Monday, March 13, 2006

death of a visionary

Peace Advocate Killed in Iraq
Tom Fox senselessly executed in the cradle of civilization

Email Article Print Article Alex Argote (alexphil)

A sad day dawned on March 9, Thursday when the remains of American peace activist Tom Fox was found dumped in a street in western Baghdad. Hogtied and wrapped in a blanket, the peacemaker's body bore the palpable signs of torture, according to Iraqi police operatives, who later called U.S. forces upon learning that the body belonged to a Westerner.

Tom Fox, a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, was abducted on Nov. 26 along three other coworkers and peace activists. The three, two Canadians -- Harmeet Sooden, 32, and Jim Loney, 41, -- and a British national -- Norman Kember, 74 -- are still in captivity somewhere in Iraq.

Fox was added to the more than a dozen foreign hostages who have been executed in Iraq since kidnappings began in April 2004. The world has witnessed several horrific and depressing videotaped decapitations of innocent victims.

A U.S. diplomat in Baghdad said that at least 430 foreigners were abducted and taken hostage in Iraq since the U.S. invaded the country in 2003. There have been about 41 Americans and some Iraqi-Americans, as well. Fourteen are said to be still in captivity at the time of Fox's death.

On its Web site, the anti-war group Christian Peacemaker said that Fox's unfortunate death "pierces us with pain," and pleaded for the safe release of the other hostages.

The group mourned the loss of Fox, who "combined a lightness of spirit, a firm opposition to all oppression, and the recognition of God in everyone."

Christian Peacemaker Teams urged all sides in the Iraq conflict not to vilify or demonize others in the aftermath of Fox's execution.

On March 7, Al Jareeza television showed a video broadcast footage of Fox's three companions, but none of him.

According to Claire Evans, a delegation coordinator of the Peacemaker Teams in Chicago, their group is now very worried about the condition of the three other peace activists.

Fox worked hard to contribute to the welfare of suffering Iraqis who have been caught in the bloody cycle of violence that has ripped apart the Iraqi nation since the 2003 U.S. invasion. He was there in the shell-scarred landscape and streets, helping to clean up the rubble-strewn city of Fallujah and doing everything he could to heal a nation and people brutally mangled by a senseless and destructive conflict.

Fox, a former Marine band member, fought all kinds of violence and war, and preached the love of God for all children of the earth.

In an article he wrote the day before he was seized by the kidnappers, Fox reflected on his group's presence in the war-torn country by offering his own question, "Why are we here?"

Fox outlined that they were adhering to the divine message to take part in the creation of the peaceable realm of God. He explained, "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 realm."

He observed that dehumanization seems to be an operative means of relating to each other. U.S. forces in their quest to hunt down and kill "terrorists" are the result of this dehumanization. In this process, many innocent Iraqis -- men, women and children -- are also killed.

Fox finally added, "Why are we here? We are here to root out all aspects of dehumanization that exists 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."

His tragic death is a cruel message to all efforts to pursue all peaceful paths in trying to defuse possible conflicts and end on-going state-sanctioned conflagrations. Unfortunate people, who are caught in the wars between cold-hearted and profit oriented governments and entities, need the likes of Tom Fox and Christian Peacemaker Teams to ease their suffering.

But if those very selfless individuals who try to reason in an unreasonable world are threatened, then who will help and protect the weak and the unfortunate? For a government, at least, those individuals may be just statistics in legally sanctioned wars, which only fuel more hatred and enmity among different people.

2006-03-13 13:00 (KST)
©2006 OhmyNews

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