Thursday, March 30, 2006

"Peace, peace, when there is no peace."

I'm going to get in trouble for this, but here goes.

The Christian Peacekeeping Team, absent the murdered Tom Fox, was released recently. Try as I might (and Google is not infallible) I can't find any coverage of that fact in the blogs I frequent (nor in mine; mea culpa, mea maxima culpa). However, I can find coverage of the release of Jill Caroll in an idle browse down the blogroll:

Street Prophets


First Draft

Mia Culpa

Now somebody may point out a blog post I've overlooked, and I will gladly take corrections on this point. I don't mean to point a finger at anyone; just to point something out. Like the blogs I scanned, NPR made sure I knew, when I woke up this morning, that her release was the day's top story. Amy Goodman treated it the same way. As Holden says, the news is "fantastic." As Athenae says: "Thank God."

But still, I'm wondering: did we react the same way when the surviving members of the CPT were rescued? And could this be part of the reason why?

The head of the British Army, Gen. Sir Mike Jackson, said in a statement he was "saddened" there did not seem to be any gratitude for the efforts by U.S. and British soldiers to free Kember and his fellow peace activists, reports CBS News correspondent Larry Miller.

However, upon his arrival at London's Heathrow Airport, Kember said, "I do not believe that a lasting peace is achieved by armed force, but I pay tribute to their courage and thank those who played a part in my rescue."

Before leaving for his peacemaking work in Iraq, Kember said if he was taken hostage he did not want to be freed by the military.
Well, maybe. When Kember was released, he pointedly did not thank the military. James Loney, however, did:

"To the British soldiers who risked their lives to rescue us, to the government of Canada who sent a team to Baghdad to help secure our release, to all those who thought about us and prayed for us, for all those who spoke for us when we had no voice, I am forever and truly grateful," he said. "It's great to be alive."
So it isn't a simple matter, and I don't want to oversimplify it. Call it an uncomfortable reflection, then, but peace is a very difficult concept for us. What we usually mean by it is peace for us: comfort, safetey, security. What we usually mean by it is peace from the other. It's why we have a Dept. of Defense now, instead of the old Dept. of War. We don't make war; we just insure our peace. And we are still more comfortable doing that by violence.

I am grateful Jill Caroll was released. I am glad she was not harmed, and her ordeal was one she should not have gone through. I do not, in any way, compare her ordeal to that of the CPT, or even our response to the two.

I was just noticing the difference; and it's interesting.

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