Tuesday, April 05, 2011

We Know Her Name and Cannot Turn Away From Her Plight

"You might be wondering, with all that is happening in Libya, why are we focusing on this one woman? Some people have tweeted that question to me and I understand the question. The truth is we're going to report on the fighting in Libya tonight and we'll talk to our correspondents and we'll cover the Japan nuclear crisis as well but we're focusing tonight on Eman al-Obeidy because unlike so many others who have died or been hurt in Libya we know her name. She has risked her life to tell her story. Terrible things happen in war, terrible things happen and people disappear. Their names are never even known. They die on the side of the road or in a prison cell, their struggles, their stories never told. Their families don't know what happened to them. But we know what Eman al-Obeidy said happened to her. We can't prove it, but there is no doubt that her life is now in danger. We know Eman al-Obeidy's name. If reporters had no listened to her, had no continued to ask questions to Gadhafi's henchmen about her she might still be under arrest, locked away. She might even be dead. We know her name and cannot turn away from her plight." ~Anderson Cooper


Eman al-Obeidy interview re-aired with subtitles, no translator:


Eman al-Obeidy talks with her mother:


ALL EYES ON EMAN, High profile may prevent reprisal:
David Kirkpatrick and Nic Robertson

NATO UNDER SCRUTINY, Is coalition doing enough to help Libyan opposition?
Jill Dougherty, Ben Wedeman and by phone Mark Kimmitt, U.S. Army(Ret.)

N.Y.TIMES WARNS OF NEW THREATS IN JAPAN, Engineers concerned about nuclear plant:
Kyung Lah and Michael Friedlander

Isha Sesay


In the second hour of AC360 last night Anderson did an interview with HNL's latest star Dr. Drew Pinsky. Take a look:


On Saturday afternoon Anderson attended the matinee of 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying'. You'll remember that he pre-recorded the narration for the production. Here are a few photos of AC with the cast.

AC360 Podcast

AC360 Transcript

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ACAnderFan said...

Good for Anderson for giving Eman al-Obeidy a chance to talk to her mother. I think his intentions are good, but I think he needs to let this story rest and let her have some privacy.

TEPCO offering the token payments to towns is ridiculous. $12 per person? Why even bother if you're going to offer such a low amount? There needs to be some kind of punishment for TEPCO for they way they are handling everything.

Anderson's interview with Dr.Drew was good. I love that he accuses of Dr.Drew of stealing his look...LOL!

Nice pics of Anderson at the Broadway show.

Parker said...

I couldn’t be more shocked at what I’ve been reading over the last couple of week since the commencement of this Libyan Uprising, and Monday’s comments by Sarah, Judy and Anon 10.15 am just threw me over the edge!!

There is nothing “romantic” about the actual Uprisings and Middle East Revolutions nor is there anything “romantic” about reporting stories that pertain to these revolts. Trust me, I’ve been there, there is absolutely nothing romantic about watching people lose their life to those monsters who call themselves human beings, who savagely beat and rape women for speaking out, or take the life of another human being who simply wants to live a life in peace, freedom, equality and social justice.

Don’t for one moment think that Anderson isn’t “seeing the bigger picture”. Since the age of 19 he has been an eye-witness to History too many times during these kind revolts and uprisings to ever romanticize a story like this.

Exposing the threat and danger of who may or may not step up to take over this from current dictatorship or any other during these revolts would be speculation on everyone’s part, unless we know with absolute certainty, and there is actual credible intelligence of this on the ground. There are threats brewing all across the globe at any given time, sometimes holding back on exposing these threats in the media can achieve more gains as there are being dismantled, then they could by being dissected by the media.

Tonight, Anderson addressed the criticism and questions as to “the why” – why he and his team continue to give voice to Eman Al-Obeidy. Eman is one voice among thousands in the Arab world who holds truth to power. She was brave enough to stand up, raise her voice and let the world know what they are doing to her. Tonight and each night by continuing to talk about her story, Anderson and his team gives her plight and the plight of many, many more like her a fighting chance to live.

When you’ve come across atrocious inhumane acts and atrocities committed to young women, men and children, never once does it ever occur to you to “romanticize” a victim’s story. I’ve come across and met women in other revolts and civil wars who were tortured and raped over and over again with glass bottles while the family and children were forced to watch. I’ve come across young boys as young as 9 or 10 years old forced to become child-soldiers in a civil war they barely understood, every single day, when I think back to all these people I have met along the way, their plight and fight for freedom, their voices silenced in these battles, my heart breaks for them over and over again, and my soul weeps for each and every single one of them.

Anderson Cooper himself may label himself many things, but to suggest that “lately he is missing the actual story and falling into some romantic movie type of reporting”, - for just one moment put yourself in Eman’s shoes, take a moment to walk through her darkest days not know if she is to live or die today, walk in the shoes of her mother Aisha Ahmad who is trying to console her daughter from hundreds of miles away, trying to give her hope, strength and courage, and then if you can, have the courage to walk in the footsteps of her father who struggles with the fact there is nothing he can do to bring his daughter home, except pray for her fate, but of God’s sake, DO NOT trivialized this young woman’s story by saying it’s being “romanticized” by a man who has seen these kinds of atrocities since he was 19 years old, or the strength and courage it takes for Eman to continue to speak out or asked to be heard.

Bless your heart Anderson, for giving Eman Al-Obeidy's plight a fighting chance.

Today we know of Eman Al-Obeidy’s plight, today we were able to hear her plea to the world, we may not be as fortunate tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Parker. i agree totally. One woman is important.

judy said...

@Parker: While I respect your views and your well written accounts of your travels, who ever said "we accused AC of romanticizing this woman's story?"
All I suggested was perhaps this was not the actual woman, because AC said at the beginning of the segment that "total verification was impossible at this time." It was HIS disclaimer.
I respect other people's opinions and you should do the same and stop interpreting what you "think" they said as opposed to what they actually said.
And it is about time AC stopped "sensationalizing," which is a much better analogy than "romantizing," certain aspects of the news for, oh my, RATINGS!!
Yes, now there's a word that might really throw some of us off the edge, to think that realistically, he may, just be doing this.
Domestically, there are other things going on other than what is happening other than the plight of this "tragic rape victim."
We all sympathize, but a potential shut down of the government could throw hundreds of city employees out of work during a recession, the likes of which we have not seen since the Great Depression, and that was merely relayed in the bulletin!
Now that just about threw ME "over the edge."

Anonymous said...

Parker-You're the reason there's a Tea Party.
You are such a bleeding heart liberal that it is absolutely sickening.
What about all the women in this country who are raped every day!
There's no justification for that either and the caption "alleged victim" as though they lied, is always written under their name, if it is given at all.
Where is your outrage at that?
Instead of pontificating, it would be really nice if some of your sympathetic nature applied equally to all women, even in this country.
Otherwise your outrage is bogus.

Anonymous said...

"On Saturday afternoon Anderson attended the matinee of 'How to Succeed on Broadway Without Even Trying'."

The name of the play is "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying".

T said...

Thanks Parker. I guess I just shook my head, reading those comments, but I felt irritated a long time after. It made me think of AC's book. The story of the little girl gangraped when she was three years old or the woman raped by soldiers in front of her kids still boggles the mind. Hearing those stories and watching the eyes of the victims, I doubt any journalist could remain naive about the world.

People in Libya are met with violence, rape and torture by their own regimes and Eman Al-Obeidy is for now their only voice. To suggest for one moment that AC should let Eman have her privacy is ludicrous. The rapists stole her sense of security, her feeling of being human. All she had left was her privacy, and she could have kept it, had she chosen to keep quiet about the torture, but then she would have protected the culprits too.

As AC said, she only has her voice left and I commend her for speaking out. How can some people not see this? The rapists tried to silence her, tried to humiliate her by believing she would feel too embarrassed to go public and by accusing them, she is reclaiming her honor. They did something to be ashamed of, not her. She traded her privacy for the painful spotlight on CNN and by doing so, she perhaps helped countless women all over the world.

Anonymous said...

Completely agree, Parker. I thought AC did a good job of explaining their decision to focus on her. I also appreciated that we heard her voice istead of a translator last night. She is representative of many people in that region (and others) who typically have no voice.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Parker you sound like someone from CNN. What you don't understand is that we are allowed to voice our opinions just as you are. It would be better if people realized not everyone has the same thoughts we are not clones of one another or walk in lock step as in a dictatorship.

Phebe said...

@anonymous 8:28, thank you, correction made.

I thought the interview with Eman, sans translator, was powerful and important and I am grateful for Anderson's commitment to give those normally without voices a chance to speak to the world.
My greatest hope is that Eman will be able to get out of Libya and receive help to begin her healing process and the privacy she needs to deal with her horrific ordeal. May she please not be further exploited by the media.

Anonymous said...

@Parker- Since I used the word "romantic", I would like to explain (I may have not explained myself well enough, otherwise I wouldn't be so misunderstood). There is nothing romantic about Eman Al-Obeidy's story. It is horrible beyond words, and no less horrible is the fact that there are probably more women with similar stories who we don't even hear about. I am aware of the use of rape as a form of humiliation , especially in the Middle East and Africa, and of the double punishment these women often suffer, when after surviving an horrific trauma they also have to face the shame and disgrace from their own family. It is reassuring to hear that Eman's family supports her (at least her mother).
When I used the term "romantic" I referred only to the concept of uprising or revolution. I don't think AC is not able to understand the complexity of the situation (I think we can assume that people who read ATA all share great respect and even admiration to AC, as a journalist and human being). I do, however feel that he has been listening too much to Fouad Ajami, who has been saying things like "Egypt has spoiled us...". Egypt has not spoiled us, we just left the story when it started getting ugly. Muslim and Christians are no longer protecting each other prayers, the reforms are not moving so fast and the two leading candidates for the upcoming elections both expressed certain dislike towards the peace agreement with Israel. As to what I said about Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda being involved in Libya, these are not speculation, it was even mentioned on CNN as a quote from the US army. I'm not suggesting the struggle of the Libyan people isn't justified, I'm just pointing out that some other groups are sticking their heads into it, not with the best intentions. Iran, who is the parent country of Hezbollah, isn't suddenly concerned with human rights. Iran is also involved in Bahrain, supporting the rebels there.
What I'm trying to say is that Eman Al-Obeidy's story is important, and must be heard. I personally didn't need AC to explain why he chose to air the interview, I got the importance the first time; but AC360 is not the Oprah show but a news program, and we are not getting a 360 view.
On top of that, as someone who is out there looking for a job (unsuccessfully), I just don't get how the economic situation barely gets mentioned on the bulletin.
I'm sorry of my comment threw you over the edge, but lucky us, we live in that part of the world where people are entitled to their own opinion. Sarah

Broadway Bound Bunny said...

@Judy I agree all of talk radio had done nothing but discuss the potential shutdown of the government, but 360 has said nothing about it except as a "footnote". It seems the world take precedence over our country more and more on CNN. I have stopped watching 360 almost totally since they don't seem to care anymore. What is going to happen once AC's new show starts, you can't do everything and produce quality programming.

K (T) said...

@ Sarah
I just copied and pasted your comment from yesterday:

I'm actually bothered with something else; I feel that AC is captured by the romantic idea of the uprisings in the Middle East, in a way that prevents him somehow from looking at the bigger picture, or the other aspects of the story. I miss the AC who was able to expose Hezbollah, when all other foreign correspondents fell for their PR tricks.

To me personally, it's a question of a dictator using extreme force against his people. I know these people are made up by all sorts, from ordinary citizens to terrorists groups, but until the regime is toppled I don't see the point of dissecting the opposition. It will only confuse the viewer and AC probably knows this.

What this woman describes is horrible, and I believe her when she says that she and her friends are just every day civilians, moderate, peaceful people looking for freedom and basic human rights. The sad fact is that extreme groups are exploiting the situation for their benefit. It was already confirmed by the US forces (I guess from the CIA on the ground) that there are Al Qaeda and Hezbollah people in Libya now. Remember when Egypt was the news and it was all they talked about in 360? well, the heroic days of Tahrir square are over, and it seems that the Egyptian revolution is taking a turn towards the direction many people were afraid of (extremists are rising, there's seems to be less religious tolerance and the peace with Israel is in danger), but we don't hear about it. I understand That AC approach to news is to explore the human side, the face behind the big story, but I feel that lately he is missing the actual story and falling into some romantic movie type of reporting.

This I don't get. What exactly is the actual story to you? Before Gadaffi falls, we don't know who is going to take over, so who is AC going to focus on? Eman is the story. Her plight, her ordeal and ultimately her life. When the interest in her story falls, her life will be in danger. Which political group is behind what bomb or attack against the regime might be interesting later, but not now.

I think we can assume that people who read ATA all share great respect and even admiration to AC, as a journalist and human being). I do, however feel that he has been listening too much to Fouad Ajami, who has been saying things like "Egypt has spoiled us...

This is the comment where you lost me. I respect AC's ability to think for himself and I doubt he listens too much to anyone since that ultimately would mean that someone makes his mind up for him. It's more puzzling to me why anyone with that opinion would follow a journalist who doesn't think for himself? (No offense intended.)

Wonz said...

@Parker Thank you so much for sharing what I have been thinking. While I have not had the experiences you (or Anderson) have had, I've traveled enough and have years of experience in dealing with international students, scholars and faculty, etc. to know that what you speak is the truth.

Man's inhumanity to man never ceases to amaze me -- and whether we like it or not we need to hear these stories. I truly believe that if CNN had not stayed on this story and given Eman al-Obeidy a voice, there is a good chance she would be dead by now and I cringe to think how many more women share her fate.

I believe that she chose to speak to Anderson to get her story out - because of CNN/AC360's international reach. Other news outlets in the US and most of CNN's domestic line-up -- do not have the power to reach people around the world, the way AC360 does. God bless her for sharing her story and God bless Anderson for giving her a voice. (Unlike others, I don't feel the media is exploiting her for ratings.) She is choosing to speak out because she wants her story told. She realizes that she can give voice to an entire group being abused in Libya right now.

To those who are complaining about the lack of coverage of other news on AC360 right now, I say watch other CNN program (TSR, JK-USA, In the Arena) that cover the domestic and political news daily. Since Anderson's program - AC360 is carried by CNNi - I think the programming choice given the historic uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, is the right one for the times. A one hour program cannot be all things to all people - that's why I get my news from multiple outlets.

As far as women in this country are raped, that is sad, too. However, we have a criminal justice system which, while may not be perfect, does offer recourse. This option simply doesn't exist for Eman al-Obeidy and so many others like her -- so I don't believe you can compare the two.

While everyone has a right to their opinion, I don't believe man's inhumanity to man knows a political party. I would like to think that we are all willing to look outside ourselves and our own individual issues of the day, to express concern and compassion for our fellow citizens of the world. And if we have an opportunity to effect some change, then we should take that opportunity.

Anderson Cooper/ AC360 talking about the economic situation in the U.S. is probably not going to help an individual get a job. Apparently the Republican's and Tea Party Group have no answers for that either. I've heard no concrete ideas from them. All they seem to want to do is cut taxes on the rich and shrink government. Apparently this will create millions of jobs? I think that's been tried before and the results weren't exactly as promised.

I do believe that Anderson Cooper and AC360 can give voice to those fighting for their lives in the current uprisings and calling out government atrocities can help effect change.

Thank you Anderson for giving voice to Eman al-Obeidy and thank you Team 360 for all your hard work.

Anonymous said...

@judy - if you think the main result of the FEDERAL government shutdown is that hundreds of CITY workers will be tempoorarily out of work, than perhaps AC does need to cover this just to clear that up.

I, personally, prefer it when AC360 uses its time to go in depth into a few important stories rather than try to cover everything. I've been very impressed with their show recently.

Anonymous said...

Some really passionate views here. This is more interesting than listening to talk about the government shutting down, which is politics as usual in Washington. Both sides suck.

judy said...

I totally agree with Broadway Bunny (love the name), and Sarah.
Well articulated and direct.
We need to hear from more people who dare not agree with everything 360 does and our opinions matter just as much as those who would rather not be bothered with "the negative."
I also agree with Phebe's analysis about having "the media exploit," this woman's situation. Which, in fact, is exactly what 360 is doing.
While it is important to get her story out, it has been out, and we get it and she's been heard...for the last 3 days! This will not stop rape, and it is an atrocity, but it is also a culture that we are speaking about.
@2:02 PM: Yes, the AP is now reporting that 800 million dollars will be lost if there is a gov't shut down...nice. And this shouldn't be ignored by 360 or doesn't THIS country's fiscal crisis matter?