L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

25 July 2008 Blog Home : July 2008 : Permalink

And this is bad thing? Why?

The wonderful caring would be liberators of Columbia - the FARC - are still narked by the way their dastardly enemy the Columbian government suckered them into hnding over a dozen of their most important hostages earlier this month. And they showed their irritation by brazenly kidnapping 10 undortunates on a boat a couple of weeks ago. As the BBC reports though they have now released eight of them. This is all very nice because it lets the media get back to their usual pro-FARCiness by quoting one of the hostages:

One of eight captives released on Thursday, Ana Lucia Chaverra, said her view of the rebels had changed.

"I used to have a different impression about the guerrillas, but now that's changed because they treated us with dignity," she said.

Precious isn't it. They treated me with dignity. Of course the 2 remaining hostages (and their families/friends/employers etc.) may beg to differ since they are likely to remain until a substantial ransom has been paid. The article also points out that:

It was the first major operation involving the Red Cross in Colombia since the organisation criticised the government for allowing the use of its emblem to help trick the rebels into handing over Ms Betancourt and the other high-profile hostages.

The BBC's Jeremy McDermott in Bogota says the latest release suggests the Farc has not lost faith in the humanitarian organisation.

"The operation was made possible through discreet dialogue between the parties concerned," said Yves Heller, an ICRC spokesman in Colombia.

So the Red Cross are happy that they can still maintain 'discreet dialogue' with a would be liberation force that has turned to drugs, kidnapping and other banditry instead of the more traditional forms of combat. That's even more precious. One wonders whether the ICRC also maintains 'discreet dialogue' with the mexican drug cartels? It seems likely that it does so with the Afghan ones since they are sure to call themselves Taleban.

However the ICRC was not the only organization which had it's logo borrowed by the Columbian government, Venezuela's TeleSUR did too and it isn't happy. Indeed journalists as a whole are a bit peeved for much the same reason as the ICRC:

Two people who helped rescue 15 hostages from Colombian rebels posed as journalists from a real Venezuela-based television news organization, Colombia's defense minister said Wednesday.

Two of the nine rescuers assumed the roles of journalist and cameraman from the news organization TeleSUR during the daring rescue[...] TeleSUR's general director of information, Armando Jimenez, said the company was preparing a response.

Jean-Francois Julliard, deputy director of the press advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders, said authorities can endanger journalists when they pose as members of the news media.

"We think it is a dangerous practice because it puts in danger real journalists," he said.

The next time a reporter approaches FARC rebels, he said, the FARC members "will be very suspicious and maybe they will take some physical measures against these journalists because they will think that they are not real journalists."

This is all supposed to be a bad thing. I don't see why. It seems to me that the world mught be a significantly better place if journalists were unwilling to cozy up to terrorists. Ditto with the ICRC. Terrorists, especially ones who finance themselves through crime, should not be treated as if they are a nation.

The good news about the media continuing to whine though is that there is a greater chance that more people will get to wonder just why they are so upset and decide not to trust them anymore. And certainly be highly resistant to treating them with respect.