Call for probe into cam­era­man’s ab­duc­tion

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Farouk Araie

PAL­PA­BLE grief and anger were the hallmark of the news that cam­era­man Shi­raaz Mo­hamed was kid­napped in war-rav­aged Syria.

He sym­bol­ises dig­nity, in­tegrity, self­less­ness and com­mit­ment to the truth that con­sti­tutes the essence of journalism.

The cow­ardice and bru­tal­ity nec­es­sary to abduct or take an in­no­cent hu­man life should not be left un­pun­ished.

The fam­ily and friends of Mo­hamed can be con­tent in know­ing what a pro­found im­pact his unique brand of journalism life has on friends and strangers alike. It takes an ex­cep­tional spirit to leave an im­print on so many lives and to unite so many hearts, and Mo­hamed em­bod­ies that very doc­trine.

War journalism can be a haz­ardous pro­fes­sion.

Over 1 000 jour­nal­ists sac­ri­ficed their lives in the line of duty over the past decade. Mea­sur­ing dan­ger by mor­tal­ity is, how­ever, only one way, al­beit the most vis­i­ble, of as­sess­ing the toll war takes on re­porters, pho­tog­ra­phers and cam­era­man.

What can fol­low in dan­ger’s wake is of­ten more dif­fi­cult to dis­cern and quan­tify for it lies within the realm of the ab­stract.

Have we ever won­dered how the news trav­els from con­flict zones to news­pa­pers and browsers in min­utes? It is be­cause of jour­nal­ists who are will­ing to put their lives on the line in pur­suit of the truth. The news al­ways comes out safe, but, some­times, the jour­nal­ists do not.

Ev­ery drop of blood shed by them is giv­ing life to the news in­dus­try. They are bring­ing truth to the out­side world. They are heroes of the free press, the very right that lets you dis­re­gard their sac­ri­fice with­out con­se­quences. These men and women run into car­nage of their own free will; they pay with their lives so that peo­ple who could never ex­pe­ri­ence, never re­ally un­der­stand the ter­ror of war, would make an in­formed judge­ment on it.

Jour­nal­ists go into bat­tle­fields where not even a squad of sol­diers or con­voy of ve­hi­cles would dare en­ter.

They go to places the mil­i­tary would never en­ter with­out a heav­ily armed es­cort. Yet they are armed only with their cam­eras. They are heroes of their craft, tell­ers of a truth to which there’s pre­cious lit­tle ac­cess.

With­out pho­tog­ra­phers and jour­nal­ists like these, you would not see the “real” face of war.

Those who kid­napped Mo­hamed are guilty of vi­o­lat­ing in­ter­na­tional law.

We con­demn this heinous crime and call upon the Syr­ian regime to con­duct an ef­fec­tive and prompt in­ves­ti­ga­tion to iden­tify the cir­cum­stances of the crime, pros­e­cute the per­pe­tra­tor­sand pub­lish the in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­sults.

We pray for his safe re­turn. Jo­han­nes­burg

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