Friday, April 27, 2007

Missing BBC reporter

Alan Johnston banner

For the last three years, Alan has been the only foreign journalist from a major media organisation based in Gaza. At times, he spends months in the territory without leaving it.

In the last year, the atmosphere has been incredibly tense as the inter-factional violence raged between Hamas and Fatah. Gun battles would erupt out of nowhere and the noise could keep you awake all night.

There has also been a spate of kidnappings targeting foreigners - although all have been released unharmed. Alan often spoke to his colleagues about his fears of being abducted. He knew the risks and took precautions. There are only a handful of foreigners - mostly aid workers - still living in the territory.

Life revolves around office and apartment - it is simply too unsafe to go out at night. Social life is minimal. But day after day, month after month, year after year, Alan has persisted in living in Gaza to cover Palestinian issues. He feels they are too important to go unreported. And he will be furious now that he's become the story instead of the one writing it.

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