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Monday, May 25, 2009

A five minute window for Amanda

According to AFP, They obtained a five minute phone call to Amanda and Nigel.
What was said from Amanda to the AFP
" I have been sick for months. Unless my government, the people of Canada, all my family and friends can get one million dollars, I will die here, OK that is certain," Lindhout said, sounding very distressed.

Freelance journalist Amanda Lindhout and photographer Nigel Brennan spoke to an AFP correspondent in Mogadishu by phone for five minutes on Sunday from an undisclosed location.

The call was obtained after weeks of efforts to establish contact with the hostages, who appeared to be reading or reciting a statement, possibly under duress. There was no independent confirmation of their identities.

"I have been sick for months. Unless my government, the people of Canada, all my family and friends can get one million dollars, I will die here, OK that is certain," Lindhout said, sounding very distressed.

She urged the Canadian government to give more help to her family's attempts to secure her release after 274 days in detention with Brennan. The pair were abducted while on a freelance assignment.

The call was made through an intermediary, who claimed to be speaking on behalf of the kidnappers.

A Somali journalist and two drivers who were captured with Lindhout and Brennan were released on January 16.

"The situation here is very dire and very serious. I've been a hostage for nine months, the conditions are very bad, I don't drink clean water, I am fed at most once a day," Lindhout said.

"I'm being kept . . . in a dark windowless room, completely alone," she added.

"I love my country and I want to return so I beg my government to come to my aid. Likewise, I ask all my fellow Canadian citizens and my family to contribute in any way possible in order to help me finally be released from Somalia and be able to return home," said Lindhout.

Brennan also said that the nine months of detention had taken a heavy toll.
"I've been shackled for the last four months . . . My health is extremely poor and deteriorating rapidly due to extreme fever," he said.

"I implore that my government help me as a citizen of Australia (inaudible) . . . I ask for the help of my family in every way possible so that the ransom can be paid for my release," Brennan said.

"I love my country very much, I love my family, my girlfriend," he added.

When the AFP reporter asked Lindhout further details on her health situation, she said she was not able to take further questions.

"I cannot answer any question that you have. What I just said, that's all I can say," she said.

In Australia, a foreign ministry spokesman said: "We are doing all we can to help the families and media coverage will not help negotiations."

from The Calgary Herald


  1. Sorry Amanda. You went there and got in over your head. You can't help those kind of people.

    I don't think that Canadians will support paying a ransom to forgein criminals especially in light that you knew what you were doing was stupid.

  2. I have to agree with the above person. You elected to go to a country like Somalia, knowing what the situation is there. You knew of the dangers, surely?

    A fine pickle you've got yourself into!

  3. Empathy would seem to be a rare commodity for some. We all knew them in school, those kids who seemed to have a mission, a vision of who and what they wanted to be. I don't know this woman but I bet she was one of them. It will be complicated, but the efforts to have Amanda released are worth it. She will go on to make all our lives a little bit better - but she must be free to do it.

    Being judgmental is so easy behind a computer screen, try to imagine and ask yourself what you would want others to do for you.

  4. To the above two posters, would you be singing the same tune if it was your loved one? The Canadian government wastes more money on inquiries with no teeth than the demands of this ransom. Why is it OK for an ex Prime Minister to have his multi-million dollar legal bill paid without a peep from the taxpayer, but it's not OK for our government to stand up for an everyday citizen. Seems to be a double-standard to me. She is a reporter, she wasn't breaking the laws of a foreign country.
    I suppose you two believe in embedded reporting too and all the impartiality that it brings.
    Godspeed Amanda.

  5. Amanda Lindhout must be helped! People who care enough to do something about the madness scattered around the world are a precious national resource. I urge the Canadian government to respond.

  6. NO ONE DESERVES WHAT THEY ARE GOING THROUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!PLEASE FREE THEM!!!!!!!!!

  7. We need more people like Amanda who are willing to risk their lives for those who can't be heard and are forgotten. I am sure she knew that what she was doing was a big risk, but hopefully the final outcome will be worth it and people will take notice.

  8. Wow, the first two commenters, so heartless... =\

    It's really sad this woman has not been freed yet. Our government should make getting her out of there a priority! She & her family are in my prayers.

  9. Please tell me how I can donate to help free this Canadian woman. I've read a lot of the comments, but the bottom line for me is she needs to come home. I'm willing to help. If 200,000 people donated $5 each, it would meet the demand. Most of us spend that much on coffee in two days. Do we have to leave the decision to our government?

  10. I am somali canadian and would like to offer Amanda Lindhout family my deepsty appology on behalf of all somalian wherever they live. We all wish the safe return of Amanda Lindhout and her co-worker who is also held captive.

  11. While I am sorry for Amanda and more so to her family, I can't help but think, not only as someone from the region(EA), but as someone who spent much time in Somalia itself, that she deserved what she has got. It will(should) make her a stronger and more insightful person. I had forgotten about this until a friend emailed me the link saying "this is what would happen to you, but the kenyan government definitely would'nt help!"

    Bottom line: I don't think that foreign journalists should travel to Somalia at all. There are many talented Somali journalists who have far greater access than any western journalist could and write with a far more sincere perspective- you must at least have grown up with Somalis to understand their politics- Amanda, most likely a neo-liberal hippy, would certainly not. Watch the video on YouTube supposedly showing Amanda's great character- she looks pretty for the authorities and says "Wassup...Peace out dudes" to some Pakistani men. Was she going to film "Chillin' in the Danger Zone' or what!

    Besides, what good could she do? Encourage western governments to intervene? They did that already and have done that all over Africa. Food aid? Medical aid? These are forms of slavery. Somalia would be in peace under the rule of the Islamic Courts had the West not intervened(2006) in fear of a new Islamic state. UN peacekeepers merely prolong conflicts. While we Africans have benefited in some ways from the modern world, it is not as if nothing has been taken from us to build that very world. Amanda Lindhout you should be returned to your home country and you should find a real job that will help your kinsmen- why not work in the solar energy industry? You have no expertise or skills that are needed here.I hope you make it back to Canada.

  12. You should get people to donate $5-20-

    use something like the chipin widget(donations can go to a purpose-made paypal account or a private account)
    I would donate $5. If you get canadian journalists to push the cause, you only need 0.6% of Canada's population, and given you have a lot of other countries that could potentially donate, its pretty good in terms of odds, as far as these things go- im sure most canadians are tuned in to the story.

    The money will go towards encouraging people who kidnap foreigners to continue doing so, but we can't let this girl slide, she's just too pretty!? Im sure Amanda would be very pleased at that result- her do-gooder mission to SO turned into a 'finance crime' mission.