In an emotional reunion here tonight, Reverend Jesse L. Jackson Sr. came face-to-face with Stuart Lockwood for the first time since rescuing the young British citizen nearly 19 years ago from Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein on the eve of the first Gulf War.
Mr. Lockwood was just 5 years old in the summer of 1990 when he, his family and scores of other British, American, French and Canadian citizens were taken hostage by Hussein's soldiers during Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
Hussein threatened to use little Lockwood and the other hostages as "human shields'' around Baghdad as an international coalition led by the United States formed to push Hussein out of the oil-rich desert kingdom. A photograph of the terrified British boy standing next to Hussein as the Iraqi leader ruffled the child's hair and asked him if he was getting enough milk united much of the world in outrage.
PReverend Jackson flew to Iraq and convinced Hussein to release Mr. Lockwood and scores of children and their mothers in September of 1990. The men were released later. "One of the great joys of my life,'' an emotional Reverend Jackson said after embracing Mr. Lockwood, "is to be used by God to help set the captive free. I'm overwhelmed.'' Mr. Lockwood the reunion flooded him with memories of his weeks of captivity in Iraq. "It was a nice feeling to be back and to be comforted by Reverend Jesse Jackson,'' he said.
The reunion and the gala came at the end of a busy week in London for Reverend Jackson who started his trip with a visit to the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Reverend Jackson also met with Foreign Secretary, David Miliband about the upcoming G-20 conference, Iraq and Middle East policy, spoke to a group of trade unionist and a church in Redding, England before 1,000 people, and held a roundtable dialogue with corporate leaders and government officials about diversity and inclusion.
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. For more information about the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, please visit www.rainbowpush.org or call (773) 373-3366 -30-