Monday, August 14, 2006

Jill Carroll's story in CS Monitor -- Part I

Brian Ulrich points to Part One of the Jill Carroll kidnapping story. As one might expect, it reads like a well-done suspense novel, the difference being that this is not fiction. Great reading, but the story is over now. I think I'll wait for the book.


There apparently won't be a book. Fayrouz pointed this out in a comment. Moreover, by telling her story Jill Carroll is taking a brave step as a journalist. She was warned by her captors not to do that. Read this prologue.

Jill Carroll's Story: Some reporters see themselves merely as history's witnesses - scribes on the sidelines. They are uncomfortable in the limelight. Jill Carroll is one of those who prefer the anonymity of print journalism. She lost that when she was taken hostage, though she hopes (perhaps naively) to eventually regain it. Today, when recognized in a coffee shop, she stops going there.

Her release on March 30 was the answer to prayers across the globe, including her own. Jill has a profound sense of gratitude - and awe - for the efforts of so many on her behalf. She never expected that "a lowly freelancer," as she described herself, would warrant such attention from the US and Arab governments, or from the Monitor. But she doesn't consider herself a hero, or want to be a pro-war or antiwar icon. She's a journalist who pursues the facts, on whichever side of the political or religious divide she can find it.

Her celebrity today has come at a great price to her and her Iraqi assistants. She blames herself for Alan Enwiya's death: "I made a mistake, and Alan's children no longer have their father." Her driver, Adnan Abbas, the only other eyewitness to Alan's murder, has fled Iraq with his wife and four children, including a newborn.

Jill's family and friends have repeatedly told her that she did not kill Alan. Her kidnappers pulled that trigger. Iraqi insurgents took his life and her freedom for 82 days.
Still, Jill often wept as she wrote the 11-part series that begins today (
see story). Reliving the story was painful, and she did it with reluctance. Her captors ordered her never to tell it: She fears retribution to her family and to her colleagues in Baghdad. Part of her wants to bury the experience, to forget it ever happened.

She finally decided to write, at the urging of Iraqi and American colleagues, because she is committed to her career in journalism. Observing and truth-telling are a part of her identity. Jill has valuable information and insights about her captors, some of whom are key figures in the Iraqi insurgency. She witnessed a movement that included children and mothers, whole families who exhibited ardent devotion to their brand of Islam - and to chilling brutality.

Courage often means doing what is right despite your fears. By sharing her story, Jill defines courage for all of us.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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At the moment I am also interested in following the American Footprints group blog of which Ulrich is a member. His observations regarding the aftermath of the war are as good as any. This strikes me as reasonable.

Meanwhile, in the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and Hamas are close to creating a unity government. This might go back as far as the joint negotiating position they agreed on at about the same time Gilad Shalit was kidnapped, but has been spurred on by the Israeli campaign against Hamas and Hizbullah. Given Fatah's insistence on key points like respecting previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements, this might be a good thing for Israel, but Hamas also claims to be drawing the lesson from events in Lebanon that, in the words of the PA's Information Minister, "Resistance should be a key factor in resolving the problems of Lebanon and Palestine." National unity is, I think, good for the Palestinians. According to the Jerusalem Post article, Israel's defeat is resounding around the Arab world, with some commentators arguing it shows the destruction of Israel is a realistic objective, though I'll wait for Abu Aardvark to assess that trend more fully.
My guess is that Israel's war with Hezbollah was watched very closely by their Gaza neighbors. Considering the wholesale destruction of Lebanon, anyone contemplating another attack on Israel might think twice. There is an old saying that one shouldn't pick a fight with anyone bearing a scar.

The Jerusalem Post link is a good read.
And it looks like Bibi, as we say in the South, "is in tall cotton." Allison said as much two days ago.


Fayrouz said...

HI Hoots,

You may want to read the online version of the story.

CS Monitor said lately that Jill rejected all book offers and refuses to give any interviews. She said she doesn't want to make money from her story.

Hoots said...

Thanks for pointing that out. In that case I will probably put together my own copy in a folder in my PC. I couldn't stop reading Part One until I came to the end. I was so into it I forgot to look for the option (if there was one) for single-page format as I clicked through all five or six screens.