Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Though you might imagine that they had better things to worry about, having a go at kidnapped-and-released Christian peace activist Norman Kember seems a military priority at the moment. The latest to take aim is ex-Colonel Tim Collins (pictured left), who eulogised lyrically about British soldiers "treading gently" in Iraq before reportedly unleashing white phosphorous gas on its citizens. He now says the war has failed, but doesn't much like its critics or those who try to provide an alternative. The stories so far are: 'Kember got what he deserved,' says Colonel (Telegraph.co.uk, UK); 'Hobnobbing' UK peace activist Kember 'got what he deserved' (24dash.com, UK); Ex-army colonel says Kember got what he deserved (Scotsman, Scotland). The PA and The Independent will run with more soon.

Ekklesia and Christian Peacemaker Teams UK have promptly responded (Colonel Collins' attack on Kember misplaced, say Christian peacemakers): Colonel Tim Collins, who came to fame for an ‘inspirational’ speech on the eve of the 2003 Iraq war, has been told by Christian peacemakers that his savage attack on kidnapped Iraq activist Norman Kember is inappropriate, misplaced and ill-informed.

Described by media pundits as a “cigar-chomping ex-soldier with the Hollywood-style good looks”, Colonel Collins, who is promoting his new book, today launched an unprovoked assault on the 74-year-old former medical professor.

Collins said that Dr Kember, freed on 23 March with two other Christian peacemakers, was “bloody naïve”, went “hobnobbing with the Sunni extremists”, “should have stuck to helping Christian groups forced underground” and “got what he deserved”.

But supporters of Kember, including the religious think-tank Ekklesia and the UK branch of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), have described Colonel Collins’ tirade as “dishonourable”. They say he is demonstrably wrong about the facts and appears naïve himself about what is involved in making peace rather than war. Full story here.

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