Saturday, March 11, 2006

Tom Fox and others

if you follow the news on weekends, you've probably already heard that kidnapped aid worker Tom Fox was found dead. Still no word about the other 3 persons kidnapped with him, Briton Norman Kember and Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden. By Monday, however, I imagine the death of Milosevic will overshadow the news about Fox in international news. When I heard about Fox I thought about two things: 1st, I wondered about Jill Carroll, and 2nd, I remembered Iraqi-Texas blogger Fayruz's letter from last year about paying ransom to kidnappers in Iraq:

Mr. Silvio Berlusconi,
Next time you negotiate with terrorists, look at ...[these pictures].... Think of where the ransom money is going. This week, you had one state funeral in Italy. We lost 47 Iraqis who were attending a funeral. Those people who died didn't have the privilege to have their names splashed across the newspapers. They're just numbers to the rest of the world while they were dear to their loved ones.If you're honest about helping Iraqi people then stop paying terrorists. Don't help feed the killing machine in Iraq by filling the terrorists pockets with money. My condolences to the unnamed Iraqis who died in the latest terror act in Mosul. Your names are written on the stars.

I have no idea whether or not the dynamic works the way Fayrouz says it does, but obviously the money is going somewhere. More recently, Fay also takes note of Reem Zeid and Marwan Khazaal, two Iraq journalists who were kidnapped earlier this year.

see also Arab Press Freedom Watch, here.

Sunday 3-12, some additional thoughts:

Zeynep discusses Tom Fox's last known e-mail, via Jonathan Schwarz, who shares this particularly poignant image of Fox with 2 children. I admit I still don't understand why aid workers are targeted. Apart from its wantonness, it only stokes the fires of bigoted types who see Arabs as unredeemably savage, although I suppose that the kidnappers may have decided that all Americans are like that, because they presumably voted for the warmonger Bush.

When Fay says that paying ransoms only enables violent people, what about when kidnaps occur because of the desire to move policy, such evacuating prisons or getting a specific country to abandon the US/UK coalition? That doesn't mean she is necessarily wrong, but I wonder why kidnappers who just want money "sell" their hostages to politically motivated groups, as we occasionally hear about this phenomenon. Wouldn't it make more sense to deal with the journalistic bureaus directly? This would make the most sense for both financially motivated kidnappers and the media outlets. Who or what is preventing this, and allowing a market in reselling hostages to be created?

image of Tom Fox via AP,
dead child in Mosul via Middle East Online