Wednesday, 21 November 2012

What happened to your sense of justice?

This is the story of a brave man, a Somali journalist, 
who risked everything to help a couple he had never met. 

He wasn’t seeking a reward. For him, the safety and well-being of the couple were paramount. 

That was the goal. 

But his efforts came at an unexpectedly high cost, 
one he is still paying more than four years after the events described below. 

And now he needs your help. 

In August 2008 photojournalists Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan were reporting
on refugees escaping factional fighting in the Mogadishu area of Somalia.

On August 23rd, just a few days after their arrival, they were kidnapped by gunmen
as they were driving from their hotel to a refugee camp. 

Within hours, news of their disappearance was appearing on the wires.

Friends of Amanda and Nigel, many of them journalists, began calling on their contacts
in Somalia to see if they had any information.

One man stepped forward, a video-journalist who worked for the same network Amanda had
previously been associated with.

You can read more about him here in an article published in the Edmonton Journal

The piece was written a little over a week after Amanda and Nigel had been freed from their
15 months in captivity.

It was reproduced in several other publications across Canada.

Wilton had written an earlier piece that appeared in theCalgary Herald that contained more background.

Other news services, such as UPI, were also picking up on the story. 'Journalists want recognition for savior’ it wrote.  

The Globe and Mail: Amanda Lindhout comes home

And not just the Canadian media, Australia too.

'Light shed on Brennan’s capture' was the headline in the NewsMail of the 8th December 2009.

There are many, many more.

You would be forgiven for thinking that Lindhout and Brennan would forever consider themselves 
in this man’s debt and would move heaven and earth to find some way to repay his kindness.

Furthermore, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that grateful Australian and Canadian governments 
would have rewarded his “selfless heroism” with some sort of acknowledgement.

But you’d be wrong.

Nigel and Amanda moved on. The international media lost interest. 

Ottawa and Canberra have effectively ‘thrown him under a bus’ 
in an effort to distance themselves from their own largely ineffective efforts at the beginning of the hostage drama.

Even the esteemed Committee to Protect Journalists, 
who were once at the forefront of trying to get recognition or acknowledgement for this man, 
have now washed their hands of the affair.

To quote a recent email from CPJ: “He hasn’t been a working journalist now for three years,
so he falls outside our mandate”.

He’s been forgotten.

By the West at least. But not by the men in masks who still terrorise him and his family. 
Preventing him from working and earning a living.

He’s still there, in Mogadishu. Living in poverty and fear.

His gear has been stolen, cameras, phones, laptop. 

He is now unable to support his family. His children are hungry. 

All because he did the decent, some say heroic, thing.

He isn’t seeking publicity. He isn’t seeking to discredit the narratives 
that Amanda and Nigel have built around themselves since their release. 

Above all, he isn’t seeking to embarrass the governments of Canada
and Australia.

What can you do? 

Demand an inquiry. Demand justice, Get this man and his family 
help they so desperately need and justly deserve. 

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