Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Alan Johnston Walks Free

You may have noticed over past weeks, that I have been supporting the appeal to get the BBC Gaza reporter Alan Johnston released, with a banner on my blog:

Alan Johnston banner

I am obviously delighted to be able to remove it from the sidebar, following the news that he is now a free man. Footage of his release can be viewed here. His release was facilitated by Hamas, who no doubt are taking every opportunity they can to gain credibility with western governments, who still regard them as a terrorist organization (understandably given their militancy and their stated objectives).

I can't condone their desire to see Israel removed from the map, but I respect the efforts they have made on behalf of Johnston. It is also very interesting to hear Johnston's comments that it was when Hamas started occupying Gaza that his abductors (the Army of Islam), started to get their feathers ruffled. It is interesting because we appear to have two separate factions of Islamic hardliners with two very different philosophies with how Westerners should be treated. I'm not in anyway endorsing Hamas. I am saying that we should question what the Army of Islam is really about, if they demonstrate a different approach and fear in the face of an organization that adheres to the same religion as them, with equal zeal.

It was very poignant and gracious that Johnston publicly re-affirmed his previous experiences of Palestinians as largely being hospitable.... and described his captors as an aberration.

In some conservative Christian churches... particularly in America, there is a rather simplistic view that Palestinians are all on the opposite side. Irrespective of any political views I may have in support of the sovereignty of Israel, I feel that this is rather unfair... especially considering the fact that there are around a quarter of a million Palestinian Christians (figures vary wildly, so this is a rough mean average), living in Israel and the Palestinian territories today. Many others have left the region... and it isn't surprising. They receive little or no recognition from the west and despite being largely sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, they are wary of the involvement of Islamic militants because of the risk of persecution.. Wikipedia cites various forms of ranging from harassment to the more extreme.

You can read more about Palestinian Christians, here.

In conclusion, returning to the original story... I give thanks that Johnson is now out of harms way and pray for his recovery (emotional, physical and psychological).

One cause down, one to go... Madeleine is still missing.


  1. Anonymous4:38 pm

    Yeah it's great news :)

  2. Yes, I did get it "up and running" at least somewhat. Sorry I haven't had time to drop by here and let you know! I'm goin to make a list on my site soon and I'll make sure you're on there. Nice blog here. Hope you are doin' well. Good to hear from you... take care!


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