Skip to main content

One Man's Peace

I’m delighted to see that hostage Norman Kember is now home safely from Iraq, having been rescued by British Special Forces, who he appeared to thank in the most ambivalent manner. This rather leaves me wondering what we might be thinking today if a single soldier had been killed or wounded during an attempt to rescue a group which has displayed the most astonishing naivety.

As one security advisor put it some weeks ago, “You don’t go to Iraq unless you can afford the very best personal protection” and Norman Kember and his fellow peace activists couldn’t with their admirable but idealistic objective of spreading the Christian message of peace among the people of Iraq.

But let me offer you a different perspective. What if a Moslem peace group of devout Sunni and Shi’a activists decided that they should spread the word of Islam, which means ‘peace’ among the sectarian streets and communities of west Belfast. How would they be received? Would the people want to know whether they were Protestant Moslems or Catholic Moslems and would their peaceful objectives and religious devotion guarantee their personal safety?

Many years ago, I recall in Saudi Arabia, a car stopping by the side of the road and a friend of mine being offered a copy of the Koran by the driver to “save him.” Ironically another teacher from the same school had been killed the year before, when a rock was thrown at him from another passing car. What I’m saying of course is that in a world of such pronounced religious divisions, one man’s missionary is simply another man’s spy or 'economic opportunity' and this, sadly, is something that Mr Kember and other equally well-meaning peace ambassadors fail to grasp, having never experienced the more fundamental realities of life and religious belief in southern Arabia.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Christmas Tale

It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.



I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…

Merlins over Thanet

Marooned, temporarily at Manston this afternoon are the Merlins over Malta team on the way to the Mediterranean for a display to mark the historic Second World War defence of the island.


Charlie Brown

Unfortunately, the weather over Thanet is appalling this afternoon and the Spitfire and Hurricane can’t get airborne again until it clears, so the celebrity Battle of Britain aircraft pilots, Charlie Brown, Clive Denny and their team-mates are contemplating an evening among the fleshpots of Margate.


Clive Denny (Hurricane) & Charlie Brown (Spitfire) Pilots

I’m rather hoping the weather it will clear through though as they have to get to Jersey before dusk if possible and I have to take some photos of the Spitfire and Hurricane for Pilot Magazine and I’ve always wanted a chance to get in either aircraft!

An Interview with Charlie Brown

They just got off, squadron scramble or what? They were ready and gone in ten minutes towards the nearest patch of blue sky!

An interview with the legendary S…
Median Saleh

I mentioned in the last post, the 1981 expedition that took in Median Saleh, the ruined Nabatean city in Saudi Arabia


A temple carved from the rock from Petra's sister city.

By coincidence, one of the most important train stations on the Hejaz railway sat next to the ruins and when Lawrence of Arabia blew the line in 1917, the trains were trapped there and are still there today, gathering dust and with "Krupp" on the engine casings.


One of the trains, sitting where T.E. Lawrence left themwith Dr Paul Garnett as the passenger

Below, you can see one of the fortified train stations that Lawrence attacked along the Hejaz railway between Damascus and Medina.



More photos Medain Saleh can be found on THIS Site - Apparently you can catch a tourist bus these days, rather different from risking life and limb to cross an unfriendly Saudi Arabia twenty years ago!