Middle East studies in the News
Solecki's Friends Await His Release [incl. Richard Bulliet]
Friends, relatives and co-workers of the abducted head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Pakistan and across the world are still awaiting his release almost two months after his kidnapping.
The Balochi Liberation United Front (BLUF) kidnapped John Solecki from Quetta on February 2. Not much seems to have happened towards securing Solecki's freedom. In frustration, the missing aid worker's friends, relatives and well wishers have begun voicing their anguish on the Internet through social communities like Facebook and various blogs.
Writing in the International Herald Tribune, Richard Bulliet, a former professor of Solecki's at the Columbia University, has wondered why anyone would kidnap a man who spent his career serving the needs of people in distress. "He is an American citizen, but he doesn't work for or represent the United States government. John has been moving from one chaotic region to another, not as a soldier or a military contractor, but rather, as a 'field man' for the world's desperate refugees. The refugee camp is his beat, not the field of battle." A close friend of Solecki's, who requested anonymity, said he had been raised with a very positive and embracing view of the world. She said Quetta had been a particularly hard posting for Solecki, as he had hated the security issues that had prevented him from walking amongst the people.
No comment: Solecki's co-workers at the Quetta office of the UNHCR are also desperate for their boss' return. However, none of them was willing to go on record with Daily Times, saying they were scared a media statement might endanger Solecki's life. One of Solecki's friends in London, requesting anonymity, said John's friends could help show the plight of the Baloch to a global community. He said any harm to John would only "deafen sympathetic ears around the world".
Meanwhile, around 811 people from across the globe have joined a group on Facebook called 'Prayers for John Solecki'. Although most of these people have never spoken to or even met with John, they eagerly share information that could brighten the prospects of Solecki's release.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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