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The powerful account of the remarkable peace activist kidnapped while leading a peace delegation and held for ransom by Iraqi insurgents until his paradoxical release by a crack unit of Special Forces commandos.
In November 2005, James Loney and three other men – Canadian Harmeet Singh Sooden, British citizen Norman Kember and American Tom Fox – were taken hostage at gunpoint. The men were with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), an organization that places teams trained in non-violent intervention into lethal conflict zones. The then unknown Swords of Righteousness Brigade released videos of the men, resulting in what is likely the most publicized kidnapping of the Iraq War. Tom Fox was murdered and dumped on a Baghdad street. The surviving men were held for 118 days before being rescued by Task Force Black, an elite counter-kidnap unit led by the British SAS.
Captivity is the story of what Jim described upon his return to Toronto and reunion with his partner Dan Hunt as “a terrifying, profound, transformative and excruciatingly boring experience.” It presents an affecting portrait of how Jim came to be a pacifist and chronicles his work in Iraq before the kidnapping. It brings the reader immediately into the terror and banality, the frictions, the moral dilemmas of their captivity, their search to find their captors’ humanity, and the imperative need to conceal Jim’s sexual identity. It examines the paradoxes we face when our most cherished principles are tested in extraordinary circumstances and explores the universal truths contained in every captivity experience. At its heart, the book is a hope-filled plea for peace, human solidarity and forgiveness.
“In the very first sentence of the introduction to Captivity, James Loney gives the reason why his story and that of those captured with him should be told. ‘Did it really happen?’ he asks. The answer is, it did, and the dedication to their beliefs and the courage during their ordeal make theirs a story not to be forgotten.”–The Right Honourable Paul Martin
“This book is a story of hope. In a world of violence there are still many men and women who believe in working for peace to the risk of following Jesus to the very end. May many be inspired by this story to be peacemakers not just in Iraq but where we are in our everyday lives.”–Jean Vanier, author and founder of L'Arche
“This book is a highly personal meditation on forgiveness… It raises fundamental questions: Does forgiveness enable us to reject violence? Does forgiveness extend to American soldiers as well as to Iraqi kidnappers? To policy makers in the USA and in Iraq? What is the relationship of mercy and justice? Is the pacifist position tenable in complex international situations? Propelled by Christian compassion, James Loney passionately makes his case for the futility of war. It is well worth reading.”–The Very Rev. the Hon. Lois M. Wilson
“Through his straightforward and clear prose, James Loney transports us to the reality of Iraq, a country that is drowning in a vicious cycle of violence where victims become perpetrators and perpetrators become victims. Loney’s honest voice guides us through the terrifying days of his captivity, at the end of which we emerge to see that only forgiveness can cure our afflicted world. Everyone who wants to understand the Middle East should read this book.” –Marina Nemat, author of Prisoner of Tehran and After Tehran