Jill makes a statement

Jill leaves RamsteinI was glad that Jill made a statement yesterday saying that the video that circulated on the internet after her release was made under threat. I was appalled, shocked and disgusted by those rushing in to attack Jill after her release. How insensitive, short-sighted and just plain dumb! When you have a gun pointed to your head, when you are under threat in some fashion, you say anything to secure your release. For those attacking my dear, wonderful friend … please leave her alone and give her some time to recuperate from the trauma she has undergone. Celebrate her freedom instead of attacking her fragility. How insensitive!

Here are some excerpts from her statement published in full on CSM:

Jill calls home from IraqI’m so happy to be free and am looking forward to spending a lot of time with my family. I want to express my deep appreciation to all the people who worked so long and hard for my release. I am humbled by the sympathy and support expressed by so many people during my kidnapping.

… During my last night of captivity, my captors forced me to participate in a propaganda video. They told me I would be released if I cooperated. I was living in a threatening environment, under their control, and I wanted to go home alive. So I agreed.

Things that I was forced to say while captive are now being taken by some as an accurate reflection of my personal views. They are not. The people who kidnapped me and murdered Alan Enwiya are criminals, at best. They robbed Alan of his life and devastated his family. They put me, my family and my friends — all those around the world — who have prayed so fervently for my release — through a horrific experience. I was, and remain, deeply angry with the people who did this.

I also gave a TV interview to the Iraqi Islamic Party shortly after my release. The party had promised me the interview would never be broadcast or aired on television, and they broke their word. At any rate, fearing retribution from my captors, I did not speak freely. Out of fear I said I wasn’t threatened. In fact, I was threatened many times.

Also, at least two false statements about me have been widely aired: One, that I refused to travel and cooperate with the U.S. military and two, that I refused to discuss my captivity with U.S. officials. Again, neither statement is true.

I want to be judged as a journalist, not as a hostage. I remain as committed as ever to fairness and accuracy — to discovering the truth — and so I will not engage in polemics. But let me be clear: I abhor all who kidnap and murder civilians, and my captors are clearly guilty of both crimes.


  1. Lisa April 2, 2006 at 2:17 pm

    i think whoever who views this whole saga from a local perspective is pretty narrow-minded. I’m a Malaysian-Chinese who grew up in a Christian family, Muslim society. People should start thinking that we are citizens of the world. Without courageous journalists like Jill and Kevin Sites and many others who lost their lives, you and I won’t even have the slightest idea of what’s happening in the world.
    Let’s stop thinking about the governments and start to think what we can do to make a difference to those who are in need of our help.
    America is one of the freest countries in the world. Do something with this freedom. Many countries don’t even have the freedom of speech.
    I’m actually living few blocks away from the CSMonitor HQ in Boston and would like to meet Jill even if for a brief moment. Whatever it is, I salute her courage and respect her decisions.
    All the best, and hope that our paths will meet someday.

  2. jareer April 2, 2006 at 2:21 pm

    Natasha, are you still in Seattle, looks sunny today, or maybe just now. How do you like it?

  3. The Sandmonkey April 2, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    I am glad she made that statement too. Made me feel reliefed. To be fair though, Natasha, she had 2 videos out, and one after her release and they both dislayed the same sentiment. People saw what’s on TV, and it was her, saying those things. So..yeah. I am not excusing the venemous shit that got spouted or the disgusting comments that were made by some, but I defintley understand people who went a huge “WTF?” when they saw those videos on TV. Hell, I was one of them. I definetly had a WTF moment after seeing those videos. This makes me even gladder that she detracted those statments, u know?
    Glad she is ok anyway!

  4. Charlie Hart April 2, 2006 at 3:53 pm

    I stumbled across this site while looking for some info on Jill. What I found here is a bit of a treasure trove of info with a special perspective.
    Natasha, consider your self bookmarked 😉

  5. David April 2, 2006 at 4:48 pm

    Natasha, I am so sorry and would apologize to Jill personally if I could. I feel like a total heel, but I hope I can explain how good people could react this way.
    For many of us who have no relatives or friends involved in the Iraqi conflict, Jill’s reporting helped us gain perspective. During her ordeal, she became the human face of this terrible conflict. Like others I know, I prayed for her constantly and took a personal interest in the plight of Jill and other hostages which I had not before. Though we do not know Jill personally, she became a very real part of our lives.
    When the interview and then the videos came out, I felt betrayed somehow. I should not have felt this way, but I did. I have a sister, and though we are adults, she still kids and teases me in jest. On rare occassions, she kids me too strongly and even though I know she doesn’t mean it, it still hurts a little. Even though Jill clearly didn’t mean what she said and was under extreme duress, the words were so strong that they hurt.
    I got over it very quickly, and even before Jill made her statement I realized I was out of line and felt very bad. None of it was meant, she just had to survive! I’m sure many people across the country had the same initial reaction as I did and feel just as bad, particulary after her hearfelt thanks to the people of America for their prayers and support.
    Sometimes people do not react in a rational manner to emotional situations, particulary when the message is being manipulated a bit by certain media. Nevertheless, that does not excuse such a reaction, and I apologize.
    I hope those who read this can understand.

  6. Skye April 2, 2006 at 5:09 pm

    I guess what I don’t understand is why some people didn’t initially get why Jill said what she did. It was pretty obvious that her life was still in danger when she made that video.
    I was amazed at some of the nasty things that people were saying about her on message boards and blogs when she was released after seeing that video without first waiting to see how the story played out.

  7. David April 2, 2006 at 6:00 pm

    You are absolutely right, Skye, which is why I chilled first before saying anything or reacting. The “shock value” of the tapes and interview was just so strong and some media was manipulating the message. Remember, people are not always rational creatures.
    I can understand (though not condone) the initial reactions, but I don’t understand why any rational human being would actual buy into this beyond that. THAT, in my opinion, is totally inexcusable.

  8. dm April 2, 2006 at 10:52 pm

    Skye, I don’t understand either why some thought that Jill actually meant what she said in that final hostage video. It was a video taped by her kidnappers and that was made clear, which is why I was so irritated that people actually thought
    she could’ve meant all those things she said.
    As far as the interview that she did right after, I had a feeling that she wasn’t being completely truthful. I’m glad that I was right. I was watching it on television with a friend of mine and she turned to me and said, “Did she just say that they treated her WELL?? Is she for real?” I watched Jill speak for a few seconds before responding and then I turned to my friend and said, “No, she still feels threatened. That’s not her talking, that’s her fear. She’s not in U.S. custody yet and something’s not right.”
    I don’t know. It was just a feeling I had.
    I can understand why some would question–and I mean queston, not slam on the poor girl–the interview done after her release, but the initial video? I was shocked to hear that there are people who actually consider that to be real and conducted without threat.
    At any rate, Jill, thanks for not letting me eat my words. We here in the Boston area are proud and honored that your first step back onto U.S. soil was in this city. Welcome home girlfriend! 🙂

  9. Ellen Newby April 3, 2006 at 1:06 am

    I am glad also Jill is back home and is okay and I wish her well for the “rest of her life.” Some rightwing bloggers told me in private emails that that every white Western woman who is kidnapped by Muslims is gang raped and brainwashed by her kidnappers” relating this to the Carroll saga. I just find it sad that so many rightwingers would even believe such crap and spread it around the Internet. It just goes to show how deep their heads are in the gutter, and the person who emailed this has a PHD and is famous! O woe is us! O woe is the USA!

  10. Edward Robby April 3, 2006 at 1:11 am

    I neither prayed for Jill nor invoked any god for her release, but I am one happy dude that she is free and back on free soil. I didn’t pray because I don’t believe in any ancient god from the past, and these ancient gods from the past are exactly what is wrong with the entire Middle East and terrorism situation. People: stop praying, stop preying, and start using your brains. Most of you are still living in the Dark Ages and that is why Jill as kidnapped. The reason she was released is not because some god answered your prayers BUT because some cool heads behind the scenes worked this all out. Bravo for cool heads, bravo for humanitarian ideals. Not the question is this: will Jill go back to Iraq. I pray to God, and this time I do pray, that she will NOT go back there. But I fear, fear, that she will. Please someone stop her. Keep her safe in the USA. Give her a job teaching journalism at some nice college and keep her safe and sound. There will be a book she will write, huge advance, like one million dollars, and a movie, next, and she will be in demand on the lecture circuit for years. She deserves a good life, after all she has been through now. God bless you, Jill Carroll, even if there is no you know what up there watching over all of us!

  11. kinzi April 3, 2006 at 1:52 am

    Edward Robby, ok, ok, enough already. You are one evangelistic Atheist, putting a God-believing evangelical Christian to shame with your zeal. Maybe be if I come on as strong as you do I’ll win some converts? Yeesh. BUT, I do notice that when there is fear for Jill’s safety involved, you will ask God for help. Does show you have a tender heart. Cool heads and fervent hearts work together.
    Ellen Newby, thanks for the stereotype. It doesn’t fit me nor the right-wingers I know, and my head is not in the gutter. It is helping Iraqi women who HAVE been abducted and gang raped (Jordan happens to be full of Iraqis who have their girls in Uni to keep them from being abducted and raped, btw). Jill was too valuable a pawn to be treated that way.

  12. doxRaven April 3, 2006 at 6:31 am

    given I am a right winger, may I gloat for having made the following call (on SM’s blog) from the perspective of my gutter four days ago:
    If, at the time of making of this video, she was still being held by the kidnappers or their proxies, then these one sided statements are entirely consistent with her reacting under duress to: “hey, if you give use something here we may well release you”.
    welcome back Jill!

  13. Pamela Marcantel April 3, 2006 at 11:20 am

    Folks, here’s a mea culpa and rebuke to those in the blogosphere who preemptorily called for Jill Carroll’s condemnation before she had a chance to catch her breath:
    I’m ashamed to see that certain of my fellow conservatives initially felt compelled to condemn Ms. Carroll in the harshest and most scatalogical, adolescent terms they could find. Shame on them.
    I wish her a long life filled with creative purpose and great joy. She more than deserves whatever fame and prosperity come her way now, given that no success can adequately compensate for what she’s been through.
    Welcome home, Jill. You did well and can hold your head high.
    -Pamela Marcantel

  14. Prup (aka Jim Benton) April 4, 2006 at 7:55 pm

    I am not sure why so many people were shocked at the right-wing’s blasting of Jill. I remember at least one discussion — was it here, I don’t have the chance to check all your old posts — where a number of people were accusing her of setting the whole thing up. As usual, the right-wingers are ‘all for freedom’ for one of their own, but hardly for those who oppose them. (Not all of them, that’s so unfair a statement that a conservative could have made it. There have been valiant people on all sides of the spectrum who understand that freedom means freedom, period.)
    Mash — “Dr. Strangelove” — has a wonderful article on the outpouring of hate that was aimed at her:
    And, so you don’t get fooled into thinking that, for the real haters, her recantation meant anything, here’s a quote from April 2nd from Debbie Schlussel:

    ****UPDATE 03/31/06: More evidence that Jill Carroll is the tool and partner of extremists and terrorists. Read about her extremist Muslim buddies, here.
    ****UPDATE, 04/02/06: Jill Carroll’s recanting of the video doesn’t have a thing to do with anything I’ve cited, nor does it change facts. See my response to all the blind, deaf, and dumb Jill Carroll worshippers. Facts regarding Jill Carroll’s real views are stubborn things.

  15. skye April 4, 2006 at 9:52 pm

    Jim, I agree, the right wing has been guilty of blasting Jill. But to be fair I have also seen some on the left blasting her as well. Some on the left have also accused her of setting up the kidnapping either for a distraction to divert attention from all the other bad stuff happening in Iraq or because they actually believe she’s some sort of Christian fanatic.
    Anyone who is blaming her right now is nuts, no matter which side they are on politically.

  16. Aida Bainfield April 7, 2006 at 12:52 am

    A chap named Mayer Abrahams actually did know Jill. He originally posted comments section on another site: She comes across here as, well, judge for yourself…
    “I met Carroll in Cairo two summers ago in an Arabic language training school (Kalimaat).
    I admit I was struck by her anti-American and anti-Israel sentiments. From the comments she made she seemed to detest America more than Arabs did. She was pleased that I mistakenly identified her as Canadian and expressed a wish to deny being American. I was surprised knowing how proud Americans normally are of their identity. She refused to use the name Israel but called it ‘that state’ with some venom, which made me feel uncomfortable as she knew I was Jewish.
    What’s really funny, considering that she works for the CS Monitor, were the comments she made about the Bible “that shit book” . . . .
    Mayer later added more detail to prove he did attend Arabic school with Jill. Based on details he gave–many of which were not posted for security reasons (for Mayer’s safety)–he and his report are legit. Here’s what he had to say about Jill:
    “Since my ancestors are originally from Iraq, I have made an effort to study Arabic intensively and spend as much time as I can in the Arab world.
    I spent about five weeks in the summer of 2004 (August) in Cairo. I was staying in downtown Cairo in the Red Sun Hotel (Talaat Harb Street) and went daily for a morning course in Modern Standard Arabic to an Arabic language school called Kalimaat in nearby Mohandiseen (the college was just of Midan Mustafa Mahmoud), which was run by some chaps who used to run courses for the British Council in Cairo.
    The college was attended by students mostly from Europe and America. Most of them were of European descent though one or two had ancestors or family from the region. In my class there were two American girls.
    One American was a tall friendly blond girl, a Japanese teacher by profession called Jamiliah from New York (notwithstanding her name she was Caucasian and Christian). I got the impression that she was a missionary or a Christian activist as she was active in the Copt community. The other was our friend Jill.
    Jill had arrived, I gathered, fairly recently from Jordan having been in Baghdad just before the war started. She was a friendly, personable person. Her Arabic was not that good, though she was trying very hard to improve it. We generally sat next to each other and were, for some of the time, study partners.
    She was very anti-American. I was actually shocked by her attitude, having never come across an American with such opinions. She was against the war and did not see America as being a force for good in the world. I recall her upsetting a fellow American student by telling him that she felt Americans were hated by Arabs. He did not feel that was the case. She expressed satisfaction that I mistook her for Canadian saying she would prefer not being identified as American.
    She was more than anti-war. She felt that America was culturally imperialist. She viewed the international success of American culture as being a way for America to impose its values on the world. She expressed the sort of opinions which you would hear from [Noam] Chomsky. It would be fair to say that she would be classified as somebody from the far left. I can not recall all the details of what she said, but I remember her saying that at the end of the day America was just another empire which would come hopefully to an end.
    With regard to Israel, she despised the country with some venom, referring to the country as “that state.” She was practically foaming at the mouth. She knew I was Jewish, and I felt quite shocked and vulnerable at the way she expressed herself about the country. It did cross my mind that she may have been anti-Semitic, though I prefer not to label people.
    She was at her wits end with regard to Christian support in America for Israel and referred to the Bible as “that shit book” in regard to it being used as a reason for Israelis holding on to the land.
    As you can see, she is a girl of strong opinions and I am sure others will come forth to verify this.
    When she was kidnapped, I sent emails to the CS Monitor informing them of what I knew of her opinions. I felt that the information might aid them in presenting her as anti-war and hence save her life. Her opinions were so strongly expressed that I was in no doubt that the terrorists would free her. I can tell you honestly that the opinions she expressed in the video would strike me as being hers alone and I am not surprised that she was freed.”
    END OF STORY? No way. Stay tuned o ye of little faith [in that shit book]!

  17. Jeff April 7, 2006 at 1:20 am

    Aida what you’ve written here is complete and utter bullshit. Having known Jill from day one when she arrived in Amman, Jordan, I can tell you that you are simply repeating a lie over and over again until you can call it the truth. One quick falacy in this little diatribe: Jill was not in Baghdad before the war. Aida, you and your lies, your innuendos and conspiracy theories are not welcome here. Go tell it on the mountain. It’s sad you’re so deluded … you hear someone telling you what you want to hear and you refuse to question.

  18. Pax Americanna April 8, 2006 at 3:17 am

    i just want to know the truth from Jill herself someday. Do you think she will tell us? i hope so. Aida above might be a bit agressive and daffy, for sure, but she does raise important points of confusion. Btw, I heard this online:
    “Like that rich little high school kid from Florida who went to Baghdad to report on the scene, like those two evangelists from Texas who were captured and held in Kabul a few years ago, in my opinion, Jill Carroll made her own mess, and expenditures of effort to gain her release, diplomatic or military, were costly. She was not a journalist on assignment. She was a “freelancer,” which means she had no reason to be there. She was hoping to peddle her scribblings when she got back, or so she claims. If she was not employed as a reporter, then she was there merely as a thrill-seeker, or as some suggest, perhaps she fancied herself ….a do gooder. In any case, again in my opinion, she presented an impediment to the military effort (another ridiculous caprice which I adamantly oppose). Nonetheless, we are there, and every idiot who goes meddling in this puts our boys at further unnecessary risk. I say, Jill Carroll was out of line. What was she really doing there? She could have been a foreign correspondet in Africa, China, Japan, India, right Iraq?”
    Jeff, if you know, do tell. I think Aida has been banned from posting here, so much for democracy online!

  19. Skidoo August 22, 2006 at 3:08 pm

    @Jeff: You said, “I just want to know the truth from Jill herself someday. Do you think she will tell us? i hope so.”
    RTFA, dude.
    She already told us in no uncertain terms that she was coerced into making the last pre-release video, and that she felt threatened and that her life was still in danger when she gave that (presumably) first post-release interview.
    Nevertheless, I don’t see how her opinions of America and Israel are even relevant. Aid worker? Journalist? Spy? Who cares? The fact is, her friend and associate was murdered right in front of her, she was kidnapped by jihadists (of which some of whom have already been arrested), and then she was held for 82 days. And she lived to tell the tale.
    The girl’s got chops.


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