Sunday, October 24, 2004

Disturbing Trend

Another aid worker in Iraq held hostage (abducted last Tues). This one has been playing out in mainstream news outlets for a few days now, although bloggers don't seem to have picked it up. Perhaps there is growing hesitation among bloggers to give "air" to stories like this. When it becomes apparent bloggers do have some impact on mainstream events, however minor, it makes publishing something that might affect another's life an uncomfortable thought.

As "unconfirmed" reports from Margaret Hassan's husband put it;

... an Arabic satellite news channel quote her husband as saying the British government and the prime minister should not comment on her case because he feels that could damage the effort to secure her freedom.


Do bloggers want to become part of a larger machine, merely reflecting events and following the mainstream queue. Do bloggers want to become leafleteers? Standing on the local blog corner, handing out the latest pamphlets, the latest "tips"? This blogger does not but nor does this blogger enjoy watching people (notably aid workers who have spoken out against UN sanctions, war and the subsequent US occupation of Iraq) disappear in mysterious circumstances.

British journalist Robert Fisk got to know Hassan after his newspaper, The Independent, raised about $250,000 to provide medicine for Iraqis six years ago. Hassan "did an extraordinary job" distributing the drugs, he said in an interview on Irish television. "She managed to browbeat the authorities, the UN and the Americans, to get these medicines into Iraq. ... She is an extraordinarily energetic woman."

Fisk said Hassan speaks fluent Arabic with an Iraqi accent. "She was very careful not to involve herself in any political discussion," although she "was very much against the UN sanctions," he said.


Paul Wood, BBC, notes

there is no insignia or banner on the video. In an unprecedented move, there is no identification of the group in the video.


Allawi says

"She is a very fine lady, she is a very dignified lady and she has helped Iraq a lot and it is a very shameful thing that this happens in Iraq."


And yet Allawi is not willing to make deals for Mrs Hassan's freedom, while an 18 year old Iraqi teenager is.

I am so not into heads rolling, I don't care whose head or by whose hand.

Update; Falluja insurgents say they are not holding Hassan and condemn her kidnapping.

Update update; Self defeating commenters who proclaim "no negotiation" is possible deserve to go and bury their heads back in the sand. You think bloggers blog because they hold self-defeatist views like that? You think Martin Luther King and Ghandi told themselves no negotiation is possible? You think Bill Gates sweet talks multi billion dollar contracts after telling himself negotiation is not possible? Get real.

14 Comments

#10/24/2004 09:04:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

While your intentions are noble, E, you are missing an important point. There are now basically two types of kidnappers operating in Iraq. The first type is the jihadiis. The second type is the gangster.

-The gangsters (not unique to current Iraq) are after ransom money. They can possibly be dealt with and negotiated with.

-The other type is the jihadi. They are 'control freaks.' Their objective is to control everyone else.

-Are you will to surrender all your rights? They want to control what you can watch on tv (not The Road to Kabul, for example), what you can read, whether you can even leave your house, what you say and think (Rushdie), what you can wear, who you can talk to, etc.

-E, no negotiation with them is possible, regardless of whether you want to or not.

--button

 
#10/24/2004 11:08:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

NO 3 you forgot the Americans.

 
#10/25/2004 02:08:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger Elegante

If I was kidnapped I would dearly hope that those who cared about me would try everything they could to get me back. And that definitely includes negotiating.

In all non-terrorist situations specialist negotiators are used. Of course it's possible. Imagine if Blair or Bush were kidnapped, what would happen then?

 
#10/25/2004 06:05:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger liminal

Amen amen to Update update and much peace Emigre,

Margaret Hassan is a champion for all Iraqis. This is not news. She's been an ardent supporter of the plight of Iraqis for a long long time. ...In fact, longer than I've been alive on this planet. And if Allawi, Bush, or Negroponte try to get some mileage out of her kidnapping, they are accurately misreading the situation. Those sickKK bastards. If you know me by now, you know I try to never step on my tongue. And that's what democracy is about. (You're as free as you can curse your leaders. Though, the matter of honor ((and it's influence on the collective/clannish nature of lraqi life)) muddles this conundrum for the free-speaking individual inside Iraq. The matter of honor (and RTR*) berhaps makes people less-inclined to be more open, but that also guarantees its Iraqiness) Unfortunately, it's true that the democratic system must have this quality of tolerance.
But really, what a situation...Iraqis have been tormented for so long that (as Sophia of Sophia's peace work says) there is residual-totalitarian-reactivity. [Or *RTR...] Well, berhaps she doesnt state it like that, but you get my point. People are still afraid to express themselves. In essence, it's like Saddam's time for many that don't have aliases, 1's and 0's, and other methods of obscuring themselves. It's understandable for us Iraqis, in other words, to shy away from reporters and media in general. It doesn't mean others should do the same, though. And that's why blogging is the perfect medium--for those who have a voice--to speak out.

Anyway, sure (to respond more directly to your post Emigre), I wanted to write about Mrs. Hassan like I did about "the Four" but I haven't because I'm stuck right now. Comprehension skills low now...I cannot fathom the world. I hope to though. Also, I think we do not have the option to be afraid anymore. There's much I cannot articulate into words. Because it is just a fact about being Iraqi now. We have to (just)ZIPIT abt a number of things to protect ourselves. But I am certain that all of us should NOT be afraid.

We must do only what is within our (meta)physical means. If we can handle speaking our opinion (even) if it differs from those that are "established" or validated (somehow) in their power, then we must. We must encourage the Iraqi voice at any opportunity while accepting the realities we deal with on a daily basis. It's a difficult balance, but we can do it. If we didn't care, we wouldn't try to accomplish this one difficult task. Right?

We must be very very cont - O - rary. Or as contrary as we can comfortably be...you know, less of :X , more of :)

So, to get back to the subject...Margaret Hassan has done more for Iraqis than most. She deserves to be released immediately. Kidnapping her, of all people, would not be an Iraqi thing to do. So, I am skeptical at best about this after the Un Ponte Per Baghdad kidnappings. And if this thing turns out to be blamed (whether truly or not) on Zarqawi, then you will have stark lines drawn in contrast with the Iraqis trying to liberate themselves from the "liberation" [or liberation squared, liberation^2]]. (I hate to put it like this because I love Mrs. Hassan for who she is and I just need to point this out without feeling restrained by this terrible situation.) Which even President Bush said, "nobody likes being occupied" when he effectively gave legitimacy to Iraqis who wished to be free from an occupation before waiting for American troops to leave Iraq. Let's just note this for now.

Just to be clear. I want elections to work. But I remain skeptical while understanding it is our singular hope at this point.

Trying my best to remain stalwart in these trying times.

Calling all Iraqis...Ya Allah, please speak up if you feel willing and wanting to get some things off your mind and teach the world about Iraq like Riverbend, Salam, and Zeyad have been so instrumental in doing. And I mean this for ANYBODY of ANY political sLAnt. Start a blog if you're Iraqi. And help encourage a free Iraqi voice with your sisters and brothers.

LONG LIVE IRAQ and ALL ITS CHILDREN including Margaret Hassan,

liminal

 
#10/25/2004 08:15:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

Patricia Cornwall, the myster writer, has a memorable aphorism:

'You may not believe in Evil, but Evil believes in you.'

--button

 
#10/25/2004 12:48:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

I just posted an entry on my blog about this. The AP article seems to give some insights into the ground of the debate and some of the perceived motivations behind it.

--button

 
#10/25/2004 03:24:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger emigre

-- button

Misplaced your url, please post a link to your blog so I can read your response. Although we disagree I am interested in reading what you have posted. Also, you may be interested in the story of John Martinkus, a journalist who negotiated.

Lim

She sounds like an amazing woman.

 
#10/25/2004 03:27:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger emigre

ew, blogger doesn't seem to like me posting that link. oh well, here it is in the rough (John Martinkus);

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/10/18/1097951619578.html?from=top5

 
#10/25/2004 03:30:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger emigre

thwarted, the last part of that link again;

html?from=top5

 
#10/26/2004 02:15:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

Emigre:
I simply posted excerpts, but did not comment on this, as I am not in a propitious position to intervene in a dispute between Christians and Mulims in that part of the world. It could further worsen the situation or possibly endanger her more.

Besides that, I spent a good part of last night, missing sleep, to fisk a college student's sophmoric essay published in his campus newspaper (how to lose friends and alienate people; no dale carnegie he).

--button
**http://eclectchap.blogspot.com**

 
#10/26/2004 02:24:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger liminal

+++

Rally held for Margaret Hassan in Baghdad. 200 of her friends and colleagues protest her capture.

 
#10/26/2004 02:48:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger emigre

thanks --b.

 
#10/26/2004 03:05:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger emigre

Lim LOL.

Did you get that Blair quote?

"It has to be defeated by showing that what we are actually trying to do is to bring greater stability, freedom, prosperity and democracy to these countries – not some imaginary war against Muslims"

Oh silly me. There i was thinking those bombs were real. LOL. Two paragraphs extolling the best way to "defeat" and "deal blows" then he comes out with "imaginary war". Well yes, i do have to agree in part there. The governmental spin here is extraordinarily illusary.

 
#10/28/2004 06:40:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

...Green? Red? Gold... brown?...... leaves falling. What color today, girls?


...deciduous

 

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