How does a reporter become more aware of the realities of the Islamic world, Islamism and Islamists organizations? Let him be kidnapped.
This seems to be transformative moment New York Times reporter David Rohde who reported from the region for 7 years. The following segment appeared in an article in yesterday's New York Times. You can read the complete article by clicking here: Held by the Taliban.
"During our time as hostages, I tried to reason with our captors. I told them we were journalists who had come to hear the Taliban's side of the story. I told them that I had recently married and that Tahir and Asad had nine young children between them. I wept, hoping it would create sympathy,and begged them to release us. All of my efforts proved pointless. Over those months, I came to a simple realization. After seven years of reporting in the region, I did not fully understand how extreme many of the Taliban had become. Before the kidnapping, I viewed the organization as a form of "Al Qaeda lite," a religiously motivated movement primarily focused on controlling Afghanistan. Living side by side with the Haqqanis' followers, I learned that the goal of the hard-line Taliban was far more ambitious. Contact with foreign militants in the tribal areas appeared to have deeply affected many young Taliban fighters. They wanted to create a fundamentalist Islamic emirate with Al Qaeda that spanned the Muslim world."
If only we could get some of the State Department officials to be transformed by this method.
On a similar note:
Reporters around the world have rediscovered the word "terrorists", normally missing from reports in Israel. The word emerged in reports about the explosion in Iran.
Obama, Iranian Thugs, and the NY Times: By Tom Gross, National Review Online
"It is amazing. It took many, many days for the administration of Nobel peace-prize laureate Barack Obama to condemn the brutalization of pro-democracy demonstrators in Iran last June (and even then it did so only in the most tepid way), but by contrast it took just a couple of hours for the Obama administration to condemn the attacks on the brutalizers yesterday."