Deadline Looms For Hostages - Palestinians Rally Urging Release
Editorial, By Selwyn Manning – Scoop co-editor.
Leaders throughout the Middle East have urged those who hold four men hostage in Iraq to set them free. One of the men, New Zealand resident Harmeet Sooden, is well known for speaking out for the oppressed in Palestine and for those who suffer in Iraq. The other men held hostage too have been peace workers for various humanitarian groups.
Palestinians in the Middle East are united, as are their New Zealand based counterparts, in calling for Harmeet Sooden and the other three men to be released. Links to video and audio below...
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Harmeet Sooden (pictured left) is well known for his messages of peace for those who are oppressed.
The group titled Brigade of the Swords of Righteousness have threatened Harmeet Sooden, Canadian James Loney, American Tom Fox, Briton Norman Kember with death unless Iraqi prisoners held in Iraq and the United States are freed by Thursday.
On Tuesday night, the Palestine-based International Solidarity Movement group, reported powerful leaders like the head Mufti of Palestine, Ikram Al Sabri, had asked that the men be set free.
Other groups joining the plea include: the coordinating body for all Palestinian political parties, the National and Islamic Forces for both Palestine and Hebron; Shawkat Samha the Mayor of Jayyous; the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades; Qadura Fares, the Coordinator of the National Committee to Resist Settlement and the Wall; Ferial Abu Haikal, the Headmistress of the Qurtuba Girls School in Hebron, and many other community leaders from Hebron.
Such groups and leaders can empathise with suffering, they too have been oppressed. They too know how essential it is for the betterment of their people that envoys-of-hope like Harmeet Sooden are able to visit regions like Iraq, and Palestine, and be free to return to the west to convey their message of what they have seen with their own eyes.
The Palestinians in the occupied territories know about Harmeet's work. He too was with them in January of this year. He saw the oppression that invades their days. He lived among the Palestinian people, and when he returned to New Zealand, he told people here what he had seen.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades on December 4th stated of these hostages: "Those are the same friends of the martyr Rachel Corrie who was crushed under an Israeli bulldozer as she stood in the defence of our people and her friends against the Israeli Zionist occupation. We came to know them as they took a courageous stance against the new system of apartheid and the racist separation Wall. They suffered as we did, and were wounded by the bullets of the occupation, while others were exiled and imprisoned. Therefore, we ask the kidnappers to release those hostages."
To be a messenger for peace, this is why Harmeet Sooden travelled to Iraq, his motivation was to live among those in Iraq who suffer, and to return to New Zealand to tell others what he had seen. Palestinian people here in New Zealand have testified that Harmeet indeed honoured and honours his word.
The influential Middle East news network, Al-Jazeera, has broadcast Palestine's message and that of Harmeet's mother who calls for those who hold her son to set him free.
Hopefully, this message reaches those who hold these brave peaceful men hostage in Iraq.
Video: Palestinian Groups' Vigil Asks
Captors To Free Harmeet Sooden - Palestine groups
held a vigil in Aotea Square in central Auckland,
New Zealand, on Monday to show the world that Harmeet Sooden
(pictured left) and his fellow captors are peaceful
men. Harmeet Sooden was a member of Students for Justice in
Palestine (SJP) and a friend to many in the group. SJP are
calling on his captors to be merciful and release him and
the other peace workers without harm. Harmeet is in Iraq
solely for peaceful purposes and is passionate about taking
an active role in giving humanitarian aid to the Iraqi
Scoop Video: Peace Vigil Asks Captors To Release Harmeet
Scoop Video: Captors Release 3rd Video Of Two Hostages (2)
Scoop Video: Captors Release 3rd Video Of Two Hostages (1)
Scoop Video:Captors Release Second Hostage Video
Scoop Video: First Release Of Video Showing Hostages
Scoop Audio: Rockin' the Boat: CPT Peace Activists Held Hostage. Interview w/ Cliff Kendi, a CPT member who's spent many mos. in Iraq. Then, Huwaida Arraf of ISM on solidarity demos in Palestine.