In Full: Statement of Freed Activist
Two days after being freed from a four-month captivity in Iraq, UK peace activist Norman Kember tries to deflect attention away from himself and onto Iraqi suffering amid the continuing violence.
(See the BBC’s full coverage of the incident)
Kember’s statement to the media reads in full:
WAIT, BEFORE YOU GO…
There is a real sense in which you are interviewing the wrong person.
It is the ordinary people of Iraq that you should be talking to – the people who have suffered so much over many years and still await the stable and just society that they deserve.
Another group that I hope you do not forget are the relatives of British soldiers killed or wounded in Iraq.
I do not believe that a lasting peace is achieved by armed force, but I pay tribute to their courage and thank those who played a part in my release.
I am not ready at this time to talk about my months of captivity except to say that I am delighted to be free and reunited with my family.
In reality it was my wife who was kidnapped last November. She suffered more than I because while I knew that I was alive and well, she did not.
I thank all who supported Pat during this stressful time.
‘Thanks to staff’
While in Baghdad we had opportunity to thank the Embassy staff who worked so diligently for our release.
I now thank the staff in Britain who also dedicated so much time to the same end.
Then I am grateful to all those from many faith communities who appealed for my release and held prayers and vigils in my name.
Pat assures me that I will be overwhelmed by the volume of goodwill messages – our home is currently like a flower shop.
I thank the media for agreeing to share news and reduce the stress on me.
I now need to reflect on my experience – was I foolhardy or rational? – and also to enjoy freedom in peace and quiet.
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