Wednesday, July 04, 2007

When the bad guys are the good guys...

It's incidents like this that make absolutists' heads explode.

The extremists (Hamas) got the extremer extremists (the Army of Islam) to free Alan Johnston:

The release of BBC reporter Alan Johnston on Wednesday drew rare praise from the British government for militant Islamist group Hamas, just hours after the veteran correspondent was freed from nearly four months in captivity in Gaza.
on Wednesday, Britain's new foreign secretary highlighted Hamas's role in securing the release of Johnston, who had marked his 45th birthday in captivity.

"The release of Alan is the product of very close work between the government, the BBC and the leadership in the region," David Miliband said Wednesday.
"I'd also like to recognize the priority that has been given to this issue by President Abbas and also by the leadership of Hamas, including Ismail Haniyeh."

During his press conference alongside Haniyeh, Johnston praised Hamas for winning his freedom.

"If it hadn't been for that real serious Hamas pressure, that commitment to tidying up Gaza's many, many security problems, then I might have been in that room for a lot longer," he told reporters.

For Hamas however, this "propaganda victory", as it's being called, along with pleas to Abbas "for reconciliation" are being met by deaf ears. Now that Abbas is fully and openly supported by the west (ie. his marching orders are clear), he's loathe to compromise on anything that might jeopardize that stature.

And just a side note aimed at those who don't believe in the power of protests:

Mr Johnston said he was aware of efforts to free him because he had constant access to the BBC World Service on the radio.

News of global demonstrations in his support was a source of comfort to him, he said.

Rallies worldwide had called for Mr Johnston's release. An online petition was signed by some 200,000 people.

He thanked colleagues, international media and ordinary people for organising "the most extraordinary international campaign" for his release.

"The thing you don't want is to be left behind, buried alive, and have the world go on around you," he said.

Your voice does matter. Make it heard.

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