Where unfortunately, time is of the utmost importance for Amanda Lindhout & Nigel Brennan.
A young friend of mine posted a message on his Facebook page that read: “I am wondering why our government is doing nothing at all to help a Canadian reporter who has been a prisoner in Somalia for 8 months now?” It got me thinking, he’s right, when is the last time you heard her name?
Later that day I was signing petitions over at care2.com, a weekly ritual of mine to try and do my part from my little corner of the world. It got me thinking of my friends post, and I wondered if there was a petition circulating on Amanda and/or Nigel’s behalf. I Googled their names along with the word ‘petition,’ and to my surprise, not only wasn’t there a petition, but there was little else as well. When I did find reports, I was dually surprised at the apathy shown Ms. Lindhout in commentary left by the average North American. Many criticized Lindhout for having the gumption to go into these countries of her own accord in the first place. It seemed to matter not that she was busy reporting to the rest of world on serious humanitarian issues, as was the case and reason for her Somali trip. Instead, people appeared more focused on reports of her being freelance, and seemed more intent on reprimanding her instead of helping her.
How could this be I thought to myself, according to the brief research I’d done, it was closing in on a year that Amanda & Nigel had been held captive. Why so little outrage at their predicament and so much apathy for Ms. Lindhout?
I did find some online news articles on Canadian freelance journalist, Amanda Lindhout, 27, and Australian freelance photojournalist, Nigel Brennan, 37. Most however were repetitive in nature. reporting that both were taken by Somali kidnappers along with three others on August 24th of 2008. Local Somali photojournalist and fixer, Abdifatah Mohamed Elmi, and two drivers were released on January 15th of 2009. I came across very little on Australian, Nigel Brennan, 37, but the apathy shown Ms. Lindhout was not expressed for Nigel Brennan, a freelance photojounalist.
Being a Canadian, I had thought to start a petition for Amanda, but quickly realised to not add Nigel Brennan, would be impossible.
So I wrote my first petition. Care2.com makes the process as easy as possible for a person or group. It’s getting the message out to large amounts of people that is no easy task. This is where the work in progress part of this blog comes into play. I opened a Twitter account on Amanda & Nigels’ behalf and now this blog; in hopes of spreading the word about their dire situation, putting a human face on them both so they not be forgotten on the back pages of newspapers, getting petition signatures, and just maybe, making a difference, however small.
I hope my fellow Canadians, and Nigel’s home country Australia will jump into the mix.
Update: August 15th, 2009.
It is hard to know for sure what the right thing to do, via the internet, is for Amanda & Nigel. As time allows I educate myself and have come to understand that theirs is not the typical kidnapping situation. Or should I say, Somolia, is a country, that at this point, many say isn’t really a country. It for sure isn’t one that many Somoli’s listen to.
So if I am understanding it correctly, in Amanda & Nigel’s case, perhaps less is more. Less publicity, less brandishing and attention given the Kidnappers the better. The less we expect help from a Somoli governement that is virtually non-exist, and more we address Somoli clans directly; the only groups these kidnapping thugs give a hoot about, the more influence we may have over them to release Amanda & Nigel. As well, we as a nation should independantly write our MP’s on their behalf.
To sign the care2 petition please click here