Tuesday, December 06, 2005

American Friends Service Comittee: News about Iraq

This is from the last American Friends Service Comittee newsletter:

We have been deeply saddened by the abduction of four members of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq. Tom Fox (U.S), Norman Kember (UK), James Loney and Harmeet Sooden (Canada), lived outside the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad in active witness against the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. Tom Fox is a Quaker and a member of Langley Hill Meeting in Virginia.

The Christian Peacemaker Teams, a non-governmental organization, is one of the few remaining international humanitarian organizations working in Iraq. Their presence maintains a critical, nonviolent public witness to the violence and uncertainty which persists in the country. Team members knowingly work at great risk to their own health and security.

The kidnappings have caused enormous suffering and pain to the captives, their families, associates, and friends. We have been in close touch with CPT, Tom Fox’s family and other partner organizations. On Friday, we issued a joint statement with the Friends Committee on National Legislation appealing to those responsible for the kidnappings to release all four peacemakers unharmed. You can find the latest information on the evolving situation on the Christian Peacemaker Teams website.

You can alse see the Friends United Meeting web site about the kidnapping.

In recent days, a German archeologist and a French engineer working on a water treatment center have also been kidnapped. These abductions along with the daily attacks and bombings, illustrate the insecurity that Iraqis live in every day.

While the kidnappings are deeply disturbing, I also want to share two hopeful updates about the progress of our Wage Peace Campaign.

Together, our recent email campaign asking Congress to join Rep. John Murtha in calling for a troop withdrawal generated almost 23,000 emails to Representatives and Senators in all 50 states. In the meantime, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has joined the call for a quick and safe withdrawal from Iraq. Pelosi’s office received dozens of emails from us in the past three weeks.

Congress is clearly heading toward withdrawing some troops from Iraq. It’s not enough. We need to keep up the pressure to end the war, remove all troops and bases from Iraq, and to hold the U.S. to its legal and moral obligations to reconstruct Iraq.

I also wanted to report back on the results of last month’s Wage Peace Campaign survey. We’ve received more than 1,500 responses about next steps for the campaign. Thank you so much for your ideas. We’re working quickly to update our web site to have resources available to help your local activism. Look for more material in coming emails.

You can find that we already have:
• Opportunities to email Congress. (Right now, please support the “End the Iraq War Act” sponsored by Rep. Jim McGovern)
Downloadable fact sheets, timelines, and a petition
An online tool to write letters to your local newspapers
A blog on Iraq affairs, Current News in Context

Survey results

Peter Lems,
Wage Peace Campaign

American Friends Service Comittee
1501 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

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