Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Alan Johnston

Check out the button, top right hand corner. You can sign a petition to try and help free Alan Johnston who's believed to have been taken hostage in Gaza.

I'm curious as to whether many North Americans ever heard of Terry Waite or John McCarthy and Brian Keenan? They were all held hostage for years in Lebanon.

I distinctly remember seeing Terry Waite speak at my brother's graduation ceremony when I was 18. Six months later Terry Waite was taken hostage (he was trying to negotiate the release of other hostages) and he wasn't released until I was half way through my Ph.D.

That makes me sad. I was busy growing up, getting drunk, falling in love while he sat in a tiny, dark, silent cell, day after day. We didn't forget about them, but we carried on with our lives.

John McCarthy's story was similar but he had a cellmate, and back home in the UK Jill Morrell was keeping his face in the news and the public awareness high. In the normal way of things John and Jill would have got married and lived a long and normal life, but being kidnapped, not knowing if John was alive or dead for five years, was hell on the relationship. They didn't get their happy ending.

Read their book, it is an incredible story.

Despite my love of the ridiculous (and predilection toward pictures of handsome men) I'm a pretty serious person. Knowing about people hurting and suffering in real life takes a toll. This is why I read romance novels. The real world is so bloody sad sometimes that losing myself in a good novel where you know everyone will be alright in the end, is the only reason I'm not on prozac :)


  1. Hi
    Am really pleased you have mentioned this. Had wanted to suggest that you do this.
    Also Brian with john and terry

  2. I didn't know about any of this. It takes a brave, and possibly foolish, person to put themselves in the middle of all that violence. I hope for their safety.

  3. Karen, you should have, I only found the button yesterday but I've been thinking about him, hoping he's still alive.

    Scott, it is funny the things that really separate nations (our different histories growing up, everything from music, news, politics) and the things that unite a nation (there was such a groundswell of happiness when we got 'our' people home).

    The best correspondents are the bravest people, telling the story about what is really going on in the world without the politic slant. I think the BBC's people are particularly good at this. I really hope he's alive and is freed soon. The poepl who've taken him have made a huge miscalculation.

  4. There was an HBO movie a few years back called 'Hostages' about the men held prisoner in Beirut. The main focus of the story was on John McCarthy and Brian Keenan but they were eventually brought together with the Americans held hostage (including Terry Anderson, the longest one in captivity) and then they were joined by Terry Waite. It was a very well-done movie and well worth watching.

    I'm sorry to hear John and Jill didn't get their HEA.

  5. Michele--I'd forgotten Terry Anderson's name--how ironic :)

    Poor man. I've heard of the drama but never saw it... must check it out.

  6. What a sad situation. Never read the book, but I bet it's very interesting.

  7. I remember Terry Waite, his picture everywhere - I was young and not that interested in world events like I am now. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. btw - the prozac doesn't help. LOL

  9. LOl, Bailey!!! I can vouch for that.

    """The real world is so bloody sad ""

    Yeah, but in this age of globalization and easy access to constant bad news, it's easy to forget that the real world can also be so bloody beautiful ...

  10. Thanx for posting this Toni. Like Loreth pointed out, we have constant access to bad news, but have we become too de-sensitized to it? We might think about it for awhile, but after awhile it leaves our minds. Cant' imagine what these people have gone through - just awful.

  11. So much for plan B (prozac :D)

    The world is beautiful, especially in our part of it, but if you put pain next to an act of kindness, pain still resonates more deeply (to me).

    I don't think I'm saying it right--I'm a happy person, I take my kids to school, have a laugh, enjoy what I've got, but I don't want to forget that not everyone is in this situation. But there are times when I want to be able to escape it with a happy book.

    And on this note, can I just say how proud I was of all the British stars who turned out on American Idol gives back, last night? Another part of British culture are Red Nose day and Children In Need appeals, we might talk funny but we're good people, just like everyone who gives what they can, and helps who they're able. It isn't always about money.