Captured on 12 March in Gaza by the Army of Islam group, Mr. Alan Johnston, 45, was released early this morning. He was handed over to the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza City. He is now in the British Consulate in Jerusalem waiting to fly back to UK.
“I literally dreamt many times of being free and always woke up back in that room,” Mr. Johnston said shortly after his release.
The reporter describes his captivity as a frightening experience as he was uncertain how it’d end. He said he had fallen ill from the food but was not tortured during the captivity period. It was hard for him to believe he’d be freed as he said he was “in the hands of people who were dangerous and unpredictable”.
Thanking his colleagues and all who supported him throughout his captivity, he cheered at the overwhelming international campaign for his release. “The thing you don’t want is to be left behind, buried alive, and have the world go on around you,” he said.
Several hundreds of thousands of people around the world had petitioned and rallied for his release.
“It’s been 114 days of a living nightmare,” said his overjoyed father Graham soon after his son’s release.
Answering to questions in the UK Parliament new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “The whole country will welcome the news that Alan Johnston, a fearless journalist whose voice was silenced for too long, is now free.”
Hats off Mr. Johnston for your perseverance and bravery during 16 weeks’ tough times. As we say in French: “Tout est bien qui finit bien”. (All is good that ends well).
Mauritian residing in Rodrigues, Amanoola Khayrattee (pen name Alfa King) is contributing writer and journalist to La Gazette Mag de l’océan indien and This Week News Mauritius.
Retired, former meteorological cadre, trade unionist and OSH consultant, Amanoola has written for in-house union and other journals, publications and magazines. He runs two blogs since 2007: “Alfa King Memories”, and “Le Journal d’Alfa King”. When he is not reading or writing, he is on a 10+ km daily hike in anticipation of his monthly trails.
Amanoola may be reached at [email protected].