Friday, July 04, 2008

One more thought


I'm just back to Paris after a pretty tiring trip but I could not help going to the town hall where a lot of Parisians - and press - gathered to celebrate the release of the most famous French(/Colombian) hostage. I just saw a long interview of Ingrid on French television and I can tell you that this woman is really something; even after she's been treated like a dog (her words) for 2,321 days, she has the strength to say that she feels no hate for her abductors... Anyway I don't want to bore you with this story, especially since, like some of you mentioned it, there are still other people held by the FARC in the jungle. Let's also have a thought for the American hostages ( Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes and Keith Stansell) who landed in San Antonio today. They will celebrate the 4th of July in their homeland for the first time in 10 years...

48 comments:

  1. Your last lines about the American hostages were very moving. Thanks for honoring them and our Independence Day.

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  2. Donc ils n'ont pas retiré la photo tout de suite !
    Tant mieux,tous ces rassemblements spontanés, c'est impressionnant.
    I think people feel really involved.
    We still want to beleive that miracles can exist in our world and this is a wonderful proof !!!
    Thank for sharing all this with us, Eric.

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  3. Thank you, Eric. It's strange that I wouldn't have known about any of this, not even the American hostages, if not for you. Thank you for honoring all of the hostages.

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  4. Yes, this woman is the strongest and bravest, I've ever seen! I can imagine how she will now enjoy each second of her new life and I hope the best for her. Surely a strong politician in Colombie in the future.
    I spent the evening with my god father (theater)! Instead, maybe I would have gone to the Town Hall too...

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  5. *remembering* our Independence Day :-)

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  6. It is wonderful that these hostages are free, there is no doubt about that. Yet, I have many many mixed feelings the more I contemplate on the large story with its international strings and diversions. FARC gets no sympathy from me, while the Columbian people are in a mess. The drug situation makes it more complicated from any perspective. Well, I'll have to settle for relief and happiness for now. Not a bad thing.

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  7. Thank you Eric, there is nothing boring about this story. It's impossible to wrap our minds around 700 hostages at one time, but the emblematic leader can help us find that window to connect.

    As so many have told you before, Paris Daily Photo allows us to similarly connect to a place we may never see for ourselves (well, I probably won't), through a specific personality and point of view. It is so much more enriching than, say, a department of tourism website. The best of the CDPs try to follow your example. You've expanded my world by being specific and personal. It's a gift.

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  8. Ingrid Betancourt must have drawn on some amazing inner strength just to survive and I wonder if she is popular enough in Colombia to mobilize popular pressure against the FARC and through that to free at least some of the other hostages. 700 is indeed such a huge number. But, I fear, without names and power, it will be so easy for them to just"disappear".

    It would be a wonderful legacy if she could pull it off. For now, though, I wish her some time away from the press with her family and a chance to return to what must be an alien world.

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  9. “The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”
    Thucydides

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  10. On another lighter note, the SoCalFanPod (!!) (yep - that's our new name!) is getting ready for our own Bastille Day celbration on July 13th. :) We're getting all the arrangements made and we'll keep you all posted. Props to Petrea for being a wonderful organizer.

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  11. David that is a perfect quote for the occasion.

    Cali... GF again?? Well done!

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  12. News that way you put it in never boring.

    BTW, I'd like to invite you to MBATW (mailboxes across the world). I hope you can join. More info here.

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  13. Thank you Eric for all your loving words on this political issue. I have been following it on France24. It brings tears to my eyes when I hear hear of her hardships.

    I have not been active on your site as I have been ill -- sorry that I am so weak. Anyway, will try to be more assertive [sp?].

    Back to bed.

    bisous
    Lois

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  14. Eric, you are never boring!

    Your posts the past two days have been excellent, and if, as you have noted, there are still hostages remaining in the jungle, we should all pray they too will have a joyous homecoming. I thought I had it in my mind that you were perhaps a Sciences Po alum? If so, were you and Ingrid classmates?

    David, I agree with Rose, a perfect quote for today. Well chosen.

    My daughter is in Paris today, and I am missing her! I hope if she is reading this she will call me!
    : )

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  15. uselaine, I'm with you on that. Eric has definately expanded my world so much!

    David, most definately a perfect quote.

    Happy Independance Day, my fellow Americans. And you know what this time of year means: Another great Will Smith movie!!!

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  16. Thank you Eric for remembering all of the hostages. & yes it is truly inspiring to hear that Ingrid Betancourt feels no hate for her abductors.
    I couldn't read everyone's comments tonight but I am sure everyone will agree with me that it is impossible for you "...to bore us with this story,". You are one of the cultural creatives!
    I was actually hoping you would post more on this today,
    Merci.

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  17. Eric, I was counting on more about this happy news from you too -- and you never disappoint!

    David -- it's a perfect quote.

    Lois -- wondered where you were. Hope you'll be feeling much better VERY soon.

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  18. Happy Independence Day to my friends overseas. A nice day to remember freedom of all kinds - including jungles of Colombia!

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  19. Lois, we never had a real opportunity to communicate through Eric's wonderful blog but I was really missing your interesting comments and wondering where you might be. Sorry to hear that you were sick, hope you'll be feeling much better very soon and able to come back to us, PDP community !!

    Welcome back , Michael !
    I remember the friendly comments you sent me when preparing the picnic and was missing your presence on PDP too.

    You all Americans, have a good Independnece Day !
    When I lived in Paris, I used to spend 4th of July evening in an American pub and restauranr close to "les Halles",one of the best time in my Parisian life ! Wonder if it still exixts !

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  20. Yes Michael... freedom to all.
    Does that include us "Michael's Slaves"?
    For those who don't know, Michael plays a game in Facebook called Owned where we are all his slaves...
    4th of July...Independence Day!
    Let's us rebel against the tyranny :)

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  21. Thanks, Marylene, for the Independence Day wishes. Looking forward to fireworks tonight.
    Was the restaurant Chez Haynes, par hasard? Or maybe Joe Allen? When I was there, we expat Americans used to go to Haynes for a real Thanksgiving dinner like Mom was cooking back home and we were missing.

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  22. Yes, Alexa, it was Joe Allen ! Thanks, I couldn't find the name and it was kind of upsetting !
    You are a "night bird", an't you ?
    It is something like 3 AM in NYork right now ?

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  23. Happy Independence Day Michael. How will you be spending it; simply divinely, darling, i do hope? What's traditional practise for the day by the way?

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  24. Add me to the "I heard it here first group." More often than not, I work late. I miss the local and network news, and I don't have cable t.v., so I get most of my news online. And when I come online, it is not uncommon for me check PDP before any other site. :) I certainly was glad for your additional coverage and commentary on this topic today.

    Lois, take good care of yourself!

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  25. Yes me too. I hadn't heard anything about this until you wrote about it on here. Then tonight on the TV they did a 30 second story on her and if it weren't for reading your blog I wouldn't have had a clue what the story was about at all.

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  26. Great post, Eric. My sentiments exactly. How incredible too that this woman is not filled with hate. My mind is full of admiration for such people.

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  27. Eric, I saw a snippet of her reunion with her children today. . .I just can't imagine that kind of separation, and was so touched to see their embraces. I also was moved to hear her (in translation) speak of moving toward immediate peace negotiations with FARC, urging that now is the time and both sides needing to embrace a non-retaliatory stance. This after treatment of being tied at the neck with another hostage for over two years after a failed escape attempt, according to news sources here. Amazing person! I hope all parties will proceed as she suggests.
    -Kim
    Seattle Daily Photo

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  28. The best of the Fourth upon you Americans...as for the Brits, well you have a great day too! We are still enjoying our country! :-)

    Eric, the rescue of Ingrid and the other captives was indeed clever, risky, and nothing short of miraculous. Your coverage of this on PDP has been superb.

    To all, a great day. I'm off to our neighborhood "kid parade" and to indulge in unhealthy (but great-tasting) food.

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  29. Ingrid's rules ! and happy independance day for all the american :)

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  30. How could you ever think that you could be boring! She does seem a remarkable woman. It was reported quite soon in the UK, in fact we heard about it a whole hour before it went live newswise as my partner works for the BBC, Political Cartoonist and had to revise his assignment. Glad to see you have the names of the other hostages too.

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  31. lol Rose! I'm perfectly happy being Michael's slave, personally!

    lynn, the day usually is spent with parades, barbeques, and fireworks. I'll be going over to a friend's house for some charred meat and way too buttery corn soon. After that we're going to a nearby carnival and at nightfall we'll be watching the fireworks. Then we're camping in my friends backyard for the night. Fun!

    Enjoy your unhealthy but oh-s-tasty food coltrane!

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  32. What a bunch of thrilling photos I have missed, I COULD CRY. I got chills from the eiffel tower pix to Ingrid's good news. There was a huge picture of her on the town hall next to the St. Denis church when i saw it a few weeks ago. It shows how intent the French were on getting her back. It's all over the news here in LHR.

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  33. Cali "Your last lines about the American hostages were very moving. Thanks for honoring them and our Independence Day." Thank you but I felt bad all day because I did not also mention the Colombian hostages.

    Marylène. Ils - enfin Ingrid - vont retirer la photo ce soir je crois.

    Petrea "Thank you, Eric. It's strange that I wouldn't have known about any of this, not even the American hostages, if not for you" really. You never heard about the American hostages in the US?

    USelaine "It is so much more enriching than, say, a department of tourism website. The best of the CDPs try to follow your example. You've expanded my world by being specific and personal. It's a gift." Blush ;) You made my day LOL!

    Carrie "For now, though, I wish her some time away from the press with her family and a chance to return to what must be an alien world.". I do to. But she is so generous, that instead of taking only some time for her and her family, she also takes to time to talk to us. This woman is really special.

    David "“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”" Well, she surely deserves her freedom, let me tell you.

    Lois "I have not been active on your site as I have been ill -- sorry that I am so weak. Anyway, will try to be more assertive. What's wrong. Nothing serious I hope. Let me send you some comfort from Paris ;)

    Kelly "I thought I had it in my mind that you were perhaps a Sciences Po alum? If so, were you and Ingrid classmates?" No, I was not ;) Your daughter might even go the town hall today as Ingrid will remove her portrait from the grid;)

    Soosha "lol Rose! I'm perfectly happy being Michael's slave, personally!" LOOOOOL!

    PHX-CDG "There was a huge picture of her on the town hall next to the St. Denis church when i saw it a few weeks ago. It shows how intent the French were on getting her back." Very true. And watching her now, I understand why so many people supported her and made everything possible to have her back.

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  34. It's true, Eric. There must have been something in the American press about the initial capture of the hostages ten years ago; perhaps I just don't remember it. But there hasn't been persistent talk of these men, like the French have done about their Ingrid. I wouldn't have known about any of the hostages before the rescue if you hadn't told me about them. I'm most grateful for your coverage.

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  35. Hi everyone, thank you for your get well and happy 4th of July messages. Especially you Eric for the "comfort from Paris". I have a severe cough that is forcing me to stay in bed. I have Propolis tablets and Broncalene cough syrup. I bought it in Paris once when I had a cough there. It is comforting.

    Today is my daughter's birthday. Yes, she was born on the 4th of July. When she was little I use to tell her that all those fireworks were for her. I don't think she believed me though. She would tilt her head and look at me in a strange way.

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  36. May I also add that I had no idea of the Americans being held captive either,Eric, until now.
    Am celebrating 4of July at a party being thrown at the London hotel for the airline crews. How's THAT for forgiveness by the Brits!
    As a pilot said to me today "Now we have taxation WITH representation".lol

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  37. What a shock that was - I did an English lesson on my other site based on that and I'm not in the least surprised to see your photos of this event here, as well as your representation of Lady Eiffel from the right side. I only photographed her backside...

    Only learnt after the event that she was wearing stars on her front!

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  38. Eric, on the low profile of the US hostages: I heard a news report about that with the father of one of the men speaking. Per the report, the US gov't wasn't publicizing anything but provided money and resources all along. Of course, the media didn't push the story either. So, for many Amercans, it wasn't even on the radar. I knew more about Ingrid, due to France keeping the story alive there, than about the Americans.

    The father, who was frustrated by lack of information, was mowing his lawn when he found out about the rescue from a neighbor, who saw it on TV. While he'd been frustrated before, he was very grateful that the secrecy had been maintained, even from him.

    The difference, I suspect, is that Ingrid was already a famous female politician from France and these guys were not. They were not "a story". If Hillary Clinton, even before her presidential run, had been captured, that story would never have died here.

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  39. Yeah, I'm not blaming. I don't know if the secrecy was necessary or not, and it's quite possible that it was. I'm only glad they're free.

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  40. I was hoping to see a photo about this today. Seems we have much freedom to celebrate on this 4th.

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  41. Freedom is always a thing to celebrate!

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  42. Oh - Petrea - I didn't think you were & hope it didn't sound like I thought you were -- I and most people I talk to weren't aware of the Americans either. And, as for necessary, who knows about what you hear on TV!

    So, its offered with a grain of salt. But, its one explanation for how all the French seem to be aware of Ingrid and so many people here were not aware of the men.

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  43. I didn't take it that way, Carrie. I wonder, too, about the other 700 or so still in captivity. I heard pundits on the news conjecture that things might be tougher on them now, with tighter security and fewer resources for their care.

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  44. Bonjour:


    Now that she is free, I hope somehow she will be able to view your documentation of the passionate efforts of Parisians over the past months and years to remind us of her, and that Parisians did not give up hope.

    Celebrate!

    Peace

    Steve in chilly Chicago

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