A random choice from comments posted on the BBC website concerning journalist Alan Johnston, still held by the gangsters of Gaza (since March 12):
What cause can be justified by kidnapping innocent people? It is a cowardly act. What has Alan done that made you want to kidnap him? He is a journalist based in Gaza in support of the Palestinian people and their fight for freedom. I have been watching his reporting for years and he is a very good man. Release him immediately and stop causing so much pain for him and his family and friends.
There are at least 2835 similar remarks, of varying degrees of English literacy and insight, from all over the world. No, I didn’t read them all. I read as many as I could stand to read.
I would have expected to find at least one saying something like, “yes, while you’re at it, release Gilad Shalit too”. After all, Shalit is only 21 years old (he observed his birthday in captivity), he’s been held now for 10 months, and he too was just doing his job, trying to help his people in their struggle — not for ‘freedom’, but to keep from being murdered.
But I didn’t find anything like that. Lots of empathy for Mr. Johnston, lots of hard-headed comments of the form “don’t they understand that they’re hurting their cause?”, lots of appeals to God and Allah to bring him home, but I guess there’s just no comparison between a heroic journalist and a 21-year old draftee.