Readers ask, and Jill Carroll answers
After Jill Carroll was released, the Monitor invited readers to send in questions about her experience. Hundreds of people responded. Below are a selection of questions and excerpts from Jill's answers. A video-taped interview of her complete answers can be found here.Skip to next paragraph
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Cecil E. Perfoy, from Maui, Hawaii, asks: "When released from Iraq, you had stated that you had been well treated by your captors. After your trip to Germany and return to the US, you then indicated that you were not treated well. For a seasoned correspondent, which answer was truthful?"
Jill: Well, obviously, the latter. I wasn't well treated. But keep in mind, I wasn't doing this as a reporter. I was a hostage ... I had been attacked, essentially.
The reason why I said in the beginning that I was well treated ... those were the exact words I was told to say by the insurgents who captured me. They said if I ever said anything more, or anything different from that, essentially they would come kill me.... So, when I got out, I was still absolutely terrified.
People seem to think that when you're free, suddenly you're just back to who you were and that you're feeling safe and everything's great again. Not at all, this kind of thing just shakes your sense of security to the absolute core for a long, long time.... After a few days, in your mind, you start to get a little better sense of yourself. Also, being out of Iraq, and being in Germany and back in the US ... I began to feel a little safer about saying things, and not sticking to the script that I had been given by the captors to say. But I was afraid they would come get me again. I did whatever I had to do to keep that from happening.
Sean Smith, from Gettysburg, Pa., asks: "What do you think is the most important ... insight from this event?
Jill: The biggest insight was just into how these kinds of insurgents work, and who they really are. Before, to a lot of us [journalists], they were just sort of, like, shadows behind a curtain....
We didn't really know who they were, or why they were doing what they were doing, how they think about things, how they feel about things. Once we understand that, we can probably address the issues as to why they are doing it. That, I think is actually really valuable. For me, ... the biggest insight [was] into who they really are.
Sandy Simon, from Ann Arbor, Mich., asks: "Many people all over the world were deeply troubled by your kidnapping and thought of you daily, prayed for you, and took you into their hearts. It must be a bit dizzying to emerge from captivity and realize that you are now a member of so many diverse and unknown families, unknown to you. How do you handle this?"
Jill: It was definitely a shock.... I have been overwhelmed. There have been a lot of cards and packages and things sent to me from all over that are really thoughtful. I have a quilt that this group put together and each patch of the quilt was signed by a former POW or a former member of the armed forces from World War II and Vietnam.
And I feel pretty guilty because I feel like I don't deserve that. I didn't do anything great, and being kidnapped is not worthy of praise.... But I think people are responding to the ideals that The Christian Science Monitor puts out there and less to me personally. I think that they are responding more to those ideals of truth and honesty, and the pursuit of information and pursuit of intellectual research.