Opinion » Columnists

Lunacy

Taking of French hostages against all reason
The taking of Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot as hostages in Iraq is an act of lunacy which does nothing whatsoever to further the notion that the captors have any political agenda at all and which loses them any grain of possible support that they might have had.

If the taking of hostages is about punishing the nationals representing countries which supported, or participated in, George Bush's murderous and illegal act of butchery in Iraq, then one would understand (although not necessarily agree with), the taking of US or British citizens and one would understand that a person who has voluntarily signed up for a lucrative contract in Iraq as a security guard, when Iraqis are getting paid a tiny fraction of what the western security guards receive, is making a choice.

But Chesnot and Malbrunot are not British. Chesnot and Malbrunot are not citizens of the United States of America. Neither are they security guards.

They are French and they are journalists. Paris joined Moscow, Berlin, Brasilia and Peking, among others, in forming an Axis of Reason against George Bush's Axis of Evil, Murder and War. Paris showed considerable diplomatic courage in standing up to the United States of America and reaffirming what it believed to be the path which was right to follow.

Paris has done more than many other states in trying to find a solution which is acceptable to the Palestinian cause. Yasser Arafat himself has stated this, in his plea for the kidnappers to free these two innocent men.

Journalists are caught in the middle of a fire-fight. They are not looking to be involved in the fighting, they are recording what happens for the rest of the world to see. There is nothing more innocent than that and there is no greater injustice than the holding of these two men, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, for something which neither they and certainly not
their country, are responsible for.

Individuals are pawns in a greater political game. The kidnappers have the power but if they have power they also have responsibilities and one of their chief responsibilities is to their cause. Freeing Chesnot and Malbrunot will be a clear sign of strength of spirit and a telling indication that these kidnappings are based on a strategy and not a mindless act of savagery, of the type which France did everything in its power to try to prevent.

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