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Captivity by James Loney
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Captivity by James Loney
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Apr 24, 2012 | ISBN 9780307399281

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    Apr 24, 2012 | ISBN 9780307399281

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  • Apr 19, 2011 | ISBN 9780307399298

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“This incredible story captures all the beauty and the ugliness that we humans are capable of. It is a reminder that grace is big enough to set both the oppressed and the oppressors free. It is a heart-wrenching and timely invitation to become extremists for love in a world where hatred often hijacks the headlines.”
—Shane Claiborne, author of The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical and Jesus For President
“During 118 days of agonizing and terrifying Captivity, James Loney strained to see the humanity in his captors; to see himself through the other’s eyes, to see even the work of peacemaking with that radical sympathetic doubt which is the heart of peacemaking. . . . His riveting story illuminates the potential that impassioned commitment to non-violence may yet hold for human and planetary survival.”
—Kathy Kelly, peace activist, author and three-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize
“An exquisite testimony to the human spirit and the healing that comes through forgiveness of those who have wronged us, and an uplifting reminder of the excellent work being done by the Christian Peacemaker Teams around the world. Anyone who wishes to live in a world of peace and justice should read this book to understand the central role of love and generosity in global healing.”
—Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of Embracing Israel/Palestine and editor of Tikkun
“[Captivity] is a book about freedom, the freedom of all human beings to decide on how we will respond to the conditions around us. Loney’s integrity throughout his 118 days as a captive in Iraq, his indomitable spirit, his refusal to succumb to hate, his capacity to humanize his captors, his faithfulness to his comrades in Captivity, his refusal to yield to anything but compassion-all testify to an extraordinary mensch.”
—Farid Esack, Islamic Liberation Theologion and Head of Religion Studies, University of Johannesburg
“Jim Loney is one of the toughest and most gentle prophets on behalf of justice and peace in North America today, an amazing blend of idealist and realist. His kidnapping as part of a Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq in 2005 represented a watershed moment for those experimenting with a non-violent presence in warzones, and the profound lessons he draws in this book are deeply personal and political. An epic and exemplary story.”
—Ched Myers, author of Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus


British Columbia’s National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction FINALIST 2011

Author Essay

Nevertheless, we got a clear picture of a country that had been devastated by thirteen years of economic sanctions. Their effects were massive, and they were everywhere. Teachers were making five dollars a month. Ninety percent of the population was  dependent on a UN food supplement. An army of children worked in the streets shining shoes and selling tissue paper instead of going to school. The best public infrastructure oil money could buy was a shambles. Half the country’s schools were unfit to receive students. Water treatment plants couldn’t be repaired. The average Iraqi child suffered  fourteen episodes of diarrhea a year from drinking bad water, killing tens of thousands from dehydration. Hospitals couldn’t get medicines or parts for medical equipment. The UN estimated that 1.5 million people had died as a direct result of the sanctions.
Azhar was one of the 1.5 million. “She is a six-month-old baby,” the doctor told us at a hospital we visited, “brought in last night suffering from diarrhea. She died this morning from dehydration.” She was lying on her side, tiny fingers curled gently into a fist. Her eyes were open, her face colourless, cranial, emaciated, a white film about her lips. On March 20, 2003, the boot of war stomped down on Iraq. They called it Shock and Awe. “There will not be a safe place in Baghdad,” a Pentagon official said. “The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before.” The bombs and missiles fell day and night, fifty thousand strikes in thirty days. On April 9, U.S. forces rolled into Baghdad and Saddam Hussein fled.
Chaos followed shock and awe. After securing the Ministry of Oil and the Ministry of Interior, the U.S. stood by and watched as libraries, hospitals, schools and every government building was looted and burned. I couldn’t help but wonder if the looting of Baghdad wasn’t some kind of sophisticated psy-ops operation. Let the criminals and arsonists finish off what the sanctions and the bombing started, while confirming the Western impression that Iraqis (and by extension all Muslims and Arabs) are a barbaric, lawless, uncivilized people.
On May 1, George W. Bush announced the end of major combat operations on the deck of the USS Abraham  Lincoln behind a giant banner that read Mission Accomplished. The toll to that point: 9,200 Iraqi combatants, 7,299  civilians, 139  U.S. and 33 U.K. military personnel. Just a small taste of the death to come. By the end of July 2010, 4,413 U.S. soldiers had been killed. As for civilians, nobody knows. Iraq Body Count, an estimate based on press reports, put the number between 97,143  and 105,994 in July 2010. The prestigious medical journal Lancet estimated 601,027 in June 2006. An Opinion Research Business Survey estimated over a million in August 2007.

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