Thirty white balloons were released in Paris Tuesday to mark the number of days (it's been 32 days, but the sentiment is what counts) that American journalist Jill Carroll has spent in captivity in Iraq.
With French actress Juliette Binoche and former French hostage Florence Aubenas attending, Reporters Without Borders held a demonstration in the Trocadero esplanade overlooking the Seine River. A banner supported by helium-filled balloons read, "Free Jill Carroll."
"The impressive show of solidarity that was maintained for Ms. Aubenas all the time she was a hostage should now be repeated for Ms. Carroll, and for Iraqi journalists Reem Zeid and Marwan Khazaal, of whom there has been no news since they were kidnapped on Feb. 1," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard.
"Thirty-seven journalists have been kidnapped since the start of the war in Iraq in March 2003, five of them losing their lives," Mr. Ménard stressed.
The Monitor's chief European correspondent, Peter Ford, also attended and thanked the organizers on behalf of the paper. "Jill's mother, Mary Beth, her father, Jim, and her sister, Katie, join with all of us at the Monitor and with journalism colleagues around the world in calling for Jill's captors to return her unharmed to her family."
Peter says that when French journalists were held hostage in Iraq, similar demonstrations caught the attention of their kidnappers. "They told them that events were being held on their behalf, and the kidnap victims found it heartening."
Carroll was kidnapped by gunmen on Jan. 7 in the Baghdad neighborhood of Adel, where she had gone to meet a Sunni politician, Adnan al-Dulaimi. Her interpreter, Allan Enwiyah, was killed near the scene of the abduction.