Arabeyes: The Release of Alan Johnston

The release of kidnapped British journalist Alan Johnston is making waves on blogs today. Here's a quick review of what is being said on blogs in the Middle East.

Alan Johnston vigil
Vigil in Brussels to mark the fifth week of BBC reporter Alan Johnston's kidnapping in Gaza. Photo by quarsan.

From Qatar, Abdurahman writes:

I was ecstatic this morning when I heard the news that Alan Johnston was finally released. For four long months, he was held by a group calling themselves “The Army of Islam”, actually a violent family called the Dogmush. During his ordeal he was once rumored to have been killed and later shown in video recording wearing an explosive belt.

When Hamas took control of Gaza they made it clear that the release of Alan Johnston is at the top of their agenda, and they've delivered.

Bahraini blogger Mahmood Al Yousif dedicates a blooming water lily to the freed journalist here.

“This is the first ever water lily in my care. It has just opened this morning! I am really happy with it and love its colour.
I am so glad that Alan Johnston has been released in Gaza after 140 days in captivity.
This lily is dedicated to him and all journalists who put their life on the line to keep us informed,” writes Mahmood.

Ibn Al Dunya from Egypt is happy too and pays tribute to Johnston's professionalism here.

“I´m truly happy about Alan´s release, he´s one of the best reporters ever to have reported from the region, and he was the only western journalist to live there permanently at this point in time, to kidnap him was to rob the Gazans from getting the true story out on how bad the situation really is there in the most eloquent way possible. He´s reporting really has substantial impact.
More than 200 000 people have signed the petition to release him, and i thank everyone who has helped in whatever way during these almost four months. This is a big day for Alan, his family and the BBC,” notes Ibn Al Dunya.

Still in Egypt, Zeinobia writes:

I am so so happy that the reporter Alan Johnston is free at last , this is good cheerful news , I am so happy for him and for his family
Of course the man looks terrible , I mean it has been more than 100 day.
Bravo Hamas , Hamas again is trying to prove that it is not terrorist barbaric group as some want to make appear like , really it is enough to see the reception of Johnston with Ismail Hania or even to read how he was set free
Bravo to both Johnston and Hamas and Shame on this group that claims to be Islamic , this is not from the manners of Islam to kidnap a civilian unarmed man who came to our countries to cover the truth and terrify him like that


Desert Peace
gives us an update on Johnston's ordeal in this post.

Rabbi Yohanna, at Jewlicious, however, has a few questions to ask:

And what about Gilad Shalit who is being held by HAMAS in the Gaza strip? The duplicitous Haniyeh posing with the former captive just hours after his release is utterly atrocious. Placing on him a flag and kisses is disgusting. Does Hamas have no shame? Apparently not.
And what about Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev being held by Hezbollah and Iran in Lebanon?
And to paraphrase Dennis Leary, Where’s the BBC now? Where are all the rallies for those unjustly kidnapped? Where are the behind the scene negotiations for the Jews release? Where’s the BBC now? I’ll tell you where they are. They are covering Jihad in their own backyard.

From Lebanon, Sophia has a different take on the story.

“Alan Johnston, the BBC correspondant held by a radical Djihadist group, is freed today by the efforts of Hamas, two weeks only since Hamas took control of the Gaza strip.
Israeli collaborators from Fatah are bitter and angry. There may be some Logic beyond Politics, according to The Guardian account of Johnston's liberation. Israel and Fatah, encouraged by the international community, planted chaos and anarchy in Gaza in order to undermine the image of the Hamas government. But the anarchy went to such lenght that Hamas did not have a choice but to get rid of collaborationnist elements in the Gaza strip.
Now that they control Gaza, Hamas can prove what they are capable of. Johnston's liberation is a good sign,” explains Sophia.

Putting aside Palestinian politics, Amal writes:

Alan Johnston is free. Hamas is taking credit for his release to show that they brought security and law and order to Gaza. More about this later. The important thing now is that he's safe and free.


Mustafa Hamido from Syria writes:

I can say happily that I am very happy for the British journalist Allan Johnston who has been abducted in Gaza and spent more than 100 days in abduction. He is free now and appearing smiling after his release this morning. I am happy for him because he is a human being who has feelings. He has also a family which surely was worried about him and he has friend who were waiting his appearance to calm down their worries. He is not the last one who is going to be abducted by armed forces all over the world. He is innocent. I know that very well, however, a lot of other journalists who are abducted are, in fact, mixing between intelligence and journalism. It is right that the barriers between those two carriers are a little bit unclear; however, journalist must put himself under strict conditions to don't let himself to be an agent for this or that. Unfortunately, most of who are abducted are agents for an intelligent agencies and this exactly what push us to don't take care about their abduction.


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