Friday, March 24, 2006

What the heck is going on?

I felt like this was a big enough issue to expand it to a regular post, so this post is in response to Leah's post about CPT and Jake and Ryan's comments that followed.

I'm also incredibly disturbed and uncomfortable with the events surrounding their "rescue." (release? aquisition? re-capture? resortation unto freedom?)
While I am very, very happy that they are alive (particularly Jim who was one of my CPT trainers and an amazing human being), I also find it really strange that there has been such a silence surrounding the fact that they were rescued with a military operation. I know that "no shots were fired," but it almost seems that CPT's stressing of this was to make them feel better about the the fact that our (I'm a CPTer, you know) friends and workers were rescued by the forces we condemn, in what Jake rightly points out was only a vaguely nonviolent operation in the most basic sense of the word, ie: apparently no one was hurt, and definetly not in the sense that CPT would regulary use it (nonviolence is not merely a lack of violence nor a negative inverse of violence, but a positive blah blah...), and was in fact only "nonviolent" because the army got lucky and the people holding the CPTers had left.

Now I become much more disturbed upon reading this recent addendum, as mentioned by Jake, in which it is said, "We are grateful to the soldiers who risked their lives to free Jim, Norman and Harmeet."

Who wrote this sentance? I have never in my life heard nor imagined a sentance like this coming from the mouth of a single CPTer! Just yesterday, (and the whole time CPT has existed) they said, "We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq."

It's your fault and we are against everything you are doing and our whole mission in Iraq is based upon that, but hey thanks for finding our friends.

More disturbing is, "As peacemakers who hold firm to our commitment to nonviolence, we are also deeply grateful that they fired no shots to free our colleagues." The whole phrasing of this gives the power to the army, to the empire, the very thing we are resisting! Oh you guys, we are so, so, so, thankful to your big army powers, and what would we, simple peacemakers, do with out you? It paints us exactly as Cal Thomas and the rest of the "peacemakers are naive idiots" gang want us to look. As if the Army tried not to fire any shots just for us, because they know we don't like big bad guns! It's the Army!

I am just stunned and overwhelmed that nothing is being said about this by anyone within CPT. Our email discussion list for workers, usually overflowing with all sorts of arguements and opposing views, is deathly silent. No one is saying anything. If we are ashamed that this has happened why don't we speak up about it? In the least if this is not being addressed publicly why isn't it being addressed within CPT?

This is what shocks me so much. There is absolutely no reason CPT couldn't or wouldn't come out with a statement saying that while we are overjoyed to have our friends and co-workers, back and alive, we never supported nor requested any kind of military intervention to free them, and we did not support this one. We rejoice that those holding Jim, Norman, and Harmeet, had left and were not harmed in this action. While to the world this may look to be a successful rescue operation, as Christians dedicated to a life of nonviolence, we are saddened that the military took this into their own hands. We hope that our mission and work will not be tainted by this and we will continue to work to free Iraqis from oppression.

There is no reason not to say this. I cannot undestand. CPT's members and supporters and everyone involved has no stake in anything that could possibly put them in any kind of political or whatever risk by saying this. We are peacemakers and our whole mission is almost entirely opposed to what the coalition forces are doing in Iraq and around the world. Why now do we falter? We weren't involved nor would we endorse such a "rescue mission." It's even in the Iraq teams statement on kidnapping which they formulated prior to starting thier mission in Iraq. We reject and refuse military intervention. Obviously we aren't going to send our members back. But we can rebuke the way in which it was done. I think we have to or risk legitemizing it and delegitemizing ourselves.

After all we did say that when the CPTers went to Iraq, "They knew that their only protection was in the power of the love of God and of their Iraqi and international co-workers."

oh, and apparantly now the US military.


At 3/24/2006 5:06 PM, Blogger Jeff BBz said...

Sorry to comment on my own post. Not really though. I did want however to mention that CPT is probably currently under a lot of different strains, very busy to get their worker's back home, busy answering hundreds of calls and emails from the media, and busy facing all the build-up of pressure and emotion that comes when people you love are held captive for 4 months, and one was just found dead a few weeks ago. This is something, being currently on only the fringe of CPT, that I am very mildly experiencing, and I am sure everything is incredibly overwhelming to these wonderful people I love. Because this issue is personal to me, I felt a little bit bad when i read my post as it sounds very harsh. I doubt anyone from CPT reads this, but while I don't take back what I said, I do think they are going through some tremedous stress right now, and are perhaps just overwhelmed with the joy of having our loved ones return. CPT are just people trying to do things, and now they are flooded with media and national scrutiny in the midst of a hostage situation. I doubt they were prepared, I'm not sure how you could be.

In addition to this, I read today from the CPT mailing list that, callers from some "unnamed conservative talk show host" have been flooding the CPT office with several calls a minute in order to clog their phone lines." This is very lame.

But that doesn't negate from the fact that this is a very serious issue that is not being raised, for apparently no reason at all.

I am overwhelmed, joyful, nervous, clueless and worried.

At 3/24/2006 6:40 PM, Blogger Jake Sikora said...

Paco, this was the comment that made me think they were making indirect reference to the detainee:

In addition, we will continue to advocate for the human rights of Iraqi detainees and assert their right to due process in a just legal system.

At 3/25/2006 4:23 PM, Blogger Jeff BBz said...

Oh, well, perhaps, but they always say that when talking about iraq because that is their primary mission. So I don't know about that.

At 3/25/2006 10:16 PM, Blogger Liza said...

paco, do you happen to know what the rescued had to say on this? has anyone recorded any statements from them?

I'd be interested to know what those three dudes were thinking, and if they were glad to see the military, or depressed, and how active they were in their own rescue.
(I'd like to know from anybody, not just Paco, if they have info on this...)

At 3/26/2006 1:57 AM, Blogger Anthony Paul Smith said...

Hasn't CPT always had a mission of peacemaking to the personal in the military as well? That's what a CPT friend from Princeton, IL told me.

It seems that the Christian thing to do (and I'm not advocating for that) would be to thank the soliders for, yes, risking their lives in, lets face it, basically stumbling across them. And if they didn't fire a shot, then, praise God! They were able to rescue us without sin.

On the radio I have constantly heard reps from CPT call this an illegeal occupation that they demand an end to (including full withdrawl of the troops). Even if these seem to be contraditory opinions, I think it is neccesitated by a reality that never allows us to be fully innocent.

At 3/27/2006 2:28 AM, Blogger Jake Sikora said...

I suppose I would suggest an equal note of thanksgiving for the soldiers doing this and further condemnation of the entire war. Anthony, you're right that they have a mission of peace making to the soldiers as well and are not necessarily at odds with any of them. I just find it hugely problematic that it has been clearly reported that the information of their holding place was from a detainee and that CPT has had nothing to say about that.


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