Well the deadline has just passed and many people are holding their breaths to see what will happen to Jill Carroll. I’ve been holding my breath for several weeks now since a group kidnapped a Jordanian driver in December demanding to exchange him for the failed terrorist bomber of November 9th attacks on Amman.
It’s so strange how these are two different people, with two different lives, nationalities, genders, families, ethnicities, religions, and occupations, but they are now facing the same realities. The demands are also different. The group who took Carroll is demanding that America releases all the women prisoners in Iraq. The group that took Mahmoud is demanding that a terrorist who tried to kill Jordanians be released.
But more importantly the reactions to their kidnappings have been quite different.
I don’t want to go into some in depth analysis. I don’t agree with these kidnappings to begin with; they conflict with the teachings of my religion and are just plain inhumane. But this is an example of human life and its value; look at this objectively from an alien hovering above the Earth point of view.
With Carroll you’ve had this out-pouring reaction from international press, world wide politicians, newspapers, blogs, Muslim organizations, even Sunni Iraqi leaders. Even during the Friday prayer today our Imam had a little prayer for her release.
With Mahmoud Saidat, we’ll he made some brief apperances on the CNN and BBC websites for a few days. He made it onto a few blogs for a few days. A few newspapers wrote about him a few times. AlJazeera showed his plea for his life a few times too.
It isn’t the press reaction which I find interesting, it’s obviously expected that a white American female journalist will obviously garner more press attention than a Jordanian driver. What I find interesting really is the people’s reaction, the human reaction.
One is an American Journalist and one is a Jordanian Driver. Both were in Iraq to carry out their duties; the former as a journalist and the latter serving his country.
While I’m really proud at the strong reactions towards freeing Carroll, specifically and especially from the Muslim community, I feel sad for Mahmoud’s wife and kids who have no backup.
I wish a massive rally of Jordanians flooded the streets of Amman to protest for his release. This is me daydreaming of course, but after November 9th I was injected with a dose of optimism that Jordanians would not hesitate to speak up against terror whether it affected one of their citizens or 63.
Perhaps I was mistaken. Perhaps we let him down.
I don’t blame anyone really, although our governments have this tendency to make their citizens feel so devalued compared to their western counter parts, like we are worthless, despite fake slogans of the citizen being the most valuable asset. Hey, maybe someone did try and get a permit to have a massive protest but was turned down by the Ministry. But I doubt it.
Strange enough I think Carroll will probably be released but Mahmoud is a tough call. Gender plays a big role here. The fact that Carroll is a woman is basically her lifeline. The fact that she’s a journalist is also another lifeline. The fact that Mahmoud is both a man and works for the Jordanian government, are, well, the opposite of lifeline.
Another thing that’s interesting to note is the groups who are now doing this. Most, if not all, have been either AlQueda in Iraq, headed up by Zarqawi, or are rouge cells (from the start). Some demands have been about money, but mainly political. What is interesting is that with both these kidnappings you have strange names. Carroll’s kidnappers are the Revenge Brigade and Mahmoud’s are the Hawks Brigade. Gone are the Islamic names that we’ve grown accustomed to. What is mind boggling to me is that even if these groups are Islamic in nature, even if they are extremists, wouldn’t they know they cannot kidnap non-combatants in a war? Especially women, children and people of religion? Did they skip over that part in Zarqawi 101? I’ve read some reports of freed hostages who say the women were treated much better than the men, they were allowed to move freely, watch TV and listen to radio and read the newspaper, even the food was better. This relates to Islamic teachings where women are supposed to be treated better, so it does appear that these people are religious and were in class for that lecture. But this only relates to prisoners of war, after a war, not during a war. The same sort of POWs America is keeping in Iraqi prisons as we speak.
So we can draw two conclusions: either these are extremist Islamic militants who never saw the light of a 4th grade education, or they are just disguised under the veneer of being religiously affiliated.
Either way this has become another by-product of America’s war on Iraq. The country in a matter of almost 3 years since the war began has become the worst place for Journalists to operate in. More have died there than in the whole Vietnam war.
All that being said, may they all come back home soon and safely God willing.