“A wise and thorough investigation of the painful conundrum posed by terrorist kidnappings. Simon makes a cogent argument about how to change our current, failed approach to negotiation.” — Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower and The Terror Years
Starting in late 2012, Westerners working in Syria — journalists and aid workers — began disappearing without a trace. A year later the world learned they had been taken hostage by the Islamic State. Throughout 2014, all the Europeans came home, first the Spanish, then the French, then an Italian, a German, and a Dane. In August 2014, the Islamic State began executing the Americans — including journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, followed by the British hostages.
Joel Simon, who in nearly two decades at the Committee to Protect Journalists has worked on dozens of hostages cases, delves into the heated hostage policy debate. The Europeans paid millions of dollars to a terrorist group to free their hostages. The US and the UK refused to do so, arguing that any ransom would be used to fuel terrorism and would make the crime more attractive, increasing the risk to their citizens. We Want to Negotiate is an exploration of the ethical, legal, and strategic considerations of a bedeviling question: Should governments pay ransom to terrorists?
Joel Simon is the Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. He has written widely on media issues, contributing to Slate, Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Review of Books, World Policy Journal, Asahi Shimbun, and The Times of India. He has led numerous international missions to advance press freedom. His new book, We Want to Negotiate: The Secret World of Kidnapping, Hostages and Ransom, will be published by Columbia Global Reports on January 22, 2019. His previous book, The New Censorship: Inside the Global Battle for Media Freedom, was published by Columbia University Press in November 2014. Follow him on Twitter at @Joelcpj.
Click here to read Joel Simon's oped in the Washington Post on "What Makes Jamal Khashoggi's Alleged Murder So Depraved."
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1/30/2019 18:301/30/2019 19:30MM/DD/YYYYJoel Simon at The World Affairs Council of San Francisco
Starting in late 2012, Westerners working in Syria — journalists and aid workers — began disappearing without a trace. A year later the world learned they had been taken hostage by the Islamic State. Throughout 2014, all the Europeans came home, first the Spanish, then the French, then an Italian, a German, and a Dane.… more
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How to bring hostages home? There’s no simple answer. "I never took it personally when the Islamic Republic of Iran abducted me in 2014 and used me as a hostage for 544 days. True, the impact on my loved ones — and my own lasting scars — is deeply personal. But the officials in Tehran… more
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