Body of American CPTer found in Baghdad

Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by Ben W, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. Ben W

    Ben W
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    Body of American CPTer found in Baghdad
    By Robert Rhodes
    Mennonite Weekly Review

    U.S. forces in Iraq have recovered the body of kidnapped Christian Peacemaker Teams activist Tom Fox, CPT confirmed on March 10.

    Fox, 54, a Quaker from Clearbrook, Va., was found with his hands bound and with gunshot wounds to the head and chest the evening of March 9, according to the Associated Press.

    Iraqi police, who discovered the body in a garbage dump in the al-Mansur district of Baghdad, said Fox’s remains also showed signs of having been beaten before he was killed, the BBC reported. His body, clothed in a gray track suit, also had cuts and bruises and was found along a main road near a train station wrapped in a blanket inside a plastic bag, according to CNN and Aljazeera. When police saw the body was that of a Westerner, U.S. military authorities were called to the scene, reports said.

    “In grief we tremble before God who wraps us with compassion,” a statement from CPT said. “The death of our beloved colleague and friend pierces us with pain.”

    Fox was kidnapped in Baghdad Nov. 26 along with fellow CPTers Norman Kember, 74, a Briton, and Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32. The four were seized at gunpoint by a group calling itself the Swords of Righteousness Brigade and have been shown in videos released by the group, which has demanded the release of all detainees in U.S. and Iraqi prisons.

    The most recent video, a silent 25-second clip that aired on Aljazeera March 7, showed all of the hostages except Fox.

    “We didn't know at the time what the significance of his absence was,” said CPT co-director Carol Rose of Chicago, during a news conference in Toronto March 10. “My government's action got the peacemakers into this. Perhaps Tom was used as a message to the nation that took the lead in the war.”

    CPT has five other activists in Baghdad, in addition to the hostages. CPT co-director Doug Pritchard told the Toronto news conference that CPT plans to remain in Iraq, at least until the fate of the other three captives is resolved.

    On March 10, the U.S. State Department also confirmed Fox’s death.

    “The FBI has verified the identity of a body found in Iraq,” said State Department spokesman Noel Clay, who said the whereabouts and safety of the other three hostages was still unknown. “While additional forensic testing will be completed in the United States, we believe this is the body of Tom Fox.”

    Fox, who has two children, was a musician and had been a grocer before joining CPT a few years ago. He also had served CPT in the West Bank.

    According to the New York Times, U.S. forces carried out house raids in a neighborhood near where Fox's body was discovered, but found no signs of the other three hostages or their captors.

    Meanwhile, CPT reiterated Fox’s opposition to violence.

    “In response to Tom’s passing, we ask that everyone set aside inclinations to vilify or demonize others, no matter what they have done,” the statement said. “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.’ ”

    Vigils in Fox's memory and for the safety and freedom of the other three hostages were scheduled in Chicago and Toronto on March 11. At least one other gathering was to be held in Lancaster, Pa.

    Fox is the first CPTer to fall victim to violence. On Jan. 9, 2003, George Weber, 73, of Chesley, Ont., was killed in an automobile accident near Basra.

    http://www.mennoweekly.org/MARCH/03-20-06/CPT-FOX03-20.html
     
  2. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    Of course, sadness and anger are emotions I'm feeling right now....but also, a re-commitment to non-violence. I don't want his death to have been in vain. I want to be able to continue to hold in my heart the values that put Tom Fox stood for. It's very difficult, but following the prophetic always is.

    To my mind, the 'sacrifice' was already made when the Peacemaker Team people decided to volunteer for the work they did, before hostage-takings and executions began. Sunday's gospel lesson was 'if any want to follow me, let them deny themselves, take up their cross and follow', followed by Jesus going on to talk about those who try to save their life, will lose it, but those who lose their life for him and the gospel will save it.

    So the sacrifice was the initial submission of oneself - not to the violence of the terrorist, but to the will of God - to what they believed God wanted from them by way of obedience and faithfulness to his calling on their lives. And in this case that resulted in Tom Fox losing his life. He had put his hand to the plough, so to speak, and didn't look back. In that sense, perhaps his death was part of his taking up the cross.

    As for futile? Easy to come to that conclusion considering how obdurate terrorists are, what with the glorious cause or 'God' on their side. However, all our denying of ourselves, taking up the cross, I believe belong to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ's on his cross; because we are laying ourselves down for him and the gospel and he tells us that to lose our lives in this way is to gain eternal life. And so it cannot be futile at last. Wish it would feel that way, though, or there was more in the way of evidence!

    My prayer is that Tom's murderers will repent and be saved so that they can spend eternity with him and his Lord and Saviour.
     
  3. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
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    As misguided as I think he was, I am sorry he met such a violent demise. It was not his government, however, who got him into this. He had to know full well that this was a possibility when he chose to go over there. Quite the opposite of the message above from the group, I hope this inspires us to continue the fight, destroy the terrorists, and bring justice, sanity, and true peace to Iraq.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  4. Phillip

    Phillip
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    AMEN, Bro. Joseph, and as a messenger of God, he will receive his rewarrds for giving his life.
     
  5. Terry_Herrington

    Terry_Herrington
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    I think the government did have a hand in creating the hostile environment this poor man found himself in.

    Regardless of what you think, this war is winding down; I think the end is in sight. Either Bush will start withdrawing the troops now or the Congress will step in. And barring this, the Democrats will stop the war after the 2008 elections.
     
  6. Joseph_Botwinick

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    If I had to guess, I would say that Bush will start reducing troop levels around the end of this year as the Iraqis continue to take over their own security...but they will probably not come home. I would think we would want to establish a base of operation somewhere near Iran and Syria.

    Joseph Botwinick
     

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