Al Jazeera has broadcast new video of three of the four abducted members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq. The silent, 25-second footage carried a superimposed date of February 28th — one week ago today. We speak with a Christian Peacemaker Teams member in London. [includes rush transcript]
British citizen Norman Kember and Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden were shown. U.S. citizen Tom Fox, of Virginia, was not on the tape. According to Al Jazeera, the men asked their governments to work for their release. The hostages were last seen all together in a video released January 28th dated one week earlier. This past weekend, the 100-day anniversary of their abduction was marked with vigils around the world. The Peacemakers’ kidnappers initially threatened to kill them unless all prisoners in US and Iraqi detention centers were released.
- Tim Nafziger, a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams in Britain.
AMY GOODMAN: We are now joined here in London by Tim Nafziger, a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams in Britain. We welcome you to Democracy Now!
TIM NAFZIGER: Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: This weekend you held a vigil.
TIM NAFZIGER: That’s right. About a hundred of us gathered in Trafalgar Square. We had doves there to symbolize our hopes for both peace and for the liberation of our friends, and also for some of the 14,000 detainees in Iraq being held without charge. And it was a meaningful time. We had prayers from Buddhist tradition, Muslim tradition and Christian tradition there.
AMY GOODMAN: You knew Norman Kember?
TIM NAFZIGER: That’s right.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about him, what he has done over the years?
TIM NAFZIGER: Sure. Norman has been part of the peace movement here for 50 years. I have only known him for the last two, so I can hardly speak —
AMY GOODMAN: He’s what? 74 years old?
TIM NAFZIGER: Yeah. And so, this is part of his lifelong vocation. And his trip to Iraq was part of that, but it was only a small part of what he has done. He’s — one of the organizations — networks I work with is called Network of Christian Peace Organizations, of which Norman is the treasurer. We just met this Saturday and realized, well, what do we do? Norman has all the accounts. So this is very much — we need him back here to continue his work with a wide variety of organizations.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about his work?
TIM NAFZIGER: Norman — one of the photos that has been in the press is him going to 10 Downing Street and delivering petitions there. He was always very — had creative ways to be involved and to be a voice for peace. And, yes, it was everything from the routine of accounts to showing up at demonstrations with creative costumes or creative signs that really expressed both his faith and his hope for peace in the world.
AMY GOODMAN: You hold vigils every Wednesday for the Christian Peacemakers?
TIM NAFZIGER: That’s right. For the four men. Those are organized by Fellowship of Reconciliation and Pax Christi, which are also organizations that Norman worked with.
AMY GOODMAN: Your reaction to the latest videotape that shows Norman Kember and two of the three others kidnapped?
TIM NAFZIGER: It’s good to see them alive, and it’s good to see that they are well, considering what they have been through. And we hope that they will be released and that this video is a signal of their continued — hope and continued possibility for that, so we’d invite people to join us from 6:00 to 7:00 Wednesday evening at Trafalgar Square to continue our vigil.
AMY GOODMAN: And any message to the kidnappers?
TIM NAFZIGER: Well, like I said earlier, Norman’s continued work here has been interrupted, and we hope that he can be released to come back and continue that work along with Harmeet and Tom and Jim, who all have been longtime activists for peace and for justice for the people of Iraq.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Tim Nafziger, I want to thank you very much for being with us. The weekly vigil tomorrow, again, in Trafalgar Square here in London.