Tuesday, August 29, 2006

When reporters are 'converted' at gunpoint

I haven't posted on the kidnapping of Fox News's Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig for several reasons, not least because the curious lack of coverage by Fox News suggested to me that there was a lot going on behind the scenes that wouldn't be helped by me adding my wildly speculative two cents worth from the sidelines. It's my understanding that hostage takers fall into different groups when it comes to publicity: those who like the public to get aroused and screaming because it amplifies their deed and makes killing a specific hostage more useful (so to speak), and those who are afraid of public outcry, because they know it hurts their cause. Since these kidnappers didn't seem to care that their neighbors and leaders were screaming that they were hurting the Palestinian cause, I figured Centanni and Wiig were in big, big trouble.

Thank goodness they got free. But, of course, now they're marked men. Having been 'converted' at gunpoint, they are under the threat of death if any jihadist gets it into his head that they're not being good enough Muslims. File that bit of info under "Why We Must Fight."

If you've been wondering about the widely-reported comments they made at their first news conference about how they hope their kidnapping doesn't scare off any other journalists because the Palestinian people are such nice, misunderstood folks, I would like to make a couple of points. First, I'm sure there are Palestinians and then there are Palestinians. I've lived places in the United States, for Pete's sake, where bullies gained power and the citizenry hadn't a clue how to get itself free for a while. This is not to excuse what the Palestinians have done over the last decades, but to admit that there are likely some nice people trapped alongside and under the bullies. Second, excuse me, but that press conference was made while they were still under Palestinian control. As in armed guards and terrorists standing beside them while they spoke, in Gaza, at a Palestinian Authority sponsored media event. I think we may safely excuse them for saying whatever they needed to to get out of the situation alive. Yes?

Why the rest of the media played along the way it did is another question, but from here on out I will take anything either man says about the Middle East or Islam with a handful of salt, because, after all, they are under threat of death if any crazy jihadist gets it into his head that they aren't being good enough Muslims by his own lights.

1 comment:

Anna said...

Thanks for the link, Kathryn. You are right that there may be some very nice people who happen to be Palestinians, we just don't ever see them.