The deadline the kidnappers initially gave will expire later today but efforts to save my very dear friend’s life are still ongoing, non-stop. The latest major effort was an appeal by her dad who appeared on the Arab world’s two most watched satellite TV channels: Aljazeera and Al Arabiya. This is what he said:
I want to speak directly to the men holding my daughter Jill because they may also be fathers like me. My daughter does not have the ability to free anyone. She is a reporter and an innocent person. Do not sacrifice an innocent soul … as a father, I appeal to you to release my daughter for the betterment of all of us. And I ask the men holding my daughter to work with Jill to find a way to initiate a dialog with me.
Also Friday, Arab satellite channels aired a news conference held by Adnan Dulaimi, head of the Conference for People of Iraq:
I urge the men who kidnapped this journalist, Jill Carroll, to release her for the sake of God and our country and our religion and our honor. We, in the Conference for People of Iraq, will demand those conditions of releasing the detainees in the Iraqi and American prisons. We will demand this by word, negotiations, and talks with Iraqi and American officials. This act tore me apart and pained me if it wasn’t embarrassing, I would cry. In the name of God, in the name of religion, in the name of any word of sympathy that exists in Iraq, I urge you to release this female journalist.
Source: [Washington Post]
UPDATE: Agence France-Presse (AFP) is reporting that securing Jill’s release is a "top priority," according to White House spokesman Scott McClellan:
AFP: Securing abducted US journalist Jill Carroll’s release from Iraq is a priority for the United States, the White House said Friday, as the deadline loomed on her captors’ threat to execute her. "The safe return of any American hostage is always a top priority, wherever they are," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters. But he would not say what steps, if any, Washington was taking to secure her release.
UPDATE 2: A demonstration of support for Jill is being held today at the Grand Mosque of Paris by Reporters sans frontières:
With the ultimatum given by the kidnappers of US journalist Jill Carroll due to expire this evening, a demonstration in support of Carroll was held today at the Grand Mosque of Paris by Reporters Without Borders, mosque rector Dalil Boubakeur and former French hostages Florence Aubenas, Roger Auque, Jean-Jacques Le Garrec, Roland Madura and Ivan Cerieix.
Calling for Carroll’s release, the participants pointed that today’s demonstration was being held exactly one year after a similar show of support for Aubenas, who was finally freed and was able to take part today, and they said they hoped that today’s appeal would also be heard by those holding Carroll in Iraq.
All of us here in Ann Arbor, Michigan and at Huron High School (Jill is a 1995 River Rat Graduate) send our thoughts and prayers. Hope is alive that Jill finds her way home safe and sound very, very soon.
Hey Natashy, You are doing incredible job helping all of us to work and pray to release Jill. I am praying on a daily basis for her release.
I understand that you might not watch Aljazeera, and even if you did, you might not understand Arabic because Aljazeera is spearheading the cause to secure her release. Since it aired the tape, it has repeatedly called for her release. The channel has always said it condemned the kidnapping of journalists but this is also the first time it issues a plea in its name for the release of a hostage. It has made every effort possible to ensure that Jill’s case gets the maximum air time.
there is somthing should be done in Iraq, they should stop the source of this madness, is “kidnaping a woman” an action belong to Islam???!!!, and where is the arabian values and tradtions they talk about???!!! again is this normal to see everyday in our region???!!!
It is Qais Saleh here, of all the places, I am sitting in a Tokyo hotel room watching CNN and who I see on the program, you!
I think it is a noble thing you are doing for Jill, keep up the good work.
Wonderful effort to help Ms Carroll. Did a good job on Larry King Live last night. Very proud of you. We pray and Hope all your efforts translate to freedom for Ms Carroll and soon.
I’m thankful that Muslim leaders such as Muthana Harith al-Dhari, journalist as Ayman Al-Safadi and the Muslim Brotherhood have recognized and spoken of Jill Carroll as a young woman who has repeatedly demonstrated an empathy and respect for the Iraqi people and her ability to communicate their feelings and wishes to the American people. It is time for Aljazeera to take and express an informed stand of leadership in seeking her unharmed release.
Jill Carroll’s captors play into Bush’s hand of misleading ineptitude and will allow him to pursue his chosen war of now groundless reason. The captors who hold her deny the best hope for our understanding of the Iraqi people and allowing them to determine and fulfill their own destiny as they, and only they, collectively choose.
The Bush regime, much like the Cold-war Kremlin, tells us only that which will cover their ineptitude and further their interest, not ours. Such a self-serving, misleading, secretive and manipulative source cannot be trusted and thankfully is no longer trusted by most Americans. We, as a people, have an absolute need and right to the accurate and timely information Miss Carroll and her colleagues provide. As Americans, we want and need their reporting for us to direct those of our leaders, who remain willing to listen to our opinions, to serve the will of the people they represent. A democracy cannot exist without this
Any harm coming to Jill Carroll will probably cause news organizations to further withdraw their correspondents and limit them to the “Green Zone”. If that happens, the only reporting of the Iraqi condition available to us will be based on information and opinions coming from our military and the Bush regime, unchecked and unsubstantiated by independent news sources.
In our democracy the role of the free press is so underlying and basic that it is not and cannot be one of the three constitutionally specified branches of government. It is the “Fourth Estate”, the branch of the people, necessary to broadly and accurately inform its citizens. The checks and balances within our government are meaningless if the people can not, through genuine knowledge, conceive and express their informed will.
Right or wrong, we all now must live with what has been done. To correct, overcome and make the best of this for the good of all, I can’t believe that the Iraqi people would choose to return to the tyranny of Saddam or adopt the Taliban lifestyle of Bin Laden. Nor can I believe they would abandon their culture to adopt a western democracy. However, under a democracy, they will be free choose as they will to develop a democracy of their own as we developed ours. Hopefully they will work to come together as a nation and choose tolerance and respect for their own diverse beliefs in creating the strength and greatness that can be theirs in that union.
I ask and pray that Aljazeera will speak and lead its people and readers to demand the release of a much needed Jill Carroll. We all will be better for her safe freedom but far worse off and denied if she is harmed.
Allen E. Grant email@example.com