Christian Peacemaker Teams

Remembering Christian Peacemaker Tom Fox on the Anniversary of His Death in Iraq

"Let's listen in now to the Marine Corps Band," the CNN commentator says. The camera pans across the Washington Mall. People, as far as the eye can see, waiting for the historic moment, the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States of America, the first African American to ever hold this high office.

Alleged CPT Captors Held for Trial

Three Christian Peacemaker Teams members who were held captive for 118 days in Iraq met in Britain last December—after police asked them to testify in the trial of their alleged captors—and issued a joint statement of forgiveness. James Loney, Harmeet Singh Sooden, and Norman Kember appealed for clemency from the Iraqi courts and objected to the death penalty for their alleged captors. "We have no desire to punish them. Punishment can never restore what was taken from us," the CPT members said in the joint statement. Those held in connection with the kidnapping face trial before the central criminal court in Iraq, where kidnapping is a capital offense. "In our view," the CPT members continued, "the catastrophic levels of violence and the lack of effective protection of human rights in Iraq is inextricably linked to the U.S.-led invasion and occupation. … [T]he actions of our kidnappers were part of a cycle of violence they themselves experienced."

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Sojourners Magazine March 2007
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Old Nukes, New Uses

Cliff Kindy, a Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) member, stands outside Alliant Techsystems/Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in Rocket City, West Virginia, where radioactive depleted uranium is added to warheads and other munitions. Craig Etchison of Fort Ashby, West Virginia, who joined the peace vigil in November, called the use of depleted uranium "the most censored topic in the American political dialogue." CPT is calling for the Pentagon and all subcontractors to stop the manufacture and shipping of DU products. "Depleted uranium is a biological invasion of privacy," said CPT supporter Bill Arnold. Many studies demonstrate that DU, a radioactive byproduct of nuclear power, violates human rights and armed conflict laws established by the U.N. and the Geneva Conventions due to its long-term, indiscriminate harm to civilians and natural resources.

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Sojourners Magazine March 2007
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Support for Peace

Just a note to thank you for your Christian Peacemaker Teams feature in the December 2006 issue (“118 Days,” by James Loney, Harmeet Singh Sooden, Peggy Gish, and Rose Marie Berger). Your tribute to Tom was very moving and succinct. The introduction to CPT by the editors is about the best short statement of who we are that I have seen. Jim’s own writing is powerful, as always.

We thank you again for all the support you provided to CPT during the hostage situation and since, and for Sojourners’ continuing powerful witness for justice.

Doug Pritchard
Co-director, Christian Peacemaker Teams
Toronto, Canada

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Sojourners Magazine February 2007
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The Baghdad Four

More than 100 Palestinians from the village of At-Tuwani, including these children, attended a vigil in December for four members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams. Tom Fox, Harmeet Singh Sooden, James Loney, and Norman Kember were kidnapped in Iraq Nov. 26. One vigil banner read: “CPTers sacrifice their blood to help us and to help the world know about our struggles. The people...of At-Tuwani ask for the captors to let the CPT free.”

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Sojourners Magazine February 2006
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Beaten, Not Bowed

Christian Peacemaker Teams members Kim Lamberty and Chris Brown were attacked Sept. 29 by five Israeli settlers while accompanying Palestinian school children south of Hebron. Wielding chains and bats, the settlers broke Lamberty’s arm and left her severely bruised. Brown was hospitalized with fractured ribs and a punctured lung. The children escaped without injury. "I remember thinking to myself that if I just lie very still and pretend that I am unconscious or dead, maybe they will go away," Lamberty reported. "I also remember hearing Chris scream, realizing that he was taking a much worse beating, and knowing that there was nothing I could do for him." Both intend to complete their tour of duty.

On Oct. 9, in the same area, eight settlers attacked CPT members Diana Zimmerman and Diane Janzen and representatives from Operation Dove, Amnesty International, and the local Palestinian community. "We understand unjust systems use violence to repress nonviolent challenges, so we’ll escalate our nonviolence," Mark Frey, administrative coordinator at Christian Peacemaker Teams, told Sojourners. "We believe Christians must be on the front lines, taking our peacemaking as seriously as soldiers take war-making."

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Sojourners Magazine January 2005
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First Martyr Mourned

George Weber, 73, of Chesley, Ontario, was killed in a motor accident on January 6 while traveling with a Christian Peacemaker Team delegation north of Basrah, Iraq. He had been visiting Iraqis to hear the impact of the Gulf war, economic sanctions, and ongoing bombing. Family and friends of Weber were shocked to learn that the U.N. sanctions against Iraq also restricted the "export" of his body from Iraq. Canadian officials finally secured permission to transfer Weber's body on a humanitarian basis. Weber is the first member of CPT to die while on active peace duty in an area of international conflict.

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Sojourners Magazine March-April 2003
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Breaking Down the Walls

A young Israeli soldier kicks a small rubber ball to two Palestinian boys in the West Bank city of Hebron, his machine gun slapping gently against his back as he moves. His fellow soldiers smoke and play cards nearby. Men in long flowing robes and white headscarves pass boys riding donkeys, tiny Palestinian shops loaded with film and souvenirs, and stores whose doorways are filled with bulging sacks of colored spices and grains.

Just beyond the soldiers sits an immense, foreboding building—one of its two entrances is guarded by Palestinian soldiers, the other by Israelis. It’s called the Mosque of Abraham or the Tomb of the Patriarchs, depending on who’s speaking, and inside are massive stones marking the supposed burial sites of Abraham and Sarah. Concrete walls enclose the tombstones. Muslims and Jews can view them through a set of iron bars, but only from separated parts of the building. The structure was bisected in 1994 after a Jewish settler, an American, entered the building and killed 49 Palestinians preparing to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The Israeli soldiers are also in Hebron, a Palestinian-controlled city of about 140,000, to guard Jewish settlers who live down the street in a compound distinctive for its brand-new buildings and the barbed wire that surrounds it. "Five hundred soldiers are here to guard 30 settler families," according to Bourke Kennedy, a member of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron. The Jewish settlement is one of four in the Hebron district; roughly 6,000 Jewish settlers live in two settlements on the city’s outskirts. Because of their political and symbolic importance, settlements such as these have been targets—and impetus—for Hamas and other Palestinian groups who have resisted the Israeli occupation with violence.

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Sojourners Magazine May-June 2000
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