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reporting from hell August 26, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in media, politics.

Some people really have a passion for there job. To be reporting in the middle east right now takes a little more than passion. A little while back I wrote about Alexandra Avakian who was able to get into the Hezbollah itself as a reporter for National Geographic. Not all reporters in the area are so lucky. Recently in the news are the demands of the “Holy Jihad Brigades”. They were previously unheard of, but since their capture of two Fox News journalists on August 14th, the Holy Jihad Brigades have found their 15 minutes of infamy. These sort of attacks on journalists are that of sheer cowardice, even if it is Fox News. The group holding the two journalists, Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig, have demanded the release of all Muslim prisoners of the United States. These guys are either very stupid or, just very stupid. The only point to making such an obviously idealistic demand is to agitate their opposers a little bit more. Reporters Without Borders mentioned that ten other kidnappings of journalists of occured in Palestine in the last two years, but this was the first that the reporters have been held more than a few hours and a demand made.

Reporters in Palestine do not have only Palestinian militant groups to worry about, as the Israeli Defence Force continues to have troubles aiming their rockets. While recording an Israeli raid, Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana and local website journalist Sabbah Hmaida were hit by the IDF depsite clear media vehicle markings. This, of course, is a quick reminder of the trigger-happy IDF in Lebanon against the Un Peacekeepers. Some of my own countrymen went a little trigger-happy as well and have killed an Afghani police officer and wounding six others in a “friendly-fire” skirmish. Four days ago Canadians also killed two youths, one of them 10 years old, on a motorcycle.

In other middle east news, Israel extended a form of a peace offering to non-militant Muslim such as Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt for help in the United Nations Lebanon peacekeeping force. The former commander of the peacekeepers in Lebanon questions the effectiveness of the campaign realizing that the UN force will not have the capabilities to militarily deter Hezbollah. However, the former commander, General Jean Salvan from France, does not take into consideration the political ramifications for either side to break the ceasefire amongst United Nations forces. The Hezbollah, I personally believe, are not the average “Holy Jihad Brigades” in the sense that they play politics, whether it is through violence or not.

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