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Christian Peacemaker Team abductions in Iraq

I have traveled to quite a few places where I've encountered volunteers with Christian Peacemaker Teams. I've never been to Iraq, so that's not one of the places. But I can say this, which is what others have been saying since some of the CPTers (as they are known to anglophones) were abducted in Iraq last week. The CPTers might have the word 'Christian' in their name, but they are no missionaries. They might have 'peacemaker' in their name, but that isn't a euphemism for imperialism the way 'peacekeeping' or 'peacebuilding' can be. They are people of conscience who are very much anti-imperialist in the most important way - in their actions.

They should be released unharmed. Sign a petition here.

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Comments

If they *were* missionaries or *weren't* anti-imperialist, would you believe that they ought to be harmed after being captured?

Rad Geek - it sounds to me like you're making up an implication that doesn't exist. perhaps it would be more constructive if you just said your opinion straight out instead of making implications.

doviende, I'm asking a question rather than shooting off my mouth because I don't have the answer. The question at hand is whether Justin thinks that the fact that CPT team is politically sympathetic makes any difference or not to whether they ought to be harmed or killed once captured. The reason I ask is because if he does, that's a curious thing to believe, and if he doesn't, then it's curious as to why he'd emphasize and highlight so much something that he doesn't think matters for the topic at hand.

If I knew what the "implications" of his post were, I would not have asked.

The point, Rad Geek, is simple. A petition like this is intended for the people who have the power to make the decision to release or keep the captives - the captors. If the captors are affiliated with the Iraqi resistance, and have accused the CPTers on tape of being spies, that suggests that they think the CPTers are something other than they are. One might appeal to the captors on simple humanitarian grounds - i.e., they might be spies, but you shouldn't harm them because it's wrong to harm people. Or one might appeal to the captors on specific grounds, that they are not spies and missionaries, and since that happens to be true, it doesn't seem to me to be unprincipled to do so.

A secondary reason is that when people like the CPTers are kidnapped in a place like Iraq, it is all too easy for their own anti-imperialist peace message to get drowned out in US racism and nationalism. Repeating their own principles and their own intentions in being there, not to mention the reasons they are *not* there, are things they can't do as captives.

I think you ought to have been able to puzzle that one out without leaping immediately to the worst possible conclusion. But if you were sincere, then I'll just suggest gently that such leaps do not generally produce sympathy in the person who you are addressing, and it is therefore unlikely to lead to fruitful communication.

Justin: "A petition like this is intended for the people who have the power to make the decision to release or keep the captives -- the captors"

My question wasn't about the petition. I know why *that* stresses these points and I think it's quite reasonable to do so. What I was less sure about was the purpose of mentioning it in this blog post, advertising the petition, which I take it was aimed at sympathetic people who are likely to sign it, rather than the captors. (Unless you mean to suggest that you expect guerillas in Iraq to be reading your blog. Which I take it that you don't.)

Justin: "I think you ought to have been able to puzzle that one out without leaping immediately to the worst possible conclusion. But if you were sincere, then I'll just suggest gently that such leaps do not generally produce sympathy in the person who you are addressing, and it is therefore unlikely to lead to fruitful communication."

As I said already, I didn't leap to a conclusion; I asked a question. Which you've partially answered above -- thanks -- although as I mention above I don't understand all the details of your answer. If you're going to give suggestions, gentle or otherwise, about interpretive charity, you ought to be able to puzzle out the difference between a clarificatory question and an accusation, and not read malicious intent into the former unless you have pretty strong reasons for doing so.

We invited Christian Peacemaker Teams to come to North Thailand to work because the Thai government was killing Akha people, taking their rice lands, evicting villages, and the christian missionaries were taking all the children to mission schools, forcing conversions on them, we wanted to know what christian peacemaker teams was REALLY about? And guess what, they would have nothing to do with THAT kind of intervention.

Has there been an update with this? There are speculations that this is a hoax by these so-called "Christians".

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