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Sunday, December 4, 2016
Kidnapped peace worker explains his reasons for going to Iraq
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 Norman Kember, the kidnapped British Aid worker spoke exclusively to Premier Christian Radio at the beginning of November about his objections to the war and his trip to Iraq. Professor Kember was interviewed by Dr Rob Frost as part of Remembrance Day and gave his views on war and his reasons for travelling to Iraq. Speaking of his plans to visit the country, Norman Kember said: "It's a gesture of solidarity with the Christian peacemaker teams in Iraq. I hope to meet ordinary Iraqis of various backgrounds, Shiats, Suni, Christians and just hear their stories, then come back and talk about it." When asked if going to Iraq was brave he answered: "I don't know, I've done a lot of writing and talking about peacemaking. I've demonstrated, you name it I've been on it, but I feel that's what I'd call cheap peacemaking." The interviewer then asks if going to Iraq could be more costly. Normal simply replies '"t could be." A conscientious objector to National Service, Professor Kember spent much of his youth working in hospitals to avoid taking part in armed conflict, a decision that would determine the rest of his career - he worked in medical schools until he retired thirteen years ago. Professor Kember went on to say: "I have a great respect for people who fought [in WW2] but not for the people who led them. It worries me that there is still this aspect that war works. I think Iraq shows us that war doesn't work. That violence merely breeds violence. "I am very happy the army is learning a peacemaking role. I am told that people from the army are being sent to the Department of Peace Studies at Bradford University. The army has got to learn about peacemaking as well as peacekeeping. I remember going to NATO and meeting British and Americans and the British officers were keen to talk about peace making.' 'I'm not an expert on these things, but I would rather see a fairly large Arab force invited to come into Iraq, I think the presence of US and some British troops does not help the situation as I think we are seen as invaders in the same as we were in the 1920s and I think that we are aggravating the situation and I think there is a need for stability and I wonder if it wouldn't be possible to have a untied force of Arabs, people from Arab countries would be more acceptable to Iraqis. "I wish that we remembered non-violent victories a lot more than we did violent victories. We've recently been remembering Rosa Parks and therefore we remember Martin Luther King. They are just two of hundreds of examples that non-violence can work and overcome oppression." The full interview with Norman Kember can be heard on Premier Radio at: http://www.premier.org.uk
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