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2006-03-27

Freed British Peace Activist Norman Kember Tells World Not to Forget Plight of "Ordinary Iraqi People"

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The three recently freed kidnapped members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams have returned home. Last week, Norman Kember of Britain, and Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden were found after nearly four months in captivity. We play Kember’s statement to the media shortly after arriving in London. [includes rush transcript]

The three recently freed kidnapped members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams have returned home. Last week, Norman Kember of Britain, and Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden were found after nearly four months in captivity. It was only after their release that the men learned that their colleague Tom Fox had been killed two weeks earlier. On Saturday, Norman Kember addressed the media shortly after he flew into London.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: On Saturday, Norman Kember addressed the media shortly after he flew home to London.

NORMAN KEMBER: Now, there’s a real sense in which you are interviewing the wrong person. It’s the ordinary people of Iraq that you should be talking to. Those are the people who have suffered so much over so many years and still await the stable and just society that they deserve.

Another group that I hope you do not forget are the relatives of British soldiers killed or wounded in Iraq. I do not believe that lasting peace is achieved through armed force, but I pay tribute to their courage and thank those who played a part in my release.

I’m not ready at this time to talk about my months of captivity, except to say, of course, that I’m delighted to be free and reunited with my family. In reality, it was my wife who was kidnapped last November; she suffered more than I, because while I knew that I was alive and well, she did not. And I thank all who supported Pat during that most agonizing and stressful time.

Now, while in Baghdad, we had — the Canadians and I had — the opportunity to thank the embassy staff who worked so diligently for our release. And I know — I now thank the staff in Britain, who also dedicated so much time to the same end.

Then, I’m grateful to all those from many faith communities who appealed for my release, held prayers and vigils in my name. Pat assures me that I’ll be overwhelmed by the volume of goodwill messages, and our home is currently like a flower shop.

I thank the media for agreeing to share news and reduce the stress on me on this occasion. I now need to reflect on my experience — was I foolhardy or rational? — and also to enjoy freedom in peace and in quiet.

AMY GOODMAN: Norman Kember, recently released, one of the three members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams that made it out alive from Iraq. Their colleague, Tom Fox, was killed. Norman Kember was speaking when he arrived in London.

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