Tuesday, March 14

MCC Palestine Prayer Request - 14 March 2006

MCC Palestine Prayer Request

14 March 2006

Dear Friends,

As many of you already know, the body of Tom Fox was found in Baghdad late last week. Tom was one of four Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) members abducted last November.

Tom Fox, age 54, from Clearbrook, Virginia, was a dedicated father of two children. For the past two years, Mr. Fox had worked with CPT in partnership with Iraqi human rights organizations to promote peace. Mr. Fox had 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 was 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 was an accomplished musician. He played the bass clarinet and the recorder and loved to cook. He has also worked as a professional grocer. Mr. Fox devoted 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 facilitated young people's participation in opposing war and violence. Mr. Fox was a quiet and peaceful man, respectful of everyone, who believed that "there is that of God in every person" which is why work for peace was so important to him.

Below is a statement by CPT as well as CPT Iraq's statement of conviction and Tom's reflection "Why are we here?" For more information, please visit http://www.cpt.org/

Please pray for the family of Tom Fox, for James, Harmeet, and Norman, who are still being held in Iraq, and for all of those suffering as a result of occupation.


Timothy and Christi Seidel
Peace Development Workers
Mennonite Central Committee - Palestine



CPT Release: We Mourn the Loss of Tom Fox
10 March 2006

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.

Contact: Dr. Doug Pritchard, CPT Co-Director 416-423-5525 (Canada) and Rev. Carol Rose, CPT Co-Director, Kryss Chupp, 773-277-0253 (USA)



CPT in Iraq Statement of Conviction
March 2005

We, members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Iraq, are aware of the many risks both Iraqis and internationals currently face. However, we are convinced at this time that the risks, while significant, do not outweigh our purpose in remaining.

Many Iraqi friends and human rights workers have welcomed us as a non-violent, independent presence. During the previous year they asked us to tell their stories, since they could not easily be heard, nor could most flee to a safer country. We continue to act as a resource to connect citizens of Iraq with human rights organizations, both local and international, as well as accompanying them as they interact with multinational military personnel and Iraqi provisional government officials.

As a peacemaking team we need to cross boundaries, help soldiers and other armed actors be humane, and invite them to refuse unjust orders. We need to help preserve what is human in all of us and so offer glimpses of hope in a dark time.

We unequivocally reject kidnapping and hostage-taking. In such an event, CPT will attempt to communicate with the hostage-takers or their sponsors and work against journalists' inclination to vilify and demonize the offenders. We will try to understand the motives for these actions, and to articulate them, while maintaining a firm stance that such actions are wrong. If appropriate, CPT will work with diplomatic officials from our representative governments to avoid a violent outcome.

We reject the use of violent force to save our lives should we be kidnapped, held hostage, or caught in the middle of a violent conflict situation. We also reject violence to punish anyone who harms us. We ask for equal justice in the arrest and trial of anyone, soldier or civilian, who commits an act of violence, and we ask that there be no retaliation on their relatives or property. We forgive those who consider us their enemies. Therefore, any penalty should be in the spirit of restorative justice, rather than in the form of violent retribution.

We hope that in loving both friends and enemies and by intervening non-violently to aid those who are systematically oppressed, we can contribute in some small way to transforming this volatile situation.

Tom Fox, Springfield, VA
(plus other members of the CPT Iraq team)



2 December 2005
IRAQ: "Why are we here?"
Most recent reflection by Tom Fox,

[Note: The following reflection was written by Tom Fox the day before he was

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?
If I understand the message of God, his response to that question is that we
are to take part in the creation of the Peaceable Realm of God. Again, if I
understand the message 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 neighbors and enemies as we love God and ourselves. In its
essential form, different aspects of love bring about the creation of the
I have read that the word in the Greek Bible that is translated as "love" is
the word "agape." Again, I have read that this word is best expressed as a
profound respect for all human beings simply for the fact that they are all
God's children. I would state that idea in a somewhat different way, as
"never thinking or doing anything that would dehumanize one of my fellow
human beings."
As I survey the landscape here in Iraq, dehumanization seems to be the
operative means of relating to each other. U.S. forces in their quest to
hunt down and kill "terrorists" are, as a result of this dehumanizing word,
not only killing "terrorists," but also killing innocent Iraqis: men, women
and children in the various towns and villages.
It seems as if the first step down the road to violence is taken when I
dehumanize a person. That violence might stay within my thoughts or find its
way into the outer world and become expressed verbally, psychologically,
structurally or physically. As soon as I rob a fellow human being of his or
her humanity by sticking a dehumanizing label on them, I begin the process
that can have, as an end result, torture, injury and death.
"Why are we here?" We are here to root out all aspects of dehumanization
that exist within us. We are here to stand with those being dehumanized by
oppressors and stand firm against that dehumanization. We are here to stop
people, including ourselves, from dehumanizing any of God's children, no
matter how much they dehumanize their own souls.


No comments: