Thursday, September 30, 2004

How may we bring appropriate attention to Iraqis that are being kidnapped?

Any ideas. I would like to brainstorm about this important topic that few people have addressed in detail. I believe we must raise awareness about the fact that Iraqis are being kidnapped at a higher rate than foreigners. It almost falls under the paradigm of Iraqi lives being worth less than American lives. How many lives is one American worth versus one Iraqi? Most people in the west think Iraqi lives are worth less, let's face it. While some say it's useless to point out and raise awareness about the fact that Iraqis are people, too, with families, hopes, and dreams. I grow tired of this constant dehumanization of Iraqis in the American, British, and other western press. Is it just visible racism that will take a long time to eradicate? Or is it that sense that 'the other' is "uncivilized" therefore doesn't deserve to be held by the mortality standards of a Eurocentric Press?

Do you remember "We don't do body counts" ?

Let's put some of our minds together regarding this issue. That's one of the reasons we're all here, isn't it?

If not, then why are we here? To be a place where one can bump into a bunch of "others" online...a sort of living, breathing museum of "others"?

If we're not engaging with one another in a more meaningful and efficient way (and please nobody take offense--esp. Emigre, because this is my favorite website really), then why are we here together?

Ok...maybe I've stepped on some toes, but I think I got my point across. APOLOGIES in advance if I have offended anybody. Again that is not my intention. I just wanna stir things up a bit.

Love over Fear,


#9/30/2004 05:54:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger Mister Ghost

Well, it's probably more a function of interest and publicity than dehumanization. When Joe Blow in America commits a crime, no one gives a rat's ass (except the victim and police), but when a famous athlete or politician does the same thing, then it becomes headline news. Take the OJ Simpson double-murders for instance. There are killings every day in America, but
they don't create a year's worth of TV coverage.

So, there's less concern about Iraqis being kidnapped, because there's less publicity and interest, outside of Iraq.

#9/30/2004 07:30:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger Stephen

Like the previous commenter said, it's just human nature. Americans care more about Americans getting killed. The Saudis began to worry about terrorism a little more when "Now they are killing Muslims." 50,000 Sudanese have been killed, with less attention to them than to deaths in Iraq or, even, the infamous Rathergate (guilty).

Be it American, Iraqis, Chinese, etc. people focus more on events touching on their own country or province or city or family.

#9/30/2004 07:32:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger Stephen

To finish .. If you just want to direct attention to the Iraqi kidnapping victims, fair enough.

Above, I was responding to your first paragraph.

#9/30/2004 09:49:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger Dilnareen

Simple, let Iraqis start talking about it on TV the same we discuss here in blogs. Iraq has 4 tv channels currently on air, and 8 if u count the kurdish ones. Even though they are reporting in the country they have never reported anything before other news channels. For example take the case of the last kidnappings all they did was show repeated fooage from other news channels regarding the two simonas with hardly a mention about raad or mohnaz. Couldn't they have tried to go find out what happened to them or hold a small interview. Other countries care about their own nationals we should do the same for our own, we can't keep depending on outside sources to show some feeling for us. Even in those hostage lists(which is really just blood mathmatics.. how many hostags taken, how many killed, percentage,how etcc..) No mention of iraqis even though 100s have been kidnapped amd some had horrible deathd.

#9/30/2004 11:56:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger neurotic_wife

Hiya Lim

I agree that the kidnappings of Iraqis should be made known, cuz I know that everyday there are 10's and 10's of Iraqis disappearing. having said that, I believe that the families themselves do not want it to be known cuz it will be more of a danger to the rest of the members.

My cousin's cousin was kidnapped a couple of months ago, and his family were too frightened to even tell the IP, since they said that there's no point cuz some of the IP were collaborators and are too frightened for themselves to act. so the negotiations took place between my cousin and the thugs. They were asking for $250,000 a sum that by no means they had...after further negotiations the sum was reduced to 20,000 and they released the poor guy. but the kidnappers threatened my cousin that if he did any silly move, his family is at risk as well....its a jungle out there

#9/30/2004 12:34:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger Dilnareen

yeah thats good point it crossed my mind after i posted.
No one will hear about the kidnappings if you don't talk but you are threatened if do talk. Its unfair that iraqis are forced to live in fear again because of these people, the ppl I heard who had family members kidnapped, and thank God got them back, ended up selling everything they had to leave the country because it was their children involved.
How about independant research or anonymous interviews these stories should get out because kidnapping are becoming the most successful business in Iraq. All u need is a gun and a videocamera.
If anyone has time read this article

#9/30/2004 01:58:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger Bruno

Regarding Iraqis hostages ... I agree with Stephen et al that countries naturally give more coverage to their own nationals. However, there are two other ideas that I would like to toss into the pot:

(1) Do you really think that the "interim Iraqi Administration" would want to have the huge numebr of kidnappings publicised? Surely it would increase the perception that the country is ungovernable, and that it is powerless? Thus ... could it be that they would discourage such incidents to be publicised?

(2) Just from a practial point of view, wouldn't the extra publicity given to such cases merely encourage kidnappers to expand their operations? I'd imagine the extra leverage that the publicity would give them might even cause them try for bigger ransoms.

Or do you think I'm wrong?

#9/30/2004 03:35:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

dilnareen, i am a bit ignorant with the arab writing, could you please shortly tell something about the content of the article you linked?
i think the points bruno mentions are worth discussing. but i understand there is a variety of groups who do the kidnappings, with a variety of backgrounds and aims. it would be good to get an idea of this puzzle of the various hostage takers and what their aims are. and the attention of the iraqi media in this. kidnapping non-iraqis has definitely a different impact to the world outside iraq than the kidnapping of iraqis. one effect: people from abroad will think twice before going into iraq. journalists. aidworkers. military. un. kidnapping iraqi people, will have a different look, but it is true that there is too little known about it, out of iraq.

#9/30/2004 03:51:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

The Italian girls seem to have become walking goodwill ambassadors for the hostage takers. They were away learning the Koran and being treated with "The utmost respect". How nice to recieve presents upon their departure. They were blindfolded throughout the ordeal so cannot give any info on who their kidnappers were. I wonder why we worried at all. Just what was all the fuss about anyway.....

Does anyone have info on what the two Iraqi's are saying. Seems that I remember reading of the young woman being pulled out of her offices by the hair. Has she recieved a box of chocolates also?

Tragically, most of the hostage stories of young Iraqi women end without the chocolate. Story after story, especially if they are in western dress tells of abduction, rape and then being set out on the street in hijab...

#9/30/2004 04:26:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger aNarki-13

The worst thing about crimes (Rape, Molestation, or even simple ABDUCTION) is that in most mid-eastern communities, IT'S ALWAYS THE GIRL'S FAULT ONE WAY OR THE OTHER.. when a girl is raped, she is left alone in her room, people, EVEN HER FAMILY, think of her as DIRTY.. No one would dare DISHONOR his family name by even being her friend.. "She's a dirty wh*re, you better not talk to her or people will think you have something with her" this is what I GUARANTEE YOU WILL HEAR when you tell ANYONE you are friends with a Rape-VICTIM.
In most cases, the girl commits suicide in less than a month after they are returned.. in the rare ones, the family usually marry her to the local plumber or butcher or ANYONE who's willing to make some quick money.. THEY PAY HIM A FORTUNE TO TAKE THEIR EDUCATED BRIGHT BEAUTIFUL YOUNG DAUGHTER.. and she spends the rest of her life slaving under a man who's idea of women's lib is to ALLOW her to walk beside him in the street..
this is what happens to IRAQI rape victims, there is NO SUCH THING AS REHAB or PSYCHIATRY in here, or even the whole middle-east..
I would appreciate it if you can help me change this attitude by convincing the older generations and teaching the younger (and our) ones that rape is a physical and mental crime which needs physical and mental attention to the victim.. SHE IS NOT GUILTY FOR GOD'S SAKE.. please.

#9/30/2004 05:13:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger Bruno

Hey, is what A13 says true? That sort of attitude makes no sense to me ... surely it is hardly the victim's fault for being overpowered? What is that type of attitude based on?

#9/30/2004 05:28:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

Interview with Mahnaz, after her release:

After the release of the Simona's, Ra'ad and Mahnaz, an interview with Mahnaz was made in Baghdad by an Italian journalist and transmitted by Italian Rai television. Mahnaz told in the interview how she was taken hostage from the office of Un Ponte Per... three weeks ago. Mahnaz: "A uniformed man pointed a pistol on my head and took me out of the place, with four or five others i was to seat in a car and driven away. I was not blindfolded. I think that they had made a mistake to also take us two Iraqi's. They were very, very religious and they treated me well. I don't know about the others, because we were isolated from eachother." Mahnaz was sitting on a couch beside an older woman, probably her mother.

#9/30/2004 07:22:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

......interesting. Would that it went so well for all the others..... Another 10 today so far. Some from Iraq. Simple working people trying to rebuild a nation and feed their family. Who will pay their million dollar ransom? I hope they receive chocolates and a copy of the koran also.

#9/30/2004 08:32:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger madtom

You could get the families of the people involved to write there experiences down and send them to my blog where I will post them. Hopefully by exposing the hostage takers for what they are, public opinions will change.
Knowledge is our best weapon against those kinds of people. the E-mail
Get the word out


#9/30/2004 08:35:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger madtom

stupid me this is the right address


#9/30/2004 08:56:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger neurotic_wife

madtom, can you copy and paste your blog into another one which I can access???The country im at doesnt allow me to view the darn page....

#9/30/2004 09:23:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger madtom

Damdit, if I only knew how, it's not easy being this stupid, but I try. Tell me how and I will try my best to comply. But your not missing anything yet as I have not gotten any responses, yet. noting but spam and virus.
I feel a little like Charlie Brown in the holloween special were he gets back home and all he got was some rocks.


#9/30/2004 09:33:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger madtom

o you think it will work if I take the "u" out like I did for the e-mail address? it worked at yahoo, I could always try it and see. Anybody know?


#9/30/2004 11:00:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger ladybird

yes I saw this interview on RAI TV, she said they treat them well but that is not justify the kidnaping

#10/01/2004 01:30:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger neurotic_wife

Does anyone know this site??

#10/01/2004 01:38:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger neurotic_wife

Another Iraqi blog, I discovered only today and sadly this might be her last post ;-(

#10/01/2004 01:48:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger ladybird

this is not a Blogger "Hala Fatah" is a well known iraqi writer and historian. She is now a member of Iraqi documentation center in Baghdad. the best of all she is a relative of mine.

#10/01/2004 01:53:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger neurotic_wife

OMG ladybird, dont tell me u know hassan??You can remove this comment for the name, but it would really be a small world if u did....

#10/01/2004 02:13:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger littlewhy

Liminal, the West didn't invent the tendency to think of our own as The True and Principal People. It's an unfortunate fact of human nature, hardwired into the species by natural selection. I see this with Arabs, Chinese, everybody, absolutely everybody.

Perhaps the Iraqi kidnappings don't get covered because so many are apolitical in nature. There aren't any taunting videos on Al-Jazeera; perhaps you could blame them for it? Ferid the Great described in a recent post how Saddam emptied out his prisons of criminals (but not the political prisoners.) Any country that emptied its jails of common criminals would see a huge spike in violent crimes, and Iraq has the added trouble of not having anything like an adequate security force, thanks in part to Rumsfeld's refusal to put in enough soldiers at the beginning. But since everything that happens in Iraq goes through the distorting lens of the right and the left, anything that is merely crime for profit, without a political motive, barely gets noticed.

Why don't you just start a blog that names who among Iraqis has been abducted, or assassinated, or assaulted, etc? You don't have to give real names as that would be obviously embarrassing or dangerous, but personal details make people care more than impersonal statistics. The human brain isn't wired to deal with large impersonal numbers, such as: fifty-two Iraqis got blown to bits by a car bomb today. But if you get to know one of those fifty-two a little bit, your natural sympathies are engaged.


#10/01/2004 02:22:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous first impression is that it seems to be an intelligent, informative blog from individuals living in Iraq......worth further investigation.

Agreed, there is no justification whatsoever. Though I'm very glad they were treated well. The portrayal by the Italian ladies gives me view of the tragic reality for so many others. Each to his own, but such a syrupy picture they paint. The girls did a great service in selflessly helping the people of Iraq prior to this.

......Allah/God, bless the children that died today in Iraq. They above all deserve so much better. Hurry, hurry, hurry and get the IDF/Police and Guard trained for **** sake. And then destroy those bastards...

Perhaps a link from this site, directing traffic to a page that is dedicated to Iraqi hostages and their stories.....past, present and future. Give them life. Identify them to people. Let them tell of their experiance. The effect upon them and those that they love.

noor, do have a link to this interview? I would like to read further.


#10/01/2004 02:33:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

i huhhh saw it on the where there is some on this kidnapping also

#10/01/2004 02:45:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger ladybird

yes I know hassan but really I don't have contact with them and I didn't had contact with them before.

#10/01/2004 02:51:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous


You said, "I believe we must raise awareness about the fact that Iraqis are being kidnapped at a higher rate than foreigners." I think most people that follow Iraq with any more than passing interest know this already. I know I did. I think a more fruitful discussion would be practical ideas to put an end to all the kidnappings.


#10/01/2004 04:33:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger madtom

"fruitful discussion would be practical ideas to put an end to all the kidnappings."

The easy way to do this would be to somehow mark or tag the money that people pay to the hostage takers, and then track it thought the hands, gaining intelligence on the network. Then once we have that send in a seal team to pay them a visit.
The emphasis here is the intelligence, unfortunately many of the people do not trust the police, as many are corrupt and on the take. and this problem is deep and not something that can be easily fixed. add to all that tribal allegiances and customs. If we could actually get the public to trust the officials.
The only thing that I can think of is to get some undercover cops to penetrate the networks this is also difficult in Iraq but I imagine that it could be done.
well mark I await your remarks.


#10/01/2004 04:47:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger madtom

On a separate issue, I heard someone today on another blog suggest that the two Italians were working with the hostage takers and would profit from the experience.
Does anyone here think that's true, or have you heard anything like that?


#10/01/2004 06:26:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger emigre


You ask "I heard someone today on another blog ...
Does anyone here think that's true?"

Quoting emphasis on "heard" "blog" and "think", all ringing the speculation alarm bell wouldn't you say. Let's keep conversation rational and veer away from speculative and conspirational behaviour, Madtom.

#10/01/2004 07:11:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger madtom

Please I did not understand your complaint.
I did not indorse or discredit the report, all I asked was if anyone else knew something about such reports.
I was not trying to insult or spread rumors, the opposite would be true, by bringing it up in public you can stop the spread of untruths. Iraq being what it is today you hear a lot of thing that you would never believe, and yet they sometimes turn out to be true. The only thing I can do from here is ask and listen to the answers I get.


#10/01/2004 07:24:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

Yes, these were fine upstanding gentlemen. Pillars of the commmunity, who come..guns at the ready, aiming to kill if confronted while they kidnap for ransom a few women.

..and a couple of days later. Tens of children are killed while eating candy at the opening of a water treatment plant.

Yes, my dear... Pull all the troops out.

Glad you are free though...and unharmed.

Partisan Hack101 :(

#10/02/2004 02:07:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger fjb

I think that each country's press corp, particularly those of the coalition countries involved in this war, will focus on the losses and trauma suffered by "thier own". I agree with those here, who say that this behaviour is human nature. Perhaps this is one of those nasty things about us, as human beings, that we could spend some time improving on.

#10/02/2004 04:58:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

"The two Simona's: condemn terrorism and not the resistance"
"Kidnapped because Italians, no connections with the other kidnappings"

by Giuseppe D'Avanzo - La Repubblica - October 1st, 2004

ROME - "That afternoon of 7 September Simona comes into my room. Says to me, screams to me: "They have arrived..." Her face filled with scare... Simona Pari looks straight ahead of her, while she remembers the moment of her kidnapping. "They arrived..., says Simona".

Who they? Why you're saying they?

"I don't know why she says 'they'. She says it as if she wants to indicate something bad. Behind Simona is a man with a big gun, he forced us into a corner and made us squat down. I was the last one to be taken. All the others were already squatted down in the corridor. They ask our names."

How many were the kidnappers?

"I don't remember. I remember only the one that entered into my room behind the back of Simona. "

It is said that they were in 15 or 20. It's said that they were dressed in military uniforms and that the chief was dressed in civilian clothes. Is that true?

"I don't know. I don't remember. I don't believe to have seen many people... I remember only that they ask our names and they take us away. Me and Simona were forced into the same car. We are said to put our heads down, to fold ourselves between the seat and the bottom of the car. I didn't manage to understand that i had been kidnapped. I was frightened. Felt my impotence. I felt fragile as straw blown in the wind. I grabbed myself unto the only one thing that i thought could give me some courage. It was Simona beside me."

Al Kubaissi, of the Ulema Council, referred that you and Simona Torretta were very preoccupied before the 7th of September. Is that true?

"It is true that we went to Al Kubaissi. We thought of meeting him already since a long time, because we wanted to make the Ulema know about our projects and our work. I don't remember - and i'm tending to exclude it - that we demonstrated ourselves preoccupied. Sure, we have talked about the chaotic situation of the country, but not of our fears, which we didn't have."

So they force you into the car. Then what happens?

"We are in the car for a time that i can't quantify. You have no points to refer to. As you're down with your head looking to the floor of the car. With your heart that goes up and down. You don't think of time. Anyway, we arrive in a house i don't know where. There we are kept for the necessary time to blindfold us. We go back in the car and we are brought to the place that for 21 days was our prison."

How was this prison?

"A room. There were matrasses on the floor, a couch, a small and high window so it was impossible to look outside. Beside there was a bathroom which, after the first days, we were permitted to use without asking permission. They kept us blindfolded for a very long period. I was afraid."

They have, to say so, interrogated you?

"Yes. The first interrogations were very tough. They asked us who we were, why we were in Iraq, what we were doing. It was above all Simona (Torretta) to answer. In english, she explained them our projects, since how long our organization is in Iraq. She explained that we never had worked with the occupation-government. Said that none of our projects ever had been financed by no government of the coalition. Talked about the schools that we were reconstructing, of our tight contacts with the Iraqi community, of the work with the women and children of Baghdad.

They never accused you of being spies?


The extraordinary Secretary of the Italian Red Cross sustains since some days that your names and the ones of Enzo Baldoni were on a list of spies of the anglo-american forces stolen by saddamites. How is it possible that they never accused you of being spies?

"I don't know why Scelli says these things. I know that they never accused us of being spies."

How many interrogations you've been put through?

"Of the first I've told. And i remember that it was the hardest one. In the next days a climate developed that was, even if hard, permitted a major dialogue. And then, me and Simona succeeded, maybe better, to explain what is the essense of our work. To transmit the spirit of solidarity with the Iraqi people, that has always animated it. I think we have succeeded in that conversations - how should i call them - in making them understand that we were aware of the painful violations that the Iraqi people was forced to suffer. We have explained that the question of the human rights, wherever and by whoever calpestated, is the question that interests us most to confront. They talked to us about the violations undergone by the women in the prison of the Abu Ghraib. And we answered that we always have worked against these violations. Always where human rights are being calpestated.

You, with Simona, have in the last days said that the kidnappers have done verifications on the things you said.

"I don't know if they have done verifications. I know that the situation, with the days passing by, has become more fluid. We succeeded better - it seems to me - to convince them of the sincerity of our intentions and of our projects. I'm saying that the situation that the situaion became more fluid because also our life conditions in that room improved, after some days. They took of our blindfolds. They gave us clothes which are the same as with which we returned in Italy, and undercloth, and soap and toothpaste and good food. Continuously they asked if we needed something. Breakfast was even rich, with cream, dattersirup, bread that had just come out of the oven, and tea. There was always rise and meat. And, even with all this, they always asked us if we needed something."

This 'fluidity' of your conditions lessened also the fear?

"No. We were frightened all the time. It was a fear that sometimes paralized me. I closed myself in silence, then, and tried to think of something happy. Don't know, of friends that i hadn't seen for a long time. A place that i missed and where i always had felt serene. You understand what i want to say? I thought of what i wanted to do after what was happening to me. In that way i managed to keep my fear under control."

Could you sleep?

"I even managed to sleep in the first night. I collapsed exhausted, pressed in stress. And in the next days, deprived of the conditions of time that passes, uncertain and frightened of that what, from one moment to another, could happen to me i have lived as in a sleeping and confused sort of trance."

What have you been speaking about with the other Simona?

"We couldn't talk much. They forced us to stay in silence, one in one corner, the other in another corner of the room."

You have said that at a certain point the kidnappers have entertained you with the principles of Islam.

"It is true. We have discussed about their religion. They have told their Islam with a lot of quotes of the prophet Mohammed. In proposition to the world, life... I don't remember."

Simona Torretta, who is seated aside of Simona Pari, dressed in black, with a bit irritated expression on her face means to explain better.
Says: "They talked to us about the five pilars of Islam. Of the profession of believe, of the coranic basis, of the pelgrimage to Mecca, of fasting, of the praying."
I take my chance to ask Simona Torretta the foundation of a rumour that spreads in these huors.

Is it true that you are convirting to Islam?

Simona Torretta laughs and answers: "I have studied arabic. I am studying Islam and i want to profound it more. It is an intellectual curiosity. I have no intentions of convirting myself."

With the days passing by and with minor tension also the fear of being killed?

Simona Pari: "Every day i asked myself 'what do they want to do with us?'. I thought continuously that they would have killed me. Nearly saw the moment."
You saw again that horrible immages of decapitations?
Simona closes her eyes, as if hunting away that thought, that immage. She also refuses to say 'decapitation'. She shakes her head and invites with her eyes to ask other questions.

With Simona Torretta you have never talked about the most infaust hypthesis?

"No. Never. Get that thought out of your head. Immagine from your words. And then, I, in that days that are incredibly long, i didn't fear only that the kidnappers might kill me. In that situation there you fear everything. Also that there will be a blitz and they kill you."

You have registrated a cassette with your voices to give prove of life.

"I don't want to answer this question. There is the juridical secrecy."

scelli said it, in public. Where is the secret?

"I don't want to answer."

Have you ever been filmed?

"I don't want to answer."

On the telephone, have you ever been speaking with Scelli, or another Italian?

"I believe also with this question i have to respect the juridical secrecy."

What juridical secrecy? Scelli has said he has been speaking with you.

"I don't want to answer."

You have had, you particularly, fruit and yoghurt and mineral water? This, on the outside has been seen as some indication for the identification of the group.

"I have never asked for yoghurt, and it has never been given to me. We drank water from a sort of decanters. It didn't seem mineral water to me."

Was it you to tell to your kidnappers about your alimentary preferrings?

"It has not been asked, nor have i told them."

And how can this story have come out then?

"You shouldn't ask this to me."

When did you understand that a liberation was near?

"That day they let us dress in that coats and a headcover with three veils. They made us enter in a car, in which Ra'ad and Mahnaz already were, and who we saw since the first time since September 7th. During the trip in the car - behind the veils we asw nothing - they have asked us to apologize them for that days. They remembered us the conditions of the Iraqi people and their disperation for what happens. We travelled long."

we all have seen the immages of Al jazeera. There was something arteficial in them. It looked like a set-up.

"It was no set-up. I stood behind that veil, that headcover. I saw nothing. i didn't know what could happen to me. I felt like foolish. When Simona said to me 'take it off!' i took it of as if i were a robot. Then i saw Scelli, and thought that it had finished."

The pistol. Have you seen that it was handed to Scelli?

"Sure, the man who accompanied us in the car had it."

Was it the psitol that had to kill you?

Answers Simona Torretta: "I never heard this story about that gun that had to kill us. The handing over to Scelli has only a symbolic value, of friendship, of peace, of resentment and finished conflicts. As in the arab tradition."

Why have you been kidnapped?

"Because we are Italians."

There is a line that connects your kidnapping to the ones of the other Italians, the foour bodyguards and Enzo Baldoni killed after his interpretor Ghareeb?

Simona Pari: "Is there? I don't see it."

You have never thought that the connection can exist? You knew Paolo Simeone and Valeria Castellani, the 'contractors' of Quattrocchi, Stefio, Cupertino and Agliana. Baldoni has left his money with you before leaving for Najaf. Ghareeb 'was at home' in the rooms of Un Ponte Per... How can you not think, also only for a moment, even only to cancel the possibility, that a connection can exist?

"It is true, i have met Simeone and Castellani in only one occasion. Baldoni has passed in our office, as do all the Italians who arrive in Baghdad. Ghareeb was a man who did a lot for the Iraqis and we gave him a hand in this.

For Scelli, Ghareeb was a 'double-player', Palestinian spy also working for the Israelians.

Simona Pari: "For us, Ghareeb was a generous man who every now and then came to ask for medication to bring to the sick." Simona Torretta: "...And in this he also took risks. I remember that he organized a convoy towards Falluja in the days of the worst bombardings on the town. He managed also to bring a group of wounded out of that unlucky city. At Un Ponte, by definition, we keep the door open for all. We don't say 'you may and you may not'. When someone comes and needs medication to bring to a sicjk person, then we give it. If he wants to organize a humanitarian convoy we give a hand without asking who he is and why he does it. It is our philosofy. It are the values of the international solidarity and peace organisations."

Betweeen your words, there is some absence that makes feel uncomfortable. You have never asked if the other hostages were freed. You never condemned terrorism that kills the innocent. You think you can do that now?

Simona Pari looks at Simona Torretta and i don't understand if surprised or irritated. There are long moments of silence, until Simona Torretta says: 'Do it! Say it!"
Simona Pari: "We didn't even know that there were other hostages beside us. No-one had told us that, no-one has talked about it with us. No. No, i assure you. No-one has talked with us about the english prisoner, nor about the beheaded americans. I say that every live has to be saved. That the right to live is sacred everywhere and for everyone. If you ask me about the terrorism, tha i answer that there is the terrorism and there is the resistance. The struggle of resistance of a people to liberate the occupied land is garanteed by international right. The terrorism kills indiscriminately also the civilians. I condemn the terrorism. No-one can ask me to condemn a struggle of resistance.

1st October 2004 - La Repubblica - Italian national daily newspaper.

#10/02/2004 05:33:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

that was me: cecile

#10/02/2004 05:57:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

Folks, I admit, I didn't read all the comments, so I'm sorry if I say something that has already been said.

This week, on the brazilian newspaper, for the first time I read figures about how much more iraqis are being abductee than the americans. It's really weird...are them all workers for the occupation forces? If not, why are they being kidnapped?

A related issue: only photoes of the Simonas are published in our newspapers... no phototes or declarations of Raad and Mahnaz. Even less information about the egyptians!! I understand that the Simonas are appealling to ocidental press, because they're ocidental and went from Italy to Iraq to work to a humanitary ngo..
But it's not fair, I guess, to show their situation only.

But if a person is only worried with their own kind, it's sick.
In my opinion this sickness is very common in USA (but not only). That's what we've got to fight against, by meeting foreigners and talking among equals, just like here! =]

I'd like to make my blog also available to publish issues the point of view of the arabic world.

I'd like to invite you to enter my blog, I posted something about the ocidentals' fault...

#10/02/2004 12:37:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

hi again, i posted the translated interview from La Repubblica to make it available for non-italian readers, and so maybe someone near Mahnaz and Ra'ad could get the idea to also interview them, and eventuallly other people who got freed after having been kidnapped? could also be anonimously of course.
and i posted it because too many untrue stories are going around about the kidnapping of the four of Un Ponte Per...

#10/02/2004 03:37:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger emigre

Hi Cecile

Appreciate the translation. Just a reminder though, to everyone, to consider posting especially lengthy comments on own websites with a brief excerpt and link to it here if it is relevant to discussion.

Visitors tend to scroll right past long comments but if you can make a short link look enticing they'll follow it, meaning you get traffic to your own site as well as keeping the comment thread clean.

Sorry to sound like a a party pooper but blogger comments take long enough to load as it is!

Thanks ;)

#10/02/2004 08:15:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger neurotic_wife

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

#10/02/2004 08:59:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger madtom

"hi again, i posted the translated interview from La Repubblica to make it available for non-italian readers, and so maybe someone near Mahnaz and Ra'ad could get the idea to also interview them, and eventuallly other people who got freed after having been kidnapped? could also be anonimously of course.
and i posted it because too many untrue stories are going around about the kidnapping of the four of Un Ponte Per..."

Excellent work on your part, And what a grand Idea you had.. that the others involved should also have a place to post their stories.. Guess what, that's what my blog is all about. Anyone out there that might know any of the people involved In this or any other incident are invited to visit
Madtom's BlogMadtom

#10/03/2004 05:22:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

Least we forget some of the sacrifices that have been made.

And also...

Partisan Hack 101

#10/03/2004 11:33:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger liminal

Dear Everybody,

I must say that I am overwhelmed. I really really appreciate all the thoughtful comments and ideas. There's much to work with...but I don't know where to start replying to ones that were directed at me. I am mentally exhausted. And very upset about the latest bombings that killed over 30 children. Speechless really. I promise I'll get to all of your comments in the next day or two. It's funny because in all my time blogging, I've gotten less comments than in this one post...(even tho my comment section hasn't been open for a very long time-because of the mostly hate filled comments I got in the past, i had to stop it. I'm determined not to discontinue comments any more though.)

I know most comments are really a dialogue among those who have commented, but I'm very happy that this is happening. Thank you all very much...even those of you I might differ in opinion. I really appreciate your feedback. Dialogue is sorely needed. And I am a firm believer that the IBC should set an example of civil and organized dialogue for other collablogs that should (i hope) pop up. We have already, Iraq the Future with Nabil...and other new ones if I'm not mistaken. I hope I'm not mistaken. I'm just kind of spaced-out at the moment, so pardon me.

Thank you all again and give yourselves all the credit. ...and I look forward to responding, engaging, and adding to this conversation once I catch up on my sleep.



#10/03/2004 10:36:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger madtom

"even tho my comment section hasn't been open for a very long time-because of the mostly hate filled comments I got in the past, i had to stop it. I'm determined not to discontinue comments any more though.)"

Thank you, god, thank you. finally an answer I can believe.
You should re-post it all, as your next post so everybody can see with their own eye's who they are. Keeping it in the closet only gives in to their most important demand, That you be quiet.
Don't give in to them, Protect your anonymity at all times and give'em HELL


#10/03/2004 11:15:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

Why this....

and then this..

.........amazing how views of the same event can be so utterly opposed to each other.

Partisan Hack 101

#10/03/2004 11:36:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger Dilnareen

thank you for the republica story, sorry for putting that elaph article up without mentioning it was in arabic, i was too lazy to translate it. The article says 'i am going to iraq for muqawama (resistance) and in shorts its a sarcastic view of the situations there. Ill try summarising it basically says that this iraq kidnapping business has made homeless , poor and hopeless youths on the ME into instant millionares. As in the only thing u need to do is go across the borders from nighbouring countries (or in some cases just call the embassy and ull get a free ticket to iraq) and not only would uget the money and pleasure or hurting ppl plus get ure debut on tv, the thing has become islamic so u'll also somehow manage to get a reward in the afterlife. So instead of going to uni and attending lectures ill listen to qardawi and do my jihad in iraq , God has opened a new business there so if it works out and u become a martyr i will meet u in heaven and if i doesn't then i wish u the best of luck.

#10/04/2004 06:11:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

thanx dilnareen, i appreciate this, and did have to laugh too! ~~~ -c-


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