Tricia Gates Brown (ed), '118 Days: Christian Peacemaker Teams Held Hostage in Iraq'

IssueSeptember 2008
Review by Dora-Marie Goulet

118 Days celebrates the “explosion of goodness” that arose from the kidnapping of four peace activists in Baghdad on 26 November 2005.

In 22 articles by 24 different authors, the book explores how this terrible event touched so many people in positive ways – from increased cooperation between peace and faith groups in Britain, to demonstrations of solidarity in the West Bank, and from discussions on the value of self-sacrifice in a US penitentiary to the media frenzy in the UK, the book explores how all these threads – of global and personal awareness, bigotry, violence and love – connect.

Each article deals with a different facet of the hostage crisis and of the question of the ripples and risk of nonviolence, and is engaging enough to carry you through to the end.

Whilst it will probably be read mainly as a source of inspiration for those already engaged in the nonviolent struggle, it could well entice a sympathetic non-activist closer to action, advancing the argument for nonviolent direct intervention through case study rather than theoretical argument. I appreciated the way in which the book highlighted and affirmed the broad range of activist experience, and valued the way in which it spans the entire spectrum from the intimately personal to the broader context in which the men were working, and for which they put themselves at risk.

I struggled to think of something negative to say about this book, but the best I can come up with is to say that it’s a terrible book to read whilst travelling on public transport: it’s always embarrassing to cry on the Tube!

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