Abducted in Iraq: An update on reporter Jill Carroll

At this writing, there are no major new developments in the case of freelance journalist Jill Carroll, who was abducted Jan. 7 while on assignment for the Monitor in Baghdad.

Monitor editor Richard Bergenheim issued the following statement Saturday:

"We continue to pursue every possible avenue in Baghdad to locate Jill and secure her release as soon as possible. This has been a difficult week for Jill's family and for us. Jill's deep love for Iraq and the Iraqi people has come out in the published statements by a number of her Iraqi friends and fellow reporters. She is committed to helping the world understand the great good to be found in Iraq and its people, despite the struggles it is going through now. We and all her friends hope that she will be released soon."

We will post any new information on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Reactions from her friends and colleagues paint a clear picture of Ms. Carroll's life as a Middle East correspondent and of her dedication to in-depth coverage of Iraq.

Carroll's reporting has been highly regarded since her college days, when she wrote for the student paper at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

After college, Carroll worked as a reporting assistant for The Wall Street Journal until August 2002. She then moved to Jordan and reported for the Jordan Times before pursuing a freelance career.

"All I ever wanted to be was a foreign correspondent," Carroll wrote in an American Journalism Review piece describing the lives of freelancers in Iraq.

Her friends in Bagdhad note that she is motivated not just by her professionalism, but also by a love of Iraq, a country that she has come to call "home."

"She always felt that she belongs to this country," writes blogger Baghdad Treasure, a reporter in Iraq and a friend of Carroll. "Once, I had hamburger for lunch. 'What is this?' she said sarcastically. 'You leave all this delicious Iraqi food and eat a hamburger?'"

At times, Carroll would become overwhelmed by the suffering she witnessed. "She loved this country and its people," says the author of the "24 Steps to Liberty" blog in Baghdad and another Iraqi friend of Carroll's.

The Jordan Times ran an editorial on Sunday headlined "Our Jill." Some excerpts:

"Jill Carroll worked at The Jordan Times for one year - long enough for anyone who would come across her to be convinced beyond any doubt of her genuine interest in the Middle East, her sincere admiration for Arab culture and utmost respect for the Arab people."

"A few months after the US invasion, she left Jordan for Iraq, prompted by the desire to show to as vast an audience as possible the human tragedies caused by the war and the hardships of the Iraqi people."

"The kidnappers who abducted her could not have chosen a more wrong target."

"Jill has always wanted to know and experience as much as possible about Arab identity, and she is keen on absorbing it, learning, understanding and respecting it."

"An open-minded, sharp, intelligent, dedicated and highly appreciated professional, Jill makes one of the best ambassadors Arabs could ever hope for."

As Carroll was abducted, her interpreter, Allan Enwiyah, was murdered. The Monitor is assisting his family.

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