November 30, 2005
The Lesson Of Susan Hallums: Or, Why I Refuse To Condemn These Hostages
Susan Hallums, ex-wife of former hostage in Iraq Roy Hallums, left this comment on my post here:
I was deeply saddened to hear that more hostages were taken. These men were good Christian men trying to help promote peace in Iraq. I will pray for their safe release and for their families. There is such devastation to the families , I know this horror... I pray for them , I wish I could help in some way.
I replied to Ms. Hallums via email, here is what I wrote:
Please do not take any criticism I have for the CPT organization as a whole to mean that I have no empathy for the plight of these people.
I do not believe for one minute, no matter what brought them to Iraq, that anyone should be subjected to what Mr. Hallums went through.
I've watched what happened to Nick Berg and the others, I know full well what these people are capable of, and I wish that on no human being.
I still pray for Mr. Hallums', and your, good health, although I know you may never fully recover from his ordeal.
Ms. Hallums was kind enough to reply, however, since I don't have permission, and it's irrelevant to this post anyway, I won't publish it.
Look, kids, I spent a healthy chunk of my dwindling free time yesterday perusing the CPT website, and I wholeheartedly disagreed with just about, well, no, absolutely everything they do. From the Adopt a Detainee campaign to opposing any kind of enforcement of our national sovereignty on the border.
But I still won't wash my hands of these hostages. Here's another nugget I found this evening:
The organization is supported by several Protestant denominations, including the Mennonite Church, that believe Christianity forbids all war-making and violence. It has sent activists into war zones, including Bosnia and Haiti, since the late 1980s. It has about 160 members around the world and about a dozen in Iraq.
Folks, based upon their website, I was under the impression that this group was far larger than it really is. Had I known this, I wouldn't have spent so much time on that website. The influence they wield is precisely nil. Jane Novak, one woman with a blog, has had more global impact in a year than these people have in 20.
So what is the lesson here? First off, as Rusty said in his reply to Ms. Hallums' comment, and I paraphrase, "I believe they're misguided, but they're victims nonetheless." Second, I draw from my own experience. I've written posts about local stories on my home blog about murdered children, and twice the mothers of those children, like Susan Hallums, commented on my post. And like Susan Hallums, I've had a nice exchange of email.
These hostages, whose politics and ideology I may wholeheartedly disagree with, are still human beings. They have, from what I know right now, committed no evil acts that have placed them in the situation they're in. Granted, running around in Iraq as a member of the Christian Peacemakers may not be the smartest thing to do in this day and age, but it's surely not evil.
There's that, and there's what I've been alluding to this whole time. These people have families and friends. They more than likely have family and friends who, like me, totally disagree with the mission they undertook, or the views they hold. But, be that as it may, the loved ones of these people probably don't care one whit about those political views right now. They surely don't believe that these people deserve to be in the place they are.
And neither do I. Granted, this all may turn out to be one big stunt, but at this point, I could care less. If it is, all I'm out is the fact that maybe I cared a little too much. I can live with that.
What I couldn't live with is if I were making statements like the ones I've read, on this blog and others. Glib, making flip comments, only to see these people get the Nick Berg treatment. If it were my brother (quite a moonbat in his own right, I must say) over there, and I stumbled upon some of what I've read both here and elsewhere, I would be disgusted.
If you still can't find empathy for these four based on their ideology, that's fine, I can't control what you think or feel. But at least pause for a moment and consider their families.