Tom Fox: There Are No Words

On March 10th Tom Fox, medical one of the Christian Peacemaker Team hostages was murdered recently so I thought it would be appropriate to post his final blog entry entitled “There Are No Words”. You can also read this article at Electronic Iraq.

â??â??The ongoing difficulties faced by Fallujans are so great that words fail to properly express it.â? Words from a cleric in Fallujah as he tried to explain the litany of ills that continue to afflict his city one year after the U.S.-led assault took place.

â??All the men in the mosque were from my neighborhood. They were not terrorists.â? Words from a young man who said he left a room of men either injured or homeless thirty minutes before the raid on his mosque, troche the same mosque shown in the now-famous videotape of an American soldier shooting unarmed men lying on the mosque floor.

â??There havenâ??t been any funds for home reconstruction available since the change in Iraqi government last January.â? The words of a civic leader from Fallujah as he showed CPTers the still-devastated areas of his city.

There are no words. A city that has been demonized by Americans and many Iraqis, here using the words â??the city of terrorists.â? A city that its residents call â??the city of mosques.â? A city that even its residents have to enter at checkpoints, often taking up to an hour to traverse. A city that is being choked to death economically by those same checkpoints.

CPTers and a member of the Muslim Peacemaker Teams came to Fallujah to meet with friends and contacts to ask them if the city was planning on doing something in remembrance of the tragic events of last November when U.S. forces attacked their city of 300,000 to root out, by U.S. estimates, 1,500 terrorists.

What we heard in response were words of remembrance, resistance and resilience. The cleric said that a number of civic leaders had come to him with a proposal for an action in remembrance of the anniversary. Their proposal was to raise funds to contribute to relief efforts for the victims of the earthquake in Pakistan. He said that a teaching of Islam is to always look to aid others in need before asking for aid yourself.

The cleric said that he recently traveled to another Middle Eastern country and during his visit he met with a cleric from Libya. The Libyan cleric said that in his city, and in other places in Libya, parents are naming newborn girls â??Fallujahâ? in honor of the city. The cleric said that more than 800 girls had been named Fallujah in his city alone.

Words are inadequate, but words are all we have. Words like â??collective punishmentâ? and â??ghettoizeâ? come to mind for the current state of life in Fallujah.

What words or deeds could undo the massive trauma faced by the people of Fallujah every day? Everywhere we went during the afternoon young boys listened to our words and the words of those with whom we were meeting. I kept wondering what was going on in their minds as they relived the events of a year ago and the ensuing trauma. What effect will these events have on their lives as they grow up?

There are no words.�


  • I must strongly disagree with Samaritan. Fox was neither foolish nor naive. He knew the danger, but he went anyway. He put his life on the line out of love and a commitment to peace and nonviolence. Tom Fox is a hero in every sense of the word. He gave his life by standing up for his convictions. How many of us can say the same thing?

  • If Tom Fox and his captors had been located, who would have had to pull him out? Not the ‘Christian Peacekeepers.’ Coalition, likely American, soldiers would have had to put their asses on the line. Their lives would have been at risk. When people put themselves in dangerous situations needlessly they do no one any favors.

    Fox was no hero, he was a fool. Apparently, he learned nothing of the true nature of these Arab criminals from the death of Margaret Hassan. His death is a tragedy, nevertheless.

    These ‘Christian Peacekeepers’ are flaming idiots.

  • Oh yeah sure, it’s American soldiers who put their asses on the line for others. Of course, how else would you have an army captain order his soldiers to fire on an Iraqi family van so that the soldiers who are engaged in armed conflict and who are fully armed can be saved, while the “suspects” in the van who are neither armed nore are dangerous and in fact are the people of the land the soldiers are on and are foreign to can be killed and the “security threat” they pose can be eliminated.

  • Hamzeh:

    Clearly you don’t want to face facts. I’m not certain as to the particular incident you refer to but it sounds like it has little relevance to the situation involving Mr. Fox. The fact remains that if Fox had been located, it would have been US troops that would have to risk their lives saving him. Whatever situation you bring up in your post is simply an attempt to divert attention away from the issue.

    I invite you to read Mr. Fox’s blog himself. Perhaps you can start with his very first entry, where he clearly expresses the fact that his ‘Christian Peacemakers’ have no experience using firearms nor will they be requiring them. I keep hearing about how Mr. Fox and company were ‘prepared’ for the dangers they were facing. What sort of preparation I wonder. I guess being prepared in this case consists of nothing more than putting yourself in harms way and having no contingency plan other than expecting governments to bow to terrorist demands once abducted. Completely irresponsible.

    The barbarians who kidnapped Fox not only killed him they reportedly tortured him also. What a way to die! Especially when he often expressed sympathy for these sort of people. What dirtbags. I feel terrible for his loved ones. No one deserves that.

    No, he didn’t deserve it, but the truth is that the name ‘Tom Fox’ will go down in history as synonymous with ‘useful idiot.’

  • I apologize for an error in my last post. It was not his first blog entry, but rather his second, I was referring to. It is dated October 17, 2004 and is entitled “Safety.”

    A pacifist like Mr. Fox, I believe, should not place himself in a war zone.

    Reading the statement on this man’s death saddens me. These people who can so ferociously denounce Israel at every opportunity cannot, with similar vigor, denounce the torture and murder of one of their own. Instead, they seem to blame Fox’s murder on “oppression.” What a cop-out. The insinuation is that the downtrodden people of the earth should not be blamed for barbarous crimes like Fox’s death since they cannot be expected to have any moral sensibilities. What a condescending attitude! How completely unfair to all poor yet decent, tolerant and humane people of the earth who would never contemplate such savage acts. These ‘Peacemakers’ are morally blind, I’m afraid.

  • Yes, I wasn’t referring to this particular incident, but I still believe that the way armed forces all over the world today (not just the Americans, but especially they because they seem to be the most active in conflicts in the world today, both stirring and calming conflicts) carry their operations is lacking of fairness and reason.

    When an armed conflict occurs I expect the most number of casualties to be of combatants, not of civilians. Look at the war in Iraq, over 100’000 civilians have died largely due to operations carried out by the coalition.

    The particular incident I was referring to was at the beginning of the war before the US troops were even in Baghdad. An army unit was stopped just outside of Baghdad on a road when a van carrying a family was driving normally everyday to drop kids at schools and adults at work or at other destinations. Remember this was very early during this war and the Iraqi’s didn’t even know that US troops were present in Baghdad. The army group decided to eliminate the security threat that this civilian van posed and ended up killing all the civilian occupants so that they the armed combatants in this conflict can survive.

    Where is the fairness in that?

    It’s true that soldiers (on all sides) put their lives on the line, I shouldn’t have questioned that, but it is far more true that today and especially when it comes to the US military, these soldiers who go to other countries in most cases have more rights and enjoy more safety than the civilians who live in those countries and who in most likelihood didn’t even want any interference from the outside.

    Take the Falluja attack as another example, US soldiers were instructed (by their own admission) to kill everything that breathed.

  • “these soldiers who go to other countries in most cases have more rights and enjoy more safety than the civilians who live in those countries”

    Hamzeh, that is only because they have much more weaponry and gear and are hard to attack without getting killed and because the insurgents have made a habit of targeting their fellow Muslims – often in difficult-to-prevent suicide attacks. That is not the fault of Coalition forces. It sadly bespeaks of the sorry state of the Sunni-Shia rift, something that was in existence long before American soldiers arrived in Iraq and probably in existence before the United States was even a nation.

    “Look at the war in Iraq, over 100â?²000 civilians have died largely due to operations carried out by the coalition.”

    First, most of the recent people I have been seing getting killed are being killed by Sunni extremists, not by Coalition forces. Second, Hamzeh, I would urge you to be cautious of ‘death statistics’ at this point. The death toll due to the first Gulf War was vastly exaggerated during and immediately after the war – it wasn’t until several years after the war that more reasonable (and significantly lower) figures of the death toll emerged. Finally, many estimates include insurgents among the so-called ‘civilian death toll.’ No one can know, at this point, with any certainty, what the actual toll has been.

    Also, we must ask how many people were dying in Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s rule. The Kurds were slaughtered previously and, if given a chance, Saddam would have eventually had to move to seize back control of the North from them. While the failed UN oil-for-food program was running, the infant mortality rate in Iraq exploded and, of course, dissidents (especially Shia) continued to be brutalized and marginalized. Ever heard of the Marsh Arabs, Hamzeh?

    “Take the Falluja attack as another example, US soldiers were instructed (by their own admission) to kill everything that breathed.”

    I’ve seen images of the Battle of Fallujah where Americans are detaining numerous individuals. If they were killing everything that breathed, tens of thousands of more people would have died. I’m sure that this order was conveyed during times when US forces were under heavy attack, which is, if civilians appeared to have almost entirely abandoned the area, appropriate.

    With the information you have provided me, I vaguely recall the instance you were referring to. I remember also learning that in many of these cases, people were compelled upon threat of the death of their relatives to attempt to run checkpoints. There may have also been some instances of simple soldier screwups which are most unfortunate but bound to happen even in the best of militaries – especially with a military which has not had a lot of recent experience with having to provide security rather than simply destroy enemies.

    Hamzeh, you seem reasonable but I think you watch too much al-Jazeera. 😉

    Having given you my perspective, I await your response. I want to start to bring this subject back to Mr. Fox if we can though. OK?

  • Update: The 3 surviving ‘Christian Peacemaker’ hostages have been freed. I am happy for the families of these retards.

  • As a Christian, I think the “Christian Peacemakers” are a mock to Christianity! Have you looked at their site? You know how many times ‘Jesus’ is mentioned? TWICE using selective quoting.

    I also love how thousands of years of majority understanding of Christian peace means nothing to them. (I mean, does anyone really think that Tom Fox is smarter or more motivated toward understanding the teachings of Christ than St. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas?) Jesus even said that his peace was not the peace of the world. The peace of Christ only comes from the free conversion of heart to love of God and neighbor, not from the absence of conflict.

    So, so ridiculous! I think Rev. Donald Sesling says it well:
    Is Christian Peacemaker Teams really a Christian organization? It does not evangelize or do missionary work. It befriends and supports mass murders and tyrants for no apparent reason other than the United States opposes them. Perhaps you will call that â??Christianâ? works, but I do not. Are they peacemakers? It seems the only peace they work to preserve is the peace of the grave.

  • How can it possibly be “christian” to allow yourself to be used as a weapon by those who measure succsss by how many innocent people are killed, against those who would willingly give up their lives to save them, and who measure success by how few innocent casualties there are?

    I am glad the remaining hostages have been rescued, even though, according to reports, they didn’t have the decency to thank their rescuers.

    I am reminded of J.S, Mills words:

    “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling that thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

    I wonder if these “peacekeepers” (some could argue with good cause that they are accomplices to extortion) will ever come to the realization that they were rescued by men better then themselves, or will they continue on in their self righteous moral exhibitionism???

Your Two Piasters: