February 16, 2005

Italian Hostage Video Released (UPDATE)

GiulianaSgrenahostagevid.jpgA new video has surfaced of Giuliana Sgrena. In the video she claims the only way her life will be saved is if the occupation of Iraq ends.

Sgrena pleas are heard in both Italian and French. The video also superimposes the Arabic words "Mujahadin Without Borders" on the video.

The Associated Press translates her pleas:

You must end the occupation, it's the only way we can get out of this situation...

I ask the Italian government, the Italian people struggling against the occupation, I ask my husband, 'Please, help me You must do all you can to end the occupation. I'm counting on you, you can help me'...

Show all the pictures I have taken of the Iraqis, of the children hit by the cluster bombs, of the women. I beg you. Help me, help me to demand the withdrawal of the troops, help me spare my life.

These people don't want foreigners here, nobody should come to Iraq at this time. Not even journalists. Nobody.

Thousands of people are in prison, children, the elderly, women are raped, people die because they have nothing to eat, no electricity, no water.

What is interesting about the plea is that Giuliana Sgrena was already trying to end the occupation before she was kidnapped. Further, the Mujahadin Without Borders group is previously unknown and is a different organization than the Islamic Jihad Organization that initially claimed her abduction. Moreover, her claim that the jihadis do not want foreigners in the country is simply empirically false. What the jihadis do not want is non-dhimmi infidels in the country. Foreigners who wish to fight the 'Zionist-Crusader Forces' are always welcome.

While Sgrena seems to be visibly shaken in the video, the fact that she believes exactly what the terrorists believe, namely that the US is an evil aggressor, makes it somewhat difficult to swallow that she would actually be killed. Unlike other hostages, Sgrena was in Iraq for the sole purpose of producing anti-American propaganda.

Still, the video does seem to be authentic. Our initial reaction that this possibly could be a hoax seems less plausible now. Even so, it seems unlikely that she will be killed. In any event, anti-American activist with an agenda or not, we pray for her safe return.

However, we would also remind readers that several Americans are still being held hostage in Iraq. They are: Roy Hallums, Dean Sadek, Tim Bell, and Bill Bradley.

Update: Confederate Yankee chimes in with this:

A vigorous anti-war protestor, Sgrena's video was shown just hours before Italy's Senate started voting on extending the nation's 3,000-member military mission in Iraq until June.
He also points out this MSNBC story and notes that Sgrena seems to be directing the video:
At one point, her eyes watering as she struggled to recite her message, she waved the camera to stop.
If the intent of the video was to influence today's vote in Italy, it failed. BBC:
The Italian Senate voted by 141 to 112 to extend the country's 3,000-strong military presence in Iraq until June.

(Photo: Reuters. Sources: Agencies)

Bloggers react: Digger on the fact that 3 organizations have now taken credit--Most of these organizations don't seem to want to take credit for taking Mrs. Sgrena hostage and that may be because she was an outspoken anti-war advocate against the Iraq war.

Likwidshu at Say Anything--The people who kidnapped her don’t care that she’s against this war. They care about the propaganda aspect of her saying what they want her to say. She’s what is called a “useful idiot”.

Chad at ITB thinks the video strengthens the case of this being a hoax.

Others: Command Post

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:43 PM | Comments |