us in Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) remain very disturbed by the abduction
of our teammates. We pray that those who hold them will host them with the grace
that so many of us in CPT have received as guests in Iraq. James, Harmeet, Norman
and Tom are peace workers who have not collaborated with the occupation of Iraq and
who have worked for justice for all Iraqis, especially those detained.



We continue to believe that what has happened to our teammates is the result of the
actions of the U.S. and U.K. governments in their illegal attack on Iraq and the
continuing occupation and oppression of its people. We continue to call for justice
and human rights for all who are detained in Iraq. The innocent should not suffer
in the place of those who have done wrong.



CPT has organized public actions for peace and justice for Iraqi detainees. This
weekend major events are scheduled for Washington DC, Toronto and Chicago. See
www.cpt.org for details.



Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has long worked for the rights of Iraqi prisoners
who have been illegally detained and abused. We were the first to publicly denounce
the torture of Iraqi people at the hands of U.S. forces, long before the western
media admitted what was happening at Abu Ghraib. We are among the few internationals
left in Iraq working for human rights and peace. We hope that we can continue to do
this work and we pray for the speedy release of our beloved teammates.



Christian Peacemaker Teams has been present in Iraq since October 2002, providing
first-hand, independent reports from the region, working with detainees of both
United States and Iraqi forces, and training others in non-violent intervention and
human rights documentation.



Christian Peacemaker Teams is a violence reduction program. Teams of trained
peacemakers work in areas of lethal conflict around the world.

Profile

violachic: (Default)
violachic

September 2009

S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
131415161718 19
202122 23242526
27282930   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 04:23 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios