Olive Branch Optimism
what a wonderful world...
Friday, January 13, 2006
Jill // 24steps

24 Steps To Liberty posts about his American friend who was kidnapped one week ago at http://twentyfourstepstoliberty.blogspot.com/

This is a very sad occurance, this woman who loves Iraqi's though is not one herself, a freelancer who does not work for a pro-occupation paper has been kidnapped. I pray that she (Jill) may be safe and return safely to her friends arms. Please my friends say a prayer for her aswell, and do what you may to get the media to reach out for her...

here is the posts, more as it arrives:

My Friend Is In Trouble!

Note: I have published this entry the day after she got in trouble and had to delete it for some security reasons. but now i know i should republish it with no editing.

Jan. 8, 2006
I couldn’t sleep last night. Every time my eyes close, I jump in my bed thinking “what is happening to her now?” All night long, I was this way.

One of the closest and best American friends of mine was kidnapped yesterday. I am not going to discuss any details, but I want to say some words about her, hoping that the kidnappers read this blog or someone tells them about it and help her.

She is working in Iraq for three years now. She is a freelancer. And because she has no newspaper to belong to, I always tried to convince her to leave the country. It is very dangerous for foreigners to travel in one soft car in this country now. She wouldn’t listen to me. “I am not afraid. I write about people and they read what I write. They wouldn’t hurt me,” she always replied when I asked her to leave.

She left several times to vacation outside Iraq and in emails she told me “It is homesick. That is how I feel now. People here are not like Iraqis, are not full of love, are not nice. I cant wait to come back and see you guys.” And when she arrives, she says “Hi guys. I am back home.”

She loved this country and its people. She sympathized with its sufferings and committed to tell the truth. When I talked to her about how the Iraqis live, she always cried. She cried for the sufferings of Iraq more than Iraqis. She has the nicest heart in this world. When I blamed Iraqis for what is happening in the country, she said “don’t blames the Iraqis. You should blame the governments for what they do.”

I remember once we were chatting and I asked her, “so where is home for you?” And without hesitation or a moment to think, she said “This is home. Iraq. Why? What’s wrong with that?” and as the chat goes on, at some point she smiled and said “I know my fate is in Iraq.”

I don’t know what kind of a room she is in now. I don’t know what kind of people are keeping her and how they treat her. All what I know is that she doesn’t deserve to be hurt. She deserves to be respected and her work and feelings to be appreciated.

Until she is released and comes back to her family and friends, please pray for her.

And as she liked to end every phone call with me, I say “Feeh.”


It’s been a week since my friends experienced a horrible accident. One was killed in the accident, and one was kidnapped. I couldn’t write anything about the Iraqi one, because I didn’t want to jeopardize his family’s safety. But now, as most of the news outlets gave his full name, I can say something about him.

I heard about Allan when I was in college a few years ago. He owned one of the most famous music shops in Baghdad. River Bend wrote about this, so I am not going to go into details. But I didn’t know him personally until he worked with Jill. Jill always told me that he is very cautious in his work and had to think twice before he does anything related to journalism. I always told her that we shouldn’t blame him for this because working for an American is not something easy to do.

Allan didn’t want to be a journalist. He was having fun working with Jill. I remember when she came once and told me that “Allan tells me that I don’t like him as much as I like you guys.” She was very serious. So I asked her why he said that. She said that because whenever she tells him about something she quotes me or Baghdad Treasure, or our friend N. So, we decided to invite her and Allan to our office two nights before the elections in Dec. And that was because he didn’t want to go to a certain neighborhood in the lection day to cover the story.

They came to our office. We sat in the backyard. We smoked Nargeela (Hooka with Tobacco of course!) We talked about how Jill tells him stories from our office and he gets angry (in a funny way) and he told us how much she likes us and that whenever she wants to ask a question about security, she would contact one of the “guys.” It was a great night. We hardly convinced him that he shouldn’t be afraid to go to that neighborhood to cover the elections, because it wasn’t more dangerous that other neighborhood in Baghdad.

Before that, she told me about their trip to Najaf. They both drove to Najaf to write some stories about the daily life of Iraqis. “he thought he is a tourist,” she told me after they came back to Baghdad. She told me stories about how he spent most of his time in Najaf buying souvenirs from the bazaar to take back to his family and friends.

He was full of life. The best he could do is to reject. Whatever I said, he said “No. you can do it the other way.” When he came that night to our office, he brought with him his own tobacco because “yours is not good quality. You know nothing about Nargeela,” he said repeatedly and loud to make Jill hear it. We laughed a lot.

We have no information about Jill yet. I hope she is doing ok. I hope the kidnappers heard about her from TV or read in the newspapers how a great person she is and how much she loves Iraq and how much she wants to stay in Iraq to help its people get thorough this difficult time.

And as she likes to end every phone call with me, I say “Feeh.”
Blogger attawie said...
So sorry for Jill..
Iknew Allan when I was in Baghdad.

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