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Monday, August 02, 2004

Perspective on Kidnappings

The blogger at Baghdad Burning has returned with an update on the "hell that is now Iraq." After describing the continuing problems with the heat and lack of electricity, she tells about the problems encountered in trying to bury a dead aunt when so many others are dying in Baghdad. Then she talks about the abductions that have been making headlines here:
I get emails by the dozen from people crying out against the abduction of foreigners. Endlessly I read the lines, “But these people are there to help you- they are aide workers…” or “But the press is there for a good cause…”, etc. What people abroad don’t seem to realize is the fact that everything is mixed up right now. Seeing a foreigner, there’s often no way to tell who is who. The blonde guy in the sunglasses and beige vest walking down the street could be a reporter or someone who works with a humanitarian group- but he could just as likely be ‘security’ from one of those private mercenary companies we’re hearing so much about.

Is there sympathy with all these abductees? There is. We hate seeing them looking frightened on television. We hate thinking of the fact that they have families and friends who worry about them in distant countries and wonder how in the world they managed to end up in the hell that is now Iraq… but for every foreigner abducted, there are probably 10 Iraqis being abducted and while we have to be here because it is home, truck drivers, security personnel for foreign companies and contractors do not. Sympathy has its limits in the Iraqi summer heat. Dozens of Iraqis are dying on a daily basis in places like Falloojeh and Najaf and everyone is mysteriously silent- one Brit, American or Pakistani dies and the world is in an uproar- it is getting tiresome.