I was glad that Jill made a statement yesterday saying that the video that circulated on the internet after her release was made under threat. I was appalled, shocked and disgusted by those rushing in to attack Jill after her release. How insensitive, short-sighted and just plain dumb! When you have a gun pointed to your head, when you are under threat in some fashion, you say anything to secure your release. For those attacking my dear, wonderful friend … please leave her alone and give her some time to recuperate from the trauma she has undergone. Celebrate her freedom instead of attacking her fragility. How insensitive!
Here are some excerpts from her statement published in full on CSM:
I’m so happy to be free and am looking forward to spending a lot of time with my family. I want to express my deep appreciation to all the people who worked so long and hard for my release. I am humbled by the sympathy and support expressed by so many people during my kidnapping.
… During my last night of captivity, my captors forced me to participate in a propaganda video. They told me I would be released if I cooperated. I was living in a threatening environment, under their control, and I wanted to go home alive. So I agreed.
Things that I was forced to say while captive are now being taken by some as an accurate reflection of my personal views. They are not. The people who kidnapped me and murdered Alan Enwiya are criminals, at best. They robbed Alan of his life and devastated his family. They put me, my family and my friends — all those around the world — who have prayed so fervently for my release — through a horrific experience. I was, and remain, deeply angry with the people who did this.
I also gave a TV interview to the Iraqi Islamic Party shortly after my release. The party had promised me the interview would never be broadcast or aired on television, and they broke their word. At any rate, fearing retribution from my captors, I did not speak freely. Out of fear I said I wasn’t threatened. In fact, I was threatened many times.
Also, at least two false statements about me have been widely aired: One, that I refused to travel and cooperate with the U.S. military and two, that I refused to discuss my captivity with U.S. officials. Again, neither statement is true.
I want to be judged as a journalist, not as a hostage. I remain as committed as ever to fairness and accuracy — to discovering the truth — and so I will not engage in polemics. But let me be clear: I abhor all who kidnap and murder civilians, and my captors are clearly guilty of both crimes.