more on the strange situation

Thinking more about the recent CPT hostage situation, I recalled something interesting. When Erin was telling me about her work with CPT in Colombia, she said they were able to offer some protection to the people there (even though they carried no arms) because they were American citizens, and the local militias were very reluctant to attack American citizens because of the political and possibly military response it would cause. So even though the CPTers were not happy with the U.S. contribution to the problems in that area, they were able to take advantage of their U.S. citizenship to help the local people. From the stories I've read of their work in Palestine, they seem to use the same principle there. And even in Iraq, I believe, they were able to gain better access to U.S. officials because of their citizenship (and also their willingness to use the press) in order to get information about Iraqi detainees.

But as I thought about the hostage situation, I realized that the reason the hostage-takers took the CPT members was precisely their U.S. citizenship. The "Swords of Righteousness Brigade" weren't against the work of CPT. Many other Arab and Iraqi groups supported the CPT work and pled for their release. But the hostage-takers didn't seem interested in what CPT was doing or saying. They were interested in getting at the U.S. forces and forcing them to release Iraqi prisoners, so they kidnapped U.S. citizens and used the media to pressure the U.S. to give in to their demands.

Thus the tool that CPT had used for their protection (and the protection of others) had suddenly become the precise cause for their being attacked.

This also reminds me of my recent struggles here. I thought I was being given access to a great resource to help others: the money and use of this facility. And it did seem to be able to offer some help. But it also became the reason for people attacking me, not because they had anything against me but because they wanted the money and access to the house. (Just yesterday a woman was threatening me because I told her the house was full.) It was a power I thought I needed to do good, but it was a human power, and many others are interested in using that human power for their own purposes. When I took up that power I suffered because of it.

I keep remembering Jesus' words, "Those who take up the sword will perish by the sword." Perhaps that applies to the other forms of human power as well.