CHRISTIAN PEACEMAKER TEAMS
********************** Christian Peacemaker Teams renew CPT-Baghdad Team as crisis continues Yesterday, Greg Rollins of Surrey, British Colombia, left the Christian Peacemaker Teams Baghdad apartment for Amman, and will gradually make his way back to Canada.
He is the first member of the Team that was present in Iraq when his colleagues Tom Fox, James Loney [shown], Norman Kember, and Harmeet Singh Sooden were kidnapped on November 26, 2005, to take home leave.
He doesn't want to go.
"As I get ready to leave Iraq," he says, "the phrase, 'leave no one behind,' constantly runs through my mind. With my four teammates still missing, I don't want to leave Iraq. I want to stay. It isn't that I believe I am the only person who can release our abducted colleagues—I have confidence in my teammates who remain. It isn't survivor guilt either. I don't feel guilty that my friends were taken while I was not. The reason why I don't want to leave is because it makes me feel as though I have let my four friends down; as though I have not lived up to our bond to look out for each other."
"I am not a soldier, but I understand what soldiers mean when they say, 'leave no one behind.' It is never something that you want to do. It is a break in your bond."
Greg joined the Iraq Team in April of 2004 after three years of service with CPT in Israel-Palestine.
He began his most recent period of service in Iraq in early October.
CPT Co-Director and Support Coordinator for the Iraq project, Doug Pritchard, comments: "It's been very intense for our Team in Baghdad, and two months after the beginning of the crisis, they're in need of a break. It's very important that we continue to have good energy focused on justice for all those detained in Iraq, including our four colleagues."
Greg will be replaced on the Baghdad Team by Allan Slater of Zorra Township, Ontario. "I am not crazy enough to think that my presence in Iraq will miraculously bring peace to Iraqis, get young American soldiers home to their loved ones, and free our four missing comrades," says Slater.
But he believes that it is important to draw attention to the "reality of Iraq," where "tens of thousands of ordinary Iraqis have been arrested in violent raids and detained in U.S. operated prisons without access to due process." "War is crazy," he concludes.