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The Humanity of Hostages and Abductors
By Lisa Schirch, Associate Professor of Peacebuilding, Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, Eastern Mennonite University
Today the hostage takers threatened to kill the hostages next Thursday unless all Iraqi detainees are released. We must continue our efforts, press releases, vigils, prayers, etc to hold them in the Light.
Before I went to Iraq in August, I reflected with friends on how I wanted to respond if I was taken hostage. It was a gruesome reflection on a "what if" and many refused to think through it with me. But I wanted to have a plan. I never would have been so hopeful or imaginative to have my "what if" abductors offer me baklava and a chance to air my political views on global TV.
As I saw the new Al Jazeera video released today, I am hopeful that the hostages have succeeded in connecting with the humanity of their abductors. The video shows the two Canadians eating from a plate of Iraqi pastries and the American and Brit asking for an end to US and British military presence in Iraq. They are not bound or gagged and there are no guns to their heads. I am deeply thankful for this. This is a powerful
testimony to the humanity and dignity of both the abductors and the hostages.
When I watch the video, I believe that Tom and his colleagues have succeeded in something much bigger than saving their own lives. They are projecting love and respect to their abductors. I remember the tear in Tom's eye as he talked to me after watching Oscar Romero in the Strategic Nonviolence class. He was so moved by Romero's life. I think Father Romero is smiling down on Tom and his colleagues, as the biggest battle any of us must fight is the one in our own hearts that makes us fear death more than contributing to greater insight of the love within and between us.
May we all be so loving,