June 29, 2007
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Anna Christopher, NPR
   

PEACE ACTIVIST HELD HOSTAGE IN IRAQ
OFFERS THIS I BELIEVE ESSAY
ON ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, MONDAY, JULY 2

JAMES LONEY: “WE OURSELVES BECOME CAPTIVES
WHENEVER WE HOLD ANOTHER IN CAPTIVITY”

June 29, 2007; Washington, D.C. – In the This I Believe segment airing Monday, July 2 on NPR’s All Things Considered, peace activist James Loney states that “all beings are interconnected,” his belief while being held hostage by Iraqi insurgents from November 2005 to March 2006.

Inspired by Edward R. Murrow’s 1950s radio program of the same name, This I Believe made its premiere in April 2005 and features people from all walks of life expressing their core beliefs and values in short, personal essays. Segments air on NPR on All Things Considered and Weekend Edition Sunday, and are also available at NPR.org/thisibelieve.

While in Baghdad with the Christian Peacemaker Team, Loney and three other humanitarians were taken hostage, spending the next 118 days chained and handcuffed in a cell under the threat of execution. American hostage Tom Fox was killed, while Loney and the two others were rescued by coalition forces.

Despite the threat of execution looming over him, Loney states: “There were times the walls around us would dissolve and I could see, with perfect blue-sky clarity, that everything I needed to know about the world was immediately available to me.” He realized his situation and that of his guards were similar. “There is no escaping it: we ourselves become captives whenever we hold another in captivity. Whenever we soil someone else with violence, whether through a war, poverty, racism, or neglect, we invariably soil ourselves.”

The series is a collaboration between NPR and This I Believe, Inc., Dan Gediman and Jay Allison, producers. Loney’s essay is produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which launched a Canadian version of This I Believe inspired by the NPR series.