Sunday, August 18, 2013

Captivity: 118 Days in Iraq and the Struggle for a World Without War by James Loney

Captivity: 118 Days in Iraq and the Struggle for a World Without War by James Loney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An interesting, well-rounded story of life in captivity in Iraq.
I liked the format of the book, the kidnapping happens very early on throwing you right into the action and the 118 day countdown begins. I appreciated the numbering of the days, so I knew when the release was coming, it made it easier to read the book knowing the end. I think it may have been too over-whelming going in blind.
I identified a lot with Loney, he was always examining both sides of things. The kidnappers were kidnapped as well, they couldn’t leave and had only very slightly more options. Everything down to manners is explored:

“I am aghast when the others lick marmalade off their foil. Proper manners apply even in captivity.”

There’s also a great sense of “What would I do?” that really pushes the book along. I went from 40% to the end in one four or five hour sitting, I couldn’t put it down.
Do you cooperate and hope for the best in the end? Do you fight back? Do you try to escape?

“Release me or kill me, you must decide. Until you do, I am taking my clothes off and I am going to sit here, naked, refusing everything—your food, your chains, your instructions. I would rather die than co-operate with murder. Perhaps if I were stronger, more courageous, had more faith, this is what I would do. But I don’t.”

There’s a great parable in the book that I don’t want to spoil about God helping those that help themselves.
I don’t know what I’d do and I’m very glad I don’t have to make the decision.
I enjoyed also learning about CPT and the peace-making movement, something I knew nothing about.
Ultimately an excellent book that hooked me and made me cry, but one star off for the fact that he put himself in the situation. I can’t say I agree with his purpose of being in Iraq in the first place, which set these events in motion. I’m less against it than I was, but a part of me was still at the end saying he did this to himself.

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