Friday, June 09, 2006

Grace under Pressure

CBC's "The Current" website now features weekly "best of" collections in podcast format. (Don't let the name fool you. You don't need an iPod, or any portable MP3 player, to play podcasts - they're just MP3 files you can play on any computer with an MP3 player, such as RealAudio or Windows Media Player, installed.)

One must-hear episode features an hour-long interview with James Loney, one of the two Canadian Christian Peacemakers held hostage in Iraq along with a Briton and an American for 117 days until three were freed by British Special Forces troops. (American Tom Fox, tragically, was murdered by his captors before the rescue.)

The interview is the most fascinating thing I've listened to in a very long time. Loney discusses his captors, his confinement, the hostages' ambivalence over whether they should try to escape - especially if they could not all attempt it at once (I was astonished to hear that they retrieved a nail from the bottom of a pair of cheap sneakers their captors gave them and used it to unlock their handcuffs nightly; this meant that Loney and Harmeet Sooden could have attempted escape, but Tom Fox and Norman Kember, who were also chained to fixtures in the room, could not have), and seeing glimpses of a television newscast that led them to the terrible suspicion that Tom Fox had been killed.

Loney also talks about his feelings about the soldiers who rescued and brought them home (he describes the soldiers on the Hercules aircraft who took them to the UAE as "these beautiful people" who "invited us on to the flight deck" and who he feared would be "mad at us... these meddling peacemakers" they had to risk their lives to rescue and care for), how his Christian faith influenced his behavior and decisions during the ordeal, and how he is now working on behalf of five Muslim men being currently held in Canada as potential terrorist threats on "security certificates" who wrote a statement during his confinement begging his captors for his release.

Loney's partner, Dan Hunt, was also in the studio and talks movingly about the stress of having to become "invisible", lest James' sexual orientation put him at even greater jeopardy than he was already in, and about how he found out that James was free.

There's much more in the podcast itself. It's an amazing listen. Check it out.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thoroughly enjoyed listening to that. Thanks, Ronnie, for pointing the way to it.
SL Ronnie

9:35 a.m.  

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