Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Everybody righty has their own idea of who might qualify for this award, but the unifying trait among the nominees and the past winners is a profound moral confusion. It is possible to be left-wing and smart and righteous. The leading candidates for LGF's award are self-righteous and morally confused, often to the point of defending in others what they purport to abhor in their enemies.
In any case, yesterday's news brought a late, very dark-horse candidate for LGF's award. Like a movie released in late December to compete for that year's Academy Awards, may I present freed German hostage Susanne Osthoff:
Ostoff was captured by insurgents in Iraq's Sunni triangle, and held hostage for 24 days before her release this week. On her release, Ostoff revealed a case of Stockholm Syndrome that makes Patty Hearst look, er, unwilling:
A former German hostage who spent 24 days in the hands of unknown captors in Iraq said her kidnappers were not criminals and had demanded humanitarian aid for Sunni Arab regions.
Speaking to Doha-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera, Susanne Osthoff said her captors told her not to be afraid as her kidnapping was "politically motivated."
"Do not be afraid. We do not harm women or children and you are a Muslim," she quoted them as saying.
"I was so happy to know that I had not fallen into the hands of criminals," she said.
So, Osthoff does not believe that it is a crime to take women and children hostage, even if they are Muslim, if the motivation is "political." That point of view hasn't been common among Germans for at least sixty years, and I certainly hope that it is not enjoying a renaissance now.
But wait, there's more. Her kidnappers did not want "money":
Osthoff, a Muslim convert and fluent Arabic speaker, said her captors demanded German humanitarian aid for Iraq's Sunni Arabs and stated clearly that they did not want a ransom.
"They said we don't want money... Maybe we want from Germany ... hospitals and schools in the Sunni triangle (area northwest of Baghdad), and they would like to get money in the form of humanitarian aid," she said.
She described her captors as "poor people" and that she "cannot blame them for kidnapping her, as they cannot enter (Baghdad's heavily fortified) Green Zone to kidnap Americans."
It is, after all, completely understandable that being unable to kidnap Americans, it could not possibly be criminal to kidnap a heretofore (and I use that word advisedly) innocent German in their stead.
In transporting their propaganda, Ostoff is aiding and abetting insurgents who by their own admission would happily capture or kill innocent people (so long as they are non-Muslim male Americans, apparently). She is promoting their propaganda, which is designed to undermine support for the lawful government of Iraq. Finally, there is no glimmer of recognition in her public statements that the Sunni insurgency is the principle reason why it is has been so difficult to deliver the very humanitarian aid that she claims her captors demanded.
Meanwhile, her family in Germany is diving for cover:
Relatives in Germany have said Osthoff, a fluent Arabic speaker who was once married to a Jordanian national, has been out of touch with them for years.
There is another interesting tidbit in the Ostoff story. We do not know why her captors suddenly released her:
But she repeated more than once that she "was sold", without making clear what she meant, while expressing her shock at Berlin's failure to contact her captors.
"I could not believe that the Germans had not made any contact," with her kidnappers she said, describing her feelings during captivity.
Given Germany's track record of paying ransom to, and therefore arming, Muslim radicals, one can imagine Ostoff's disblief. One might also wonder how she came to be under the impression that she was "sold" out of captivity.
Now that was cruel.
Actually, Charlottesvillain gets the lion's share of the Google hits, what with his erudite posts on topics such as booze, food, music and sports (he being the blog's "style" correspondant). His post on the single-wing formation probably gets more random Google hits than anything else on this blog -- probably four or five a day, at least.
I am vastly entertained. And yes, I am cruel, but I am also laughing very hard.
Charlottesvillian is incredibly GQ, it is true. I adore this line:
I almost swerved off the road on the way to work today after hearing on the radio that Western Albemarle High was dominant last season playing the single wing offense.
Between you, Charlottesvillian, and Cardinalpark, I think I'm in heaven. The three of you are so funny. I can't think why you put up with my blather. I feel like Gracie Allen.