you may have heard about the four peace activists who were kidnapped in iraq this past week. they were working with christian peacemaker teams, a mennonite/brethren in christ organization that acts as witnesses and documentarians of human rights violations. i know several people who are very active with cpt, and have a lot of respect for their work. today i received an email confirming the four who were kidnapped. i thought you might be interested in learning a little more about them than the news provides…
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.
Norman Kember, age 74, is from London, England. He and his wife of 45 years
have two married daughters and a 3-year old grandson. He has been a pacifist
all his life beginning with his work in a hospital instead of National
Service at age 18. Before his retirement he was a professor teaching medical
students at St Bartholemew’s Hospital in London. He is well-known as a peace
activist, and has been involved in several peace groups. For the past 10
years he has volunteered with a local program providing free food to the
homeless. He likes walking, birdwatching, and writing humorous songs and
sketches. In his younger days he enjoyed mountaineering.
James Loney, 41, is a community worker from Toronto, Canada. He has been a
member of Christian Peacemaker Teams since August 2000, and is currently the
Program Coordinator for CPT Canada. On previous visits to Iraq, his work
focused on taking testimonies from families of detainees for CPT’s report on
detainee abuse, and making recommendations for securing basic legal rights.
James was leading the November 2005 delegation in Iraq when he went missing.
James is a peace activist, writer, trained mediator, and works actively with
two Toronto community conflict resolution services. He has spent many years
working to provide housing and support for homeless people.
In a personal statement from James to CPT, he writes: “I believe that our
actions as a people of peace must be an expression of hope for everyone. My
hope in practising non-violence is that I can be a conduit for the
transformative power of God’s love acting upon me as much as I hope it will
act upon others around me.”
Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32 is a Canadian electrical engineer. He is studying
for a masters degree in English literature in Auckland University in New
Zealand to prepare for a teaching career. He enjoys art, is active in squash
and worked part time as a local squash coach. His family describes him as
peaceful and fun-loving and he is known to be passionate about the plight of
the underprivileged around the globe. He works tirelessly in his spare time
to educate and help others.