Monday, March 13, 2006

CPT hostage killed

You may have heard by now that Tom Fox has been killed. Fox was the only American among the four Christian Peacemaker Teams hostages. (My original post on the subject is here.)

photo of Tom Fox
According to Saturday's Globe and Mail:
Tom Fox, 54, of the Christian Peacemaker Teams had been held hostage with two Canadians and one Briton by a group calling themselves the Swords of Righteousness Brigade.

The group has demanded the release of all Iraqis from American and Iraqi prisons, but has not set a deadline.

Mr. Fox was conspicuously absent from a video dated Feb. 28 that showed the other three activists …

[CPT co-director Carol] Rose extended her condolences to Mr. Fox's family and said the killing left her and her co-workers "trembling with grief."

However, she said Mr. Fox's killing has not caused the organization to reconsider its decision to stay in Iraq. CPT still has five members in the country, excluding the hostages.
Fox was a Quaker and a pacifist. The Christian Peacemaker Teams organization evidently regards Iraqis as victims of unjustified American aggression. Fox had worked with Christian Peacemakers on several Middle East projects,
including efforts to oppose the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He also tried to put detained Iraqis in touch with their families. Ultimately, however, his captors singled him out and made him suffer a grisly fate. …

His bullet-riddled body was found at a garbage dump near a railway line three days [after the video was broadcast on the Al-Jazeera network]. Iraqi police told The Associated Press that Mr. Fox had been beaten or tortured.
People are still hoping for the release of the other three CPT captives. The February 28 video from which Mr. Fox was absent was the first contact by the kidnappers in more than a month. It suggests that the other three men are being cared for relatively well.
"All of the men appear to have access to shaving and bathing facilities, and their clothes looked reasonably clean," said Paul Buchanan, a professor of international politics at Auckland University in New Zealand and a former CIA consultant.

"This would indicate again that the kidnappers really have no intention of killing them and are making the point that their treatment of the hostages is fairly humane."
Frankly, I think the CPT organization is misguided to demonize the USA and indiscriminately regard the Iraqis as innocent victims.

Nonetheless, I respect Tom Fox's decision. Presumably he understood that he was putting his life at risk, but that did not stop him from acting on his convictions. In other words, he was a deeply committed follower of Jesus Christ.

Grace and peace to you, Tom.


At 5:01 PM, March 13, 2006, Blogger 49erDweet said...

I'm trusting Tom Fox is now with his heavenly father.

I posted about this earlier on my own blog , so there's no need of taking up too much space here. Suffice it to say, this was very likely a double tragedy.

At 8:03 PM, March 13, 2006, Blogger Mary P. said...

I'm wondering what the three remaining activists are thinking about their initial perceptions now. Do they still see the US as mindless aggressors, and the Iraquis who have killed one of their number as innocent victims?

I feel for them if, in their time of crisis, when they are facing death every minute of the day, they are perhaps wondering if the principles which brought them to this place were at best naive, and at worse, unthinkingly biased.

At 1:06 AM, March 14, 2006, Blogger McSwain said...

Excellent points, Mary P.

At 7:39 AM, March 14, 2006, Blogger Juggling Mother said...

Mary asked "what the three remaining activists are thinking about their initial perceptions now. Do they still see the US as mindless aggressors, and the Iraquis who have killed one of their number as innocent victims?

Quite possibly - you must need a great deal of conviction to go there in the first place, and certainly to stay there as the whole country regressed into sectarian violence. I would think that they see the hostage takers as victims still, just misguided ones. Have you ever listened to Terry Waite on his kidnappers motives? He is very understanding for someone who spent 5 years as a hostage, 4 in solitary. There's an interesting interview with him here, although his books go into far more detail. For these commited aid workers to change thier mind about the people they are trying to help would require a complete change of world-view, and not many of us are willing or able to do that.

At 10:03 AM, March 14, 2006, Blogger Stephen (aka Q) said...

• 49er:
I think the point you're making on your blog is that Mr. Fox not only lost his life, he did so in the pursuit of a mistaken cause. How terribly sad.

• Mary P.:
CPT apparently regards the USA as evil. The hostages have now encountered the real thing. One would hope that would change their perspective.

• Mrs. Aginoth:
For these commited aid workers to change their mind about the people they are trying to help would require a complete change of world-view, and not many of us are willing or able to do that.

That's an excellent point. These folks have a lot invested in their worldview, and it would be a bitter pill to acknowledge the point made by 49er — that they are suffering for a mistaken cause.

There's also a psychological phenomenon wherein captives begin to view their captors sympathetically. (The Stockholm Syndrome.)

If they are eventually released to tell their tale — which is still a BIG "if" — there's no predicting what slant they will present on their experience.

At 11:07 PM, March 17, 2006, Blogger Sadie Lou said...

That's really, really sad. It's such a senseless death. I feel bad for them because you can tell their hearts were in the right place--their intentions were good.
I just hope that this sends a message to other people who have such ideals.
That way his death will have purpose.

At 5:25 AM, March 18, 2006, Blogger Stephen (aka Q) said...

Sadie Lou:
Well said. I understand why some people are offended by certain policies of the Bush administration. But there is a lack of moral discernment when people conclude that the USA is evil.

Mr. Fox's death might help people put things into proper perspective. (After all, the CPT folks were there to help the Iraqis!) We can hope so, anyway.

At 1:43 PM, October 22, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. I have served as a member of cpt in Iraq. Cpt does NOT believe "the USA is evil". That's a blanket statement. Cpt believes the war on Iraq was immoral and physically responds to their conviction. Our physical presence in Iraq has accomplished a lot of good. We can report and act on rare first hand perspectives. We go there knowing the risks. It may be a very radical response to our conviction, but it's not that extreme to disagree with the invasion of Iraq. Latest polls shows the majority of Americans believe it was a mistake. (No disrespect to the soldiers who fought. It's why put our lives on the line too to match their conviction)


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