AN URGENT APPEAL: PLEASE RELEASE OUR FRIENDS IN IRAQ

AN URGENT APPEAL: PLEASE RELEASE OUR FRIENDS IN IRAQ

Arabic version at http://electroniciraq.net/news/2210.shtml

Sign the petition at http://freethecpt.org

Four members of Christian Peacemaker Teams were taken this past Saturday, November 26, in Baghdad, Iraq. They are not
spies, nor do they work in the service of any government. They are people who have dedicated their lives to fighting
against war and have clearly and publicly opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They are people of faith,
but they are not missionaries. They have deep respect for the Islamic faith and for the right of Iraqis to
self-determination.

C.P.T. first came to Iraq in October 2002 to oppose the US invasion, and it has remained in the country throughout
the occupation in solidarity with the Iraqi people. The group has been invaluable in alerting the world to many of
the horrors facing Iraqis detained in US-run prisons and detention centers. C.P.T. was among the first to document
the torture occurring at the Abu Ghraib prison, long before the story broke in the mainstream press. Its members have spent countless hours interviewing Iraqis about abuse and torture suffered at the hands of US forces and have disseminated this information internationally.

Each of the four C.P.T. members being held in Iraq has dedicated his life to resisting the darkness and misery of war and occupation. Convinced that it is not enough to oppose the war from the safety of their homes, they made the difficult decision to go to Iraq, knowing that the climate of mistrust created by foreign occupation meant that they could be mistaken for spies or missionaries. They went there with a simple purpose: to bear witness to injustice and to embody a different kind of relationship between cultures and faiths. Members of C.P.T. willingly undertook the risks of living among Iraqis, in a common neighborhood outside of the infamous Green Zone. They sought no protection from weapons or armed guards,
trusting in, and benefiting from, the goodwill of the Iraqi people. Acts of kindness and hospitality from Iraqis were innumerable and ensured the C.P.T. members’ safety and wellbeing. We believe that spirit will prevail in the
current situation.

We appeal to those holding these activists to release them unharmed so that they may continue their vital work as
witnesses and peacemakers.

Signed,**

* Arundhati Roy, author, The God of Small Things

* Tariq Ali, author, Bush in Babylon

* Denis Halliday, former U.N. Assistant Secretary General and Head of the U.N. Humanitarian Program in Iraq (1997-1998)

* Cindy Sheehan, mother of Casey Sheehan

* Noam Chomsky, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

* Haifa Zangana, Iraqi novelist

* Kamil Mahdi, Iraqi economist and anti-occupation activist. Lecturer, University of Exeter

* Mahmood Mamdani, “Herbert Lehman Professor of Government,” Columbia University

* Rashid Khalidi, “Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies,” Middle East Institute, Columbia University

* Cindy and Craig Corrie, parents of Rachel Corrie, killed by Israeli military

* Hasan Abu Nimah, Permanent Representative of Jordan at the United Nations (1995-2000)

* Ralph Nader, former independent presidential candidate

* James Abourezk, former US Senator

* Howard Zinn, historian

* Naseer Aruri, Professor (Emeritus) University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

* Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence/Nobel Peace Prize Nominee

* Naomi Klein, author/journalist

* Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights

* Rev. Daniel Berrigan, poet

* Jeremy Scahill, independent journalist

* Mazin Qumsiyeh, author, Sharing the Land Of Canaan, board member US Campaign to End the Occupation

* Milan Rai, author, War Plan Iraq: Ten Reasons Against War on Iraq

* Sam Husseini, writer

* Dahr Jamail, independent journalist

* Ali Abunimah, Co-founder, Electronic Iraq

* Nigel Parry, Co-founder, Electronic Iraq

* Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator, United for Peace and Justice

* Eve Ensler, author

* Jennifer Harbury, Director, Stop Torture Permanently Campaign

* Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Detroit

* Anthony Arnove, author, Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal

* Medea Benjamin, Global Exchange

* G. Simon Harak, SJ, War Resisters League

* David Hartsough, Co-Founder and Capacity Building Director of Nonviolent Peaceforce and Executive Director of Peaceworkers. Nonviolent Peace Force

* Blase Bonpane, Office of the Americas

* Carol Bragg, Coordinator, Rhode Island Peace Mission

* Rev. Richard Deats, former Executive Secretary and Fellowship Editor, Fellowship of Reconciliation

* Omar Diop, Président de la Coalition Sénégalaise des Défenseurs des Droits humains

* Jim Forest, Secretary, The Orthodox Peace Fellowship

* Thomas C. Cornell, The Catholic Worker

* David Grant, Nonviolent Peaceforce

* Ted Lewis, Global Exchange

* Charles Jenks, Chair of Advisory Board, Traprock Peace Center

* Jeff Leys, Voices for Creative Nonviolence

* Andréa Schmidt, independent journalist

* Michael Albert, ZNet

* Richard McDowell, Senior Fellow for Iraq Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation

* Dave McReynolds, former Chair, War Resisters International

* Peter Lems, Program Associate for Iraq, American Friends Service Committee

* Kevin Zeese, Director, Democracy Rising

* Sunny Miller, Director, Traprock Peace Center

* Dave Robinson, Director, Pax Christi USA

* Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, National Coordinator, Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq

* David Swanson, Co-Founder, After Downing Street, Board Member Progressive Democrats of America, Washington Director Democrats.com

* Mary Trotochaud, Senior Fellow for Iraq Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation

* Michael Birmingham, activist

* Barbara Wien, Co-Director, Peace Brigades International/USA

* Bishop Gabino Zavala, President, Pax Christi USA

**Organizations and institutions are listed for identification purposes only. Contact: freethecpt(at)gmail.com

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6 thoughts on “AN URGENT APPEAL: PLEASE RELEASE OUR FRIENDS IN IRAQ

  1. My name is Jesse Holmes. I am an 18-year-old college student at Albertson College of Idaho. I spoke to you briefly about Irish dancing last year while you were protesting the ‘apartheid wall’ at an interfaith comedy event. I’m sorry that you don’t like my username, but I didn’t see how my identity was relevant to what I had to say. And I wouldn’t mind your comparison at all if there was any accuracy to it. As it is, you are throwing a provocative word into a situation that, while unpleasant, doesn’t merit it and is not genocide.

  2. Actually, Jesse, your name and context are, in fact, quite important. I wonder, for instance, how an 18 year old from Idaho has any clue about the realities of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. How do you know that it’s not a genocide? How do you know that there is no accuracy to it? Have you been there? Have you seen it up close? Even if you’ve read extensive history, literature, seen films, etc. nothing compares to witnessing the brutal ethnic cleansing that is the Israeli occupation. I’m not going to get into a semantic debate about whether or not it is a genocide; witness what happened when the UN did this with Rwanda or Sudan. But, I will say that what my writing was about is the way that Israelis appropriate Nazi practices. It’s not rocket science. It’s reality. Read some of the Nazi regime’s texts and then visit Palestine. It will take only a few moments for it all to sink in.

    Salam–

  3. Marcy – while I certainly admire that you choose to live the life you preach as much as possible it is a little bit harsh to say that someone who uses a username: ” hides behind a mask and refuses to live his life in truth and reveal his identity” . Usernames are generally the norm. I personally use one not because I am afraid in person to stand up for what I believe in nor because I have never put myself “out there” but because I have no idea with who I am speaking at any one time, this is a very emotive topic and I have two small children who deserve to have a mother who protects them.

    You are absolutely correct that it is hard to discuss an issue with a stranger whose age, nationality and background are indeterminate so I will tell you the following:
    I am 37, grew up in the UK. Nominally Reform Jewish with no religious education. I have spent several years in Israel and Palestine/Territories including 1 year pre intifada in 1986/87 and 3 years in Jerusalem (West). I also spent 1 month in Egypt. I speak fluent Hebrew, very little Arabic. My husband is Israeli, of Moroccan descent, grew up in Jerusalem and speaks both Hebrew and Arabic. I have friends among both Jewish and Arab Israelis and Palestinians, mostly from Bet Tzafafa and Har Ha Zeitim. In Israel I vote on the left, favor the establishment of an independent Palestinian State and would like to see the removal of the settlements. The Israeli polititian that mirrors my position most closely would probably be Yossi Beilin. I have had the priviledge to see close up the changes that have taken place in the region over the past 20 years.
    I always post under the same name and never under anonymous.

    I do have to agree with the Dark Provost about the overuse of the term “Nazi”.
    The “Soup Nazi” was hilarious.
    Rush Limbaugh is odious.
    “Nazi”, when used in this conflict is provocative and inappropriate, whether by settlers in Gaza or by activists in Palestine.
    Genocide is not semantics. When Israel takes 2 million Palestinians from the West Bank, 1 million Palestinians from Gaza and as many Arabs as possible from the Galilee and the Negev, trucks them to isolated locations and murders them – gassing naked children in a “shower”, shooting them over open pits or hacking them to death with machetes, noone is entitled to use the word genocide or “Nazi”. As for comparisons – I have Moslem friends from Sarajevo and Yugoslavia that could tell you stories that would make your hair stand on end.

    It is possible to cherry pick and to claim that any police or military action in some way uses “Nazi” tactics. It lowers the level of debate and causes people to ignore serious issues as hyperbole.

    I don’t like Israeli tactics in Gaza and the West bank. It should be remembered however that what we see now is a culmination of 20 years of tit for tat violence. Previous to the first intifada there was great freedom of movement throughout the WB and over the green line. Israeli soldiers and citizens regularly went to Ramalla to eat, Jerusalemites shopped in the Old City. I personally don’t like violence but some could make a valid arguement for armed activity against an occupier. However if you choose to aim that at civilians using suicide bombers you have to expect some response geared towards stopping potential bombers from reaching their target.

    It is a beautiful place though. I’m not surprised you love it. The people are very nice also.

  4. Dr. Newman,

    It is impossible for every person in this world to have suffered genocide or to know from personal experience what genocide is. Why does the dark provst’s age have anything to do with this discussion, or that he’s from Idaho for that matter? You’ve done what you’ve preached to others not to do; you’ve jumped to a conclusion so you can justify dismissing his argument. Do you honestly expect that only those who have been through, or seen this suffering, have a valuable opinion, or can affect a positive change? I am 35 years old and I would never assume that his age makes him incapable to executing a logical argument. I think you owe him an apology.

    Anonymous in Boise

  5. On an entirely different note. I have been reading the early portions of your blog and am enjoying them very much. It brings back a lot of memories – like karkadeh, which I had forgotton entirely, and the adventure of crossing a street in Cairo, which is burned on my brain for all eternity. Have you ever been to Marsa Matruah? Amazingly beautiful.

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