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Dying To Get In The News Print E-mail
By Jay Bushinsky
June 4, 2007


JERUSALEM -- Six Russian nationals abducted in eastern Nigeria, three American soldiers abducted and still missing in Iraq, a British journalist and an Israeli soldier held hostage in the Gaza Strip -- events that have become typical of the 21st century.

In some cases, the seizure and open-ended detention of human beings make headlines and in others, they do not.  The newly-disclosed plight of the Russians, for example, seems to have evoked little if any interest in the international news media and consequently, in the public worldwide.
But indifference and apathy regarding this deplorable category of crime against humanity certainly will not eradicate it or inspire the release of its victims. It is hard to understand how decent, sensitive and intelligent people can take these events in stride.  But they evidently do.  There was little if any genuine concern about the fact that Lebanese terrorists kept the Associated Press' former Beirut bureau chief, Terry Anderson, chained to a radiator for nearly seven years (from 1985 to 1991) until clandestine bargaining and a never-revealed deal facilitated his release and that of two other fellow-captives.

Nor is there an outcry much beyond the journalistic community and his fellow-Britons over BBC Correspondent Alan Johnston's capture nearly three months ago by Palestinian gunmen of unknown identity.  His ordeal is particularly significant because it constitutes agonizing proof that the days when foreign correspondents could regard themselves as immune to assault or any other form of premeditated harm is over.  Until the misfortunes experienced by Anderson and Johnston, men and women who went off to faraway places naively believed that their mission -- to discover the truth and report it -- were recognized and respected universally as non-combatants who never would be mistreated by the peoples among whom they served.  

Today's deplorable situation in which they are considered fair game for terrorist predators to be treated as useful and often lucrative pawns for secret tradoffss makes one wonder whether the Geneva Convention's rule that correspondents need not and must not bear arms still is valid.  

The widespread belief that Johnston actually was favorably-disposed toward the Palestinians and went all out to depict their plight in the unending conflict with the Israelis evidently was irrelevant insofar as his captors were concerned.  According to a prominent member of the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat's staff, they have a long list of jailed cohorts in Europe and elsewhere whose release would be part of the price to be paid for his release.  In addition, they are believed to want a sizable payoff estimated at between five and six million dollars.

Muslim potentates, such as the beys and deys of Algiers, Tunis and other parts of North Africa's Mediterranean littoral, preyed upon American sailors at the end of the 18th century and the start of the 19th.  The so-called Barbary pirates who intercepted and boarded vessels belonging to the post-revolutionary U.S. humiliated the crews, often stripped them naked, parading them before jeering crowds and turning them into slaves.  

This maritime crisis, which threatened to immobilize fledgling American commerce on the high seas enraged President Thomas Jefferson and prompted the creation of the U.S. Navy.  Unfortunately, Washington's stern and uncompromising reaction which brought the young republic to the brink of war, has not influenced contemporary governments, including that of Israel.

The ill-prepared and badly-implemented military response to the abduction 11 months ago of two reservists by Lebanon's Hizbollah guerrillas has left them in limbo.  Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev still are in captivity, without having had even a single visit by delegates of the  International Committee of the Red Cross.  The same is true of Cpl. Gil'ad Shalit, who has been in Hamas' custody for nearly a year, it is time that the United Nations established a special agency for the rescue of hostages worldwide and that it extended every possible form of humanitarian assistance to the unfortunate and defenseless individuals compelled to mark time, day after day and night after night under indescribable conditions until they regain their freedom -- if they ever will...
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MGI News is the sole U.S. incorporated news and programming organization specializing in the Middle East directed by Jay Bushinsky, founding Bureau Chief of CNN Jerusalem. Topics from President Barak Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hamas, Hizbollah and more...

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