As the abduction of the BBC’s journalist, Alan Johnston, enters its fifth week, the Finnish media has been relatively silent about the nature of his abduction as well as the group responsible.
“On Sunday, one of the most senior clerics in the Anglican church, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, demanded he be set free immediately. Alan Johnston was last seen in Gaza on 12 March and is believed kidnapped, but no group has claimed to be holding him.”
“While there were no confirmed details of the kidnappers’ identities, the principal rumor across the Gaza Strip today was that it was the work of the Dogmush clan, an extended family notorious for its many criminal elements. Dogmush family members were involved in last summer’s kidnapping of two reporters from Fox News, an American news channel. “I would like to say something positive,” Khaled Abu Hillel, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry, said. “All these criminal incidents of kidnapping are not political but related to private agendas.”
Al Avai adds: One of the great untold stories here relating to the Gaza is the role of criminal gangs there. Especially that of the Dogmush clan, of whom even the PA and Hamas is in fear. The clan appears to have been responsible for the kidnapping of Alan Johnston of the BBC, despite his consistently pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel reportage, truth be told, the Palestinians love him (another example here). Dogmush has been reported on in the British press over the last several months, but not directly here so far as I know. Perhaps it is time?
Israelitybites: “Apparently the notorious Dogmush clan, the Gazan mercenaries who are believed to be holding Alan for ransom and/or prisoner exchange, has had little contact with the Palestinian government. They may have been subcontracted by other political or criminal factions for the kidnapping. Allegiances are constantly shifting in this brutal strip which is increasingly compared to Somalia. That’s why local journalists call for a boycott of coverage for the ineffectual Palestinian leadership and why the BBC and British government are working low-key, behind the scenes, for some sort of resolution.”
The situation inside the Palestinian Authority –especially in Gaza– is one of lawlessness and anarchy, which is something that the Palestinians themselves own, lock, stock and barrel. The ineffectual Palestinian government –regardless of who runs it– has abdicated what little sense of rule that remained, to criminal elements, whose goals mirror both that of the Hamas and Fatah terror groups. Everyone is looking out for their own best interests at the expense of the greater population. It’s getting them nowhere. Nothing new there.
I hope that the BBC journalist is freed and that those responsible for the kidnapping will be brought to justice, but while the former is a possibility, the latter is not. Also worth mentioning is the incredible amount of intimidation the media faces in reporting from Palestinian areas, these abductions –as well as unreported threats of physical violence– usually go unchallenged by the international media.
Most news offices choose to refrain from reporting on it all, not wishing to further anger the unstable elements inside the Palestinian Authority, whether they be the Dogmush, Hamas or Fatah. Placating the Palestinians keeps the media in good stead with powers that be, who control their access to all the major players and events that take place within their domain. This is why there is such an imbalance to the reporting.
One noticeable example, is the media’s stumbling onto the well known problem of Palestinian corruption during the rule of Yasser Arafat, which went mostly unnoticed by the media while he was alive. Only after Arafat’s demise did Palestinian corruption come under wider scrutiny, and then only to be used in bolstering the image of the seemingly “incorruptible” Hamas.
The role of the international media in covering the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel has been partisan, with little or no interest in reporting the true facts as they are, and there needs to be a change. *L* KGS
Update: 19.04.07 Tundra Tabloid reader Peter42y comments:
“Look at what an anonymous palestinian does say about jonhston :
As a Palestinian living in Scotland, watching what is happening to one of the most respected Scottish journalists, this fills me with disgust, and anxiety. As I have come to know the Scottish people so well, they are one of the most empathetic people in the world, especially towards the Palestinian suffering. How could Alan Johnston be treated like this? When all he did was report the TRUTH about the Palestinian people’s suffering, when most of the international community has turned its back on the Palestinian people.7:58 PM
You see ? Jonhston was a perfect example of independent and fair journalism.One of the sides involved in the conflict LOVED him.Thats independence , BBC style.”
Thanks Peter42y, this is a classic example of the problem with activist journalists who use their pen and notebook and position in order to correct –what is in their mind– injustices. It didn’t keep the murdering thugs from training their guns on him in spite of his open advocacy for the Palestinians.