The editor-in-chief of the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad, Ayman Al-Safadi, wrote a moving piece (in Arabic) about Jill in today’s edition. Mr Al-Safadi was the one who hired Jill to work for the Jordan Times some years ago. Below is my humble translation:
Freedom for Jill Carroll
By Ayman Al-Safadi
She sought to educate her people about the truth of what’s going in the Arab world, which she loved before setting foot in it. She put her life at risk by struggling to convey the voices of Iraqis to American public opinion, which was showered with wrong information about the developments in Iraq. She was rewarded with kidnapping. Jill did not hide in Baghdad’s Green Zone. In her coverage of Iraq, she did not rely on statements made by American and Iraqi officials. She wanted her reports for the reliable Christian Science monitor to reflect the pulse of the Iraqi street. Jill wanted to tell of the suffering of Iraqis and to reflect their ambitions. Her respect for the truth took her to the most dangerous parts of Baghdad. She ended up in al-Anbar, hostage to kidnappers with unknown identity and objectives.
I met Jill in the United States years go when she applied to work for the Jordan Times, the paper for which I was editor-in-chief. She seemed ambitious, excited and anxious to develop her knowledge of the Arab world and its issues. I decided to hire her immediately as Arabs greatly need professional and informed American journalists interested in conveying their point of view to the American reader. Investing in a neutral and professional American journalist is an investment in the needed effort to correct the image of Arabs that is being ruined by either ill-intent or ignorance.
Jill worked in Jordan before she moved to Iraq after the occupation of Baghdad. Her knowledge of the Arab world deepened and her journalistic reports provided an objective and complete coverage of what is happening in Iraq. Jill was the voice of truth. But this voice has been silent for days. What the kidnappers reaped was silencing a pen that was on the side of truth and objectivity and that expressed the ordeal and issues of Iraqis.
The fate of Jill has been unknown. And no one knows who and why she was kidnapped, for she is the one who stood by the Iraqis. What is evident is that Iraq has lost an honest voice biased in favor of the Iraqis’ right to a safe and prosperous life. Anyone who can help free Jill Carroll bears a moral responsibility to do their best to release her from captivity. Nothing justifies hurting an innocent human being who deserves only appreciation from the Iraqis for a role performed with the utmost dedication, honesty and integrity. No cause justifies breaking a pen that inks the truth.
UPDATE: The BBC is reporting that Iraq’s ministry of justice told the BBC that six of eight women being held by coalition forces in Iraq were released early. The six were freed because there was insufficient evidence to charge them, according to a justice ministry spokesman. US forces won’t confirm the releases, saying only that they wouldn’t be based on any operational activities.