October 10, 2005

Remembering the Forgotten American Hostages: Jeffrey Ake

Jeffrey Ake was in Iraq to help the people of that country secure a safe water supply when, on April 11th of this year, he was taken hostage. Days later a video emerged of Ake. Jeffrey Ake has not been heard from since.

Former hostage Terry Anderson later recounted that realizing that the world was indifferent to the fate of Western hostages was nearly as bad as the torment administered on them daily.

We will not forget the fate of the hostages still held in Iraq. We urge you to keep them in your prayers.

Here is a little about Jeffrey Ake from the Indy Star:

The lack of attention on Jeffrey Ake baffles people here.

On April 11, when Ake was seized by gunmen outside Baghdad, the well-known and longtime LaPorte resident was national news. He was in Iraq doing business as the country rebuilds, helping to build a water bottling plant...

The townsfolk sprang to action the way people do in such a crisis: They tied ribbons around trees in their yards, they spelled out "Pray for Jeff Ake" on the signs at their businesses, they expressed fear and hope to the media that swarmed them, and they organized a candlelight vigil.
And then, suddenly, Ake was not news. The candlelight vigil was canceled. Ake's neighbors suddenly went silent.

Today, with the six-month anniversary of his disappearance coming Tuesday, Ake's whereabouts remain unknown. The equally nagging question beyond what happened to him is why folks in LaPorte are mum about it.
As it turns out, they're just trying to help.

"His wife asked us to have no comment, so that's what we're doing," said Mel Turner, who lives next door to the Ake family.

Liliana Ake asked everyone to keep quiet because the FBI, the agency investigating Ake's disappearance, recommended it.

Of course, the FBI's recommendation is inappropriate in Ake's case. If Ake is to be freed, it will not be because a ransom will be paid. So, why should it matter what his hostage takers ask?

Ake's only hope is that Coalition forces are tipped to his whereabouts and is freed, as Roy Hallums recently was. After six-months it should be clear that silence is not a winning strategy. Keeping Jeffrey Ake's name in the forefront of the news so that forces on the ground will keep an eye out for him, and so that local Iraqis know who they are looking for.

In the meantime, we pray for his speedy release.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:16 AM | Comments |