BBC’s Alan Johnston responds July 7, 2007Posted by elizabethwong in Human Rights, International, Note2Self.
BBC correspondent Alan Johnston has been released after four months in captivity in Gaza. Over 200,000 people signed the BBC online petition calling for his release. And the Have Your Say website received over 17,000 messages of support.
Here, Alan reflects on the world-wide campaign for his release.
I have spent some time resting in the two days since I was freed, and I have only just switched on my computer.
These are the first words that I have written since I was captured four months ago, and I wanted to dedicate them to all those many tens-of-thousands of people who signed the online petition in support of my release.
To each and every one of you, I want to say that I am so grateful.
During my incarceration I had one very important lucky break. After about a month I got hold of a radio that gave me the BBC World Service.
I was staggered to hear that by that stage about forty-thousand people had put their names to the petition.
I’m sure every kidnap victim fears that they will be forgotten – left to rot while the world moves on. And the idea that so many people from all around the globe were voicing their support for me was – as you can imagine – a huge psychological boost.
And as I lay there listening to the radio as the weeks and months passed the petition just grew and grew. Often messages from it were read out to me on programmes like World Have Your Say, or Newshour.
I can’t tell you how moving it was to have people who didn’t know me in countries and cities that I’d never visited taking the time to wish me the best, and urge me to hang in there.
Sometimes I would memorise a sentence or two and repeat them over and over as I paced up and down the room.
I was in the psychological battle of my life, and all those who signed the petition made it that little bit easier.
Thank you, so much.