Friday, December 30, 2005


Wonderful news came through less than an hour ago that Kate, Hugh and Win Burton have been released by their captors in Rafah, Gaza, after two days of no news and frantic diplomatic and security activity. There is, of course, no connection between this abduction and those of the four Christian Peacemaker Team activists in Iraq - but it will nevertheless be good and encouraging news in the midst of their continuing ordeal. The strenuous Muslim and Palestinian calls for the release of abductees have echoed once more across the region, and this will be picked up in Bagdhad and elsewhere as efforts to free Norman Kember, Tom Fox, Jim Loney and Hameet Singh Sooden go on.

I had an additional reason to be thankful, in that I have met Win several times. She worked for the European Union's 'Soul for Europe' programme in Brussels for a number of years, and cooperated with both ecumenical Christian organisations (including the one I worked for, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland) and various interfaith networks. A marvellous woman. She is pictured here with Michael Taylor, former Christian Aid director and professor of development studies at the University of Birmingham.

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