Preemptive Love founder, author visits Tyler

Published on Friday, 11 October 2013 22:57 - Written by By Rebecca Hoeffner rhoeffner@tylerpaper.com

Preemptive Love strikes again.

Author Jeremy Courtney was in East Texas last week to promote the new book that chronicles the journey of the organization he founded, The Preemptive Love Coalition.

“I’d heard the idea to shoot first, ask questions later,” he said. “I understand that, but it wasn’t how I wanted to live my life. Preemptive Love is the mantra that guides us.”

According to Courtney, there are 30,000 Iraqi children who are born with holes in their hearts. The organization offers surgeries to fix that.

There are many suspected causes — chemical warfare against the Kurdish people of Northern Iraq, depleted uranium, a lack of education for prenatal care, malnutrition and other genetic problems. Couple this with a lack of infrastructure and medical resources and the situation looks bleak.

The organization has now facilitated more than 600 surgeries.

They can’t save every child, but they’re taking steps to make the maximum impact with what they can do. They make families an active participant in their child’s medical care and are training Iraqi doctors to do the heart surgeries on their own. To accomplish this, the organization partners with others such as International Children’s Heart Foundation, Living Light International, For Hearts and Souls and Anadolu Medical Center.

But, not everyone is happy that about the work they are doing. Courtney recalled one religious leader who issued a fatwa against them, calling for their deaths and demanding parents stop taking their children to the organization for help.

The religious leader was concerned that the work Preemptive Love was doing would cause the children to “love their enemies,” Courtney said.

“The fatwa created an intense uncertainty,” Courtney said. “For some families it did have real consequences.”

But parents still come, even though they have their doubts.

“We’re under constant suspicion,” he said. “It’s a consequence of American foreign policy and Hollywood’s portrayal of Americans as CIA agents in sheep’s clothing … A lot of people are willing to take that risk for their children. Still, I sympathize with them and wish they didn’t have to question our motives.”

The perception of Iraqis was part of what motivated Courtney to write the book, he said.

“I wanted to write the book because I see some of the conversations in America and it’s not the conversations I’d like us to be having … It’s a critique of the human heart. We’re willing to do all manner of things to protect ourselves, but there’s a lot of beauty in taking the risk to make someone well.”