Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Comment: Douglas Wood - I'll save my tears for the real victims

On May 1st, the Shura Council of the Mujahedeen of Iraq, released a video of kidnapped Australian Douglas Wood. The World Socialist Web Site had this to say about the latest in the long list of "contractors" cashing in on the nightmare situation the US created for it's own agenda.

"One cannot fail to be moved by Wood’s plight." Well I can. To be blunt, I will save my tears, prayers and sympathy for others more deserving. The same as I did when British hostage Ken Bigley, was kidnapped.

I am not too impressed either by Bigley's rent-a-mouth brother Paul, jumping on the bandwagon pushing his own agenda.

The artificially created outpouring of grief by the British people, especially in Bigley's home town of Liverpool, would have been laughable had it not been so sickening.

Like Bigley, Wood knew full well the dangers, he knew there was a risk. But he decided to go for one reason - money. It was his choice, not mine or any other of the Australian taxpayers who are now paying for hostage teams and assorted Dept of Foreign Affairs staff, trying to arrange his release.

He took a low key approach to security and openly frequented the sort of areas most westerners avoid. His choice.

His family paid for TV ads appealing for his release, a luxury that can not be afforded by the families of hundreds of Iraqi kidnap victims, who do not benefit from the same high profile publicity given to foreigners.

And please, spare me the, "he only wanted to help" bulldust. I stopped believing in touchy feely fairy tales a long time ago.

When he was kidnapped, it was because he thought he was going to a meeting that would prove even more lucrative - to him - not the Iraqi people whose land has been invaded by the people he was working for, the US military.

The World Socialist Web Site also had this to say,

"If Wood is executed then the responsibility will rest squarely with the Howard government..."

Just a couple of things. Wood has lived in the US since 1992. He employed 200 people at two building sites in Iraq. One job was the renovation of a public building inside Baghdad's Green Zone. The other, a military camp in Fallujah. None of the above is the responsibility of the Howard government.

It is the responsibility and choice of a man who wanted to make a fast buck, and now expects the sort of sympathy the choiceless people of Iraq rarely receive.

Yes, I do think it is a terrible thing to happen. But he didn't have to take the risk. He could have left at any time. The people of Iraq don't have such luxuries.

The buck stops with him, along with the ones in his wallet.