The abduction of American freelance journalist Jill Carroll and the murder of her translator, Allan Enwiya, has finally been given some attention in the American press:
BAGHDAD, Jan. 17 — The captors of an American journalist kidnapped in Baghdad 10 days ago threatened to kill her in three days unless authorities freed all female prisoners in Iraq, according to an Arabic television network that aired a brief video of the woman Tuesday night.
Jill Carroll, a freelance reporter based in Baghdad, was shown speaking, but there was no sound with the video shown by al-Jazeera. Her skin was pale and her dark hair was pulled back from her face and straying in untidy strands. She appeared to be exhausted, but her face remained composed as she spoke.
The clip was the first sight of Carroll, 28, since she was abducted by gunmen in Baghdad as she left the office of Sunni Arab politician Adnan Dulaimi on Jan. 7. Her Iraqi interpreter, Allan Enwiyah, was shot and killed.
ABC’s Good Morning America devoted a good chunk of their prime 7:00am CST news slot to Ms. Carroll.
This story has been something of a cause célèbre in the Iraqi blogosphere for ten days now and has drawn the attention of bloggers across the political spectrum there. Riverbend, who is presumed to be the daughter of an elite Ba’athist family, has written about Allan Enwiya, who had owned a well-known music store in Baghdad.
24 Steps to Liberty and Treasure of Baghdad, both journalists who considered Ms. Carroll their friend, have posted on little else for the last ten days. Both are quite distraught. 24 Steps to Liberty writes:
I couldn’t sleep last night. Every time my eyes close, I jump in my bed thinking “what is happening to her now?” All night long, I was this way.
One of the closest and best American friends of mine was kidnapped yesterday. I am not going to discuss any details, but I want to say some words about her, hoping that the kidnappers read this blog or someone tells them about it and help her.
She is working in Iraq for three years now. She is a freelancer. And because she has no newspaper to belong to, I always tried to convince her to leave the country. It is very dangerous for foreigners to travel in one soft car in this country now. She wouldn’t listen to me. “I am not afraid. I write about people and they read what I write. They wouldn’t hurt me,” she always replied when I asked her to leave.
Treasure of Baghdad has similar thoughts:
Jill, I miss you and I am prying for you day and night. I can’t sleep every night. I just think of you and your bravery. I really miss you, Jill. I wish I can call you as I used to before you were kidnapped. I hanged your picture on the cabinet near my desk. Do you remember it? It is the one that is full of the Arabic newspapers that you used to read when you come to see us. These papers miss you, miss your delicate hands, miss you experience in reading the Arabic language, miss the intelligent brain that analyze what is written in them.
The plants in the office are sad. They are pale and almost dead. Come and see them. They will re-live when you come back. Please come back. even the dishes in the kitchen miss you. Um M, W, and Um H feel they cannot make food because you are not there to tell them that it is “Kullish Tayyib”[very delicious]. I miss you and I wish I am kidnapped instead of you.
Fayrouz of Iraqi in America, the dean of ex-patriate Iraqi bloggers in the United States, has organized a fund drive to benefit Mr. Enwiya’s widow. His murder left behind a wife and very young children. I’m sure your help would be appreciated.
Why hasn’t the media in the United States been been flogging this story with the attention they’ve paid to so many non-stories over the last two weeks? To the extent that there is a journalistic profession (I actually believe that journalism is not a profession but a craft or a trade) you would think they’d be rallying to Ms. Carroll’s cause as one of their own. But they’ve been very, very slow to respond. I offer no explanation.
There hasn’t been much attention in the American blogosphere, either. Most of what commentary there has been has served mainly to beat political opponents about the head and shoulders. One exception to this has been Joe Gandelman of The Moderate Voice who posted on the subject yesterday.
UPDATE: Fox News has taken Jill Carroll’s story and run with it. They’ve devoted a substantial part of their noon EST/11:00am CST programming to it.