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So, You’ve Been Kidnapped By The Taliban.

Twice in recent history we’ve been faced with families who are in a difficult position – they have loved ones who were kidnapped or held by a foreign government while traveling in rather sketchy parts of the world.

In 2009, three American hikers were taken into custody by the government of Iran for accidentally entering that country while they were hiking. Now the headlines tell the tale of a couple who chose to travel through Afghanistan. To the surprise of virtually no one on the planet, this couple was captured by the Taliban and has been in their custody for about twenty months.

We Just Want Our Kids Back

Not the flag of Vacationland. (image, public domain)

I’m not insensitive to the plight of the families these wayward travelers left behind. They want their loved ones back. Who can blame them? . If my son were kidnapped while he was on a casual stroll through Afghanistan, I would be asking my government for help in getting him home just as the families of the 2009 hikers did and the Afghanistan traveling couple are now.

But you will never see me asking for help getting my son home from Afghanistan. Why? Because my son is no fool. And being a fool is at the heart of the mistake that these families make in requesting help.

When these cases come up, you hear the usual appeal – we just want our kids home. And that does have some appeal.

We can all empathize; the public can imagine itself in those parents’ shoes. But then the public starts wondering why our soldiers should go into harm’s way to rescue people who foolishly put themselves in peril.

If You Want Your Kids Back, Speak The Truth

I’ve considered the issue and have identified the one thing missing from these family’s appeals for help – honesty.

As a public service to any families who have the misfortune of having their children kidnapped while hiking in or near countries that hate people from the United States, I have prepared this sample statement to the press. The truth contained in this statement will swing public sentiment in their favor.

Good morning. I’m here to appeal for government help in getting my (son/daughter) back from Afghanistan. As you know (he/she) was there on an innocent hiking trip, as if there wasn’t any place better to hike, when (he/she) was taken by the Taliban.

Clearly, (his/her) presence in Afghanistan was both innocent and very stupid. (He/She) is not a spy or a combatant of any sort. I want to stress to you that, though I love my (son/daughter) very much, this whole fiasco is (his/her) own fault and (he/she) is responsible for the awful situation (he/she ) is in.

I’m just going to admit it – despite my best efforts, I raised sort of a dumb ass. A loveable dumb ass, but all the same a dumb ass. I guess that’s the nature of parenting, it’s a crap shoot. Some of us get honor students. Me? Well, not so much. I told (him/her) that this was a real possibility, but was anything I said heeded, even a little bit? Nope.

We all love our kids just as they are. I appreciate the support of my neighbors and family as we go through this horrible ordeal that we all know is at least half my (son’s/daughter’s) fault. I would also ask for the public’s help in appealing to our leaders for help in getting my foolish little rocket scientist back from the Taliban.

Thank you.

Remember, honesty swings public opinion.

Note – this post has nothing to do with the recent soldier/prisoner exchange. See the links in this post for details.
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16 Comments on “So, You’ve Been Kidnapped By The Taliban.”

  1. liamiman says:

    I think that’s a perfectly reasonable press release.

  2. Pie says:

    I think it’s a measured and honest press release. I would expect nothing less from you, Oma. it also verbalises what some of us would be thinking on reading/hearing news like this, sympathy for the families, notwithstanding.

    As much as parents try to raise their children straight, reaching the age where they can vote, get married, have a job and buy their own homes also gives them the right to push the stupid button, enabling them to forget everything they’ve been taught. Chaos usually ensues.

  3. Blogdramedy says:

    This is where using the Internet to book your travel can be a problem.
    At least in the days of the travel agent, booking a request to travel to unsafe lands at the very least got you a raised eyebrow and a copy of the latest travel advisory.

  4. Steph says:

    It is really cool that I can get my current events in the same place I got my last rites. You’re like a one-stop mart.

  5. You call ‘em as you sees ‘em! In fact I would venture to say most of us see it this way. We just don’t say it out loud. ;-)

  6. audreyhipbone says:

    Also, very important to have an attractive, white, middle to upper middle class female child kidnapped. The media doesn’t seem to give a good damn when poor black kids go missing.


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