The Christian Peacemaker Teams – 2006-03-15 23:18:51
We Mourn the Loss of Tom Fox
Christian Peacemaker Team
(March 10, 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
Signed by Tom Fox and others
(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)