Saturday, March 11, 2006

Tom Fox -- Christian martyr

News came today that Tom Fox is dead, killed after being held hostage in Iraq.

Fox was found near a west Baghdad railway line with gunshot wounds to his head and chest, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said Saturday. A U.S. military official in Baghdad confirmed that American forces picked up Fox's remains Thursday evening. Falah al-Mohammedawi, an official with the Interior Ministry, which oversees police, said Fox was found with his hands tied and gunshots to his head and chest.

He is now among that great cloud of witnesses whom Christians know as those who have preceded them into the next world, whose witness is a vital part of the foundation of our faith.

Tom Fox kept a blog, Waiting in the Light. His last post, There Are No Words, dated November 8 last year, is a testimony to his faith. He was among a group of Quakers working in the least protected population in Iraq, the people of Falujah.

There are no words. A city that has been demonized by Americans and many Iraqis, using the words “the city of terrorists.” A city that its residents call “the city of mosques.” A city that even its residents have to enter at checkpoints, often taking up to an hour to traverse. A city that is being choked to death economically by those same checkpoints.

CPTers and a member of the Muslim Peacemaker Teams came to Fallujah to meet with friends and contacts to ask them if the city was planning on doing something in remembrance of the tragic events of last November when U.S. forces attacked their city of 300,000 to root out, by U.S. estimates, 1,500 terrorists.

What we heard in response were words of remembrance, resistance and resilience. The cleric said that a number of civic leaders had come to him with a proposal for an action in remembrance of the anniversary. Their proposal was to raise funds to contribute to relief efforts for the victims of the earthquake in Pakistan. He said that a teaching of Islam is to always look to aid others in need before asking for aid yourself.

This last post is part of his memorial. The comments thread has become a visitation place for those who want to pay their last respects. Go look. And offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the peacemakers of the world. Those who die as martyrs are no less valuable than those who die as military heroes.

Link to CPT website. H/T Helena Cobban

Tom Fox reflection: "Why are we here?" written the day before the abduction.

In response to Tom’s passing, we ask that everyone set aside inclinations to vilify or demonize others, no matter what they have done. 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.”
Even as we grieve the loss of our beloved colleague, we stand in the light of his strong witness to the power of love and the courage of nonviolence. That light reveals the way out of fear and grief and war.

1 comment:

John Elfrank-Dana said...

Who killed Tom Fox?

There's reason to believe it was Pro-US, Pro-Occupation elements within the Iraq Interior Ministry.

The BBC reported tonight that it's puzzling that Fox's body was found in a Shia stronghold where Sunni and other Islamist insurgents would find it most difficult to move around; let alone dump a body.

How could the insurgency benefit by killing U.S. and other western peace activists opposed to the occupation? Only those who want to frame the insurgency and intimidate other anti-occupation activists would benefit. It's common sense.

It looks like El Salvador all over again; our ally is now doing the killing of innocents and perhaps with direction by the CIA. It wouldn't be the first time.