The Guardian newspaper has a good and thoughtful interview with Pat and Norman Kember today (10 March 2007), reflecting on his period of captivity in Iraq in 2005-6, when he joined a short term Christian Peacemaker Teams delegation in Baghdad. There is also an excerpt from his forthcoming book, Hostage in Iraq, published by Darton, Longman and Todd on 23 March, which is available for pre-order through Ekklesia (see below).
“[Norman Kember] did not behave as we expect our accidental heroes, our insta-celebrities, to behave: much gushing, endless media interviews, story sold to the highest bidder. He refused all except a brief statement at Heathrow and one interview, made sure he reiterated what he believed, that the problem of Iraq should be solved without violence, and sold his book, notable for its refusal to sentimentalise or overdramatise, to the publisher of the Jerusalem Bible rather than Penguin.
“He was punished for his non-compliance. He was perceived, wrongly, he says, to have been insufficiently grateful to the SAS, and was denounced in the papers and in hate mail sent to his home in suburban northwest London. ‘It was really annoying,’ says his wife, Pat, cradling a cup of tea in their austerely comfortable living room. ‘It didn't annoy me - I expected it,’ retorts Kember. ‘If you take a strong stand, you expect people to disagree with you strongly’.”