CPT INTERNATIONAL POEM: Advent’s Eve, 2005

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CPTnet
27 November 2015
CPT
INTERNATIONAL POEM: Advent’s Eve, 2005

 by Tim Nafziger*

 
On that last day of ordinary time

Norman, Harmeet, Jim
and Tom walk across a parking lot

in Baghdad and get into a van.

Years later, Jim can’t remember “those last,
unremarkable motions.”

 

            The
next morning (the first Sunday of Advent)

            The
BBC called me at noon.

            The
voice at the other end of the line was chasing rumors:

            We
heard that four members of Christian Peacemaker Teams were kidnapped.

            What
do you know?

 

                        What
if Christians took the same risks for peace…

 

The van exits the lot, abruptly stops;

Men with big guns open the door, 

shove the four to the floor

and into the tomb.

 

                        That
soldiers do for war?

 

Waves broke across our ordinary time:

Across the tapestry of CPT

Arriving through phone lines wet with tears

at those four threads ripped away from so many

 

                        What
do I know?

 

            Lives
sown together with soft words and shared food:

            Fresh
fish from the Opon river at dawn,

            warm
stew beneath the trees of Treaty 3 land,

            falafel
and pita just beyond Damascus gate on the northern wall

            and
hundreds of cheese sandwiches in Chicago

 

                        What
do you know?

 

After three days of frenetic silence

Al-Jazeera showed a video from the Swords of
Righteousness Brigade

with our four friends:

frayed, cut, standing in the light

 

                        What
do we know?

 

Our cheek turning footsteps behind that foolish
fisherman

Our naive refusal to bow down before the AK-47

Our “hobnobbing with the Sunni extremists”

Splashed across the headlines.

 

Yet the first candle is lit.

                         
 We
wait.

 

*Tim Nafziger was a reservist with Christian
Peacemaker Teams living in London in 2005 during the kidnapping of Norman
Kember, 
Harmeet Singh Sooden, Jim Loney and Tom
Fox. He wrote this poem for the 10th anniversary of the date they were taken.
 

 

Notes

 

Quote 1: From p. 13 of “Captivity: 118 Days
in Iraq and the Struggle for a World Without War” by James Loney, Vintage Canada Trade, 2012

Quote 2: From “Kember deserved to be
kidnapped, says Tim Collins” by Thomas Harding, The Telegraph, 10 May 2006
Available at https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1517955/Kember-deserved-to-be-kidnapped-says-Tim-Collins.html

 

 

 

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