Monday, June 13, 2005

Very Good News to start the week - - "Ils sont enfin libres" (not that anyone in the US ever knew they were missing)

Click here: Libération : Ils sont enfin libres!!! [They are finally free.]

The banners of support on this blog for Florence Aubenas and Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi almost seemed like part of the original design. They have been missing in Iraq since January 5 and got no media mentions in the United States (though they are media stars in Europe). Why didn't a victim-hungry US Press ever pick up on this damsel-in-distress story? Is it possible that there's a political element in choosing missing teenagers and brides over prominent and attractive foreign reporters? Anyway, I had no idea that Florence and Hussein had been freed over the weekend, in apparently robust health, until opening Le Monde and Libération on my work computer this morning and seeing their very happy faces on the front pages of both.

Still, these faces feel like the faces of friends, and it will be sad to remove them from the sidebar:

This issue of the safety of the news media --the unembedded news media-- in war zones is an important one. There are times when it seems as if the current so-called "War on Terror" is mirroring the fictional world of "The Proxy War" that serves as part of the ominous political backdrop in Martin Amis's London Fields, the novel I'm (re)reading at the moment. Here's a relevant quote that I coincidentally read on the train just this morning:
... The Proxy War had put a curve on things when both sides agreed, or when 'both sides agreed', to play their game in the dark. This condition they quickly brought about by a declared policy, much publicized in the press and on television, of killing all journalists. No longer could the foreign correspondents hop from foxhole to foxhole with their MEDIA tags in their hatbands and then telex their stories over cocktails from the garden rooftops of scorched Hiltons. {. . . } They went in, but they didn't come out . . . (page 142, Vintage paperback)
But Florence and Hussein have come out, and the nation and the continent that called for their release in a thousand creative ways can celebrate.
And so should we!

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