Israel Attacks Gaza Relief Ships; Up To 20 Dead; Senior Journalist Talat Hussain and Two Other Pakistanis in the Flotilla Reported to be Alive

Posted on May 31, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, Media Matters, People
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Adil Najam

The world is abuzz in anguish against Israel’s military action against the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ of aid ships carrying relief goods for embargoed Gaza. Condemnations are pouring in for this military action in international waters. The irony in the tragedy is not lost on the world – in 1947, the ship Exodus 1947 carrying Jewish immigrants wanting to get to Jerusalem had similarly been stopped by the British authorities and the dramatic struggle that resulted had been influential in changing world opinion towards the creation of the state of Israel.

The world politics implications of the incident aside, the immediate concern of many is about the safety of nationals from nearly 40 countries, including many journalists, who were in this relief goods flotilla. These include three Pakistanis – senior journalist and well known TV anchor Talat Hussain of Aaj TV, his cameraman Raza Mahmood Agha, and a Pakistani NGO activist Nadeem Ahmed.

Pakistani authorities (including the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister) have condemned the incident and are trying to find more information on the health and safety of these three Pakistanis but as yet no confirmed information is available. Given that according to various reports as many as 20 people might already have been killed and up to 26 injured in the Israeli attack on the relief goods flotilla, this lack of information is exciting further anguish amongst Pakistanis. [UPDATE: we are now hearing that the three Pakistanis aboard the flotilla are all alive and well, but now captured in Israel].

Talat Hussain is one of the most respected TV anchors in Pakistan and known for his balanced, sober and in-depth analysis of national as well as international politics. I first got to know him when he was still a student of international affairs at the Islamabad Quaid-i-Azam Univeristy and more so when he later managed the op-ed pages of The News (when Maliha Lodhi was its founding editor). Since then, I have interacted with him when he was at PTV Current Affairs and now at Aaj TV. In my view he is the least populist and most balanced of our TV anchors. A journalist of the highest integrity and one who has never strayed far from his intellectual and scholarly roots even as he has blossomed as a public communicator of excellence.

My prayers are with him and his family; as they are with the two other Pakistanis and all others on the flotilla, and indeed with all in the world, everywhere. Prayers of peace seem not to be answered to often in today’s world, but let us pray for peace and safety for all nonetheless.

Merely wishing for peace and justice in the world will not make the world a saner place. But to give up on even that wish will surely make the world even more insane than it already is.

30 Comments on “Israel Attacks Gaza Relief Ships; Up To 20 Dead; Senior Journalist Talat Hussain and Two Other Pakistanis in the Flotilla Reported to be Alive”

  1. Asim Kaleem says:
    May 31st, 2010 11:23 am

    All my prayers are for Talat ……… who is indeed one of our leading and talented journalist and anchor ……… Im really worried about him and may Allah swt keep him safe and sound ………. and to all those who are martyred in this noble cause …….. InshAllah your mission will not be incomplete and the international community should do against this evil state which has made its way through snatching, grabbing and killing …………… Hell with Israel …….

  2. ASAD says:
    May 31st, 2010 11:32 am

    Our prayers are with Talat Husain. Good to know that he is alive. But now in Israeli custody, I shudder at what they will do to these poor people who were just trying to get aid to the hungary and the poor.

  3. Hamza says:
    May 31st, 2010 11:35 am

    I’m glad to hear that Talat Hussain and the other journalists are safe.

    I hate to do this, but I can’t help comparing the impending public protests and rallies against Israel to to the complete silence of all our political parties when the massacre at an Ahmadi mosque occurred.

    It really shows us where our priorities are.

  4. Riffat says:
    May 31st, 2010 12:00 pm

    he is alive, but captured. i pray for his safety and the safe return of this journalist who is illegally captured by Israel.

  5. Julie says:
    May 31st, 2010 12:08 pm

    This is not just a Pakistani issue. This is a journalist, doing his duty, illegally kidnapped and detained.

  6. Angie says:
    May 31st, 2010 12:18 pm

    Glad you raised the Exodus example. This is exactly what the Jews had done in 1947 and then the British had attacked the ship. History repeats itself. Victims of yesterday become perpetrators of today.

  7. Ailia says:
    May 31st, 2010 12:22 pm

    is talat okay????? i watched interior minister telling dat talat and other 3 pakistanis r safe. if he is saying correct dat means we have recieved a good news. do some one knows where r they???

  8. Haroon says:
    May 31st, 2010 12:30 pm

    Good read from israeli newspaper Haaretz
    A Special Place in Hell / The Second Gaza War: Israel lost at sea – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

  9. Sridhar says:
    May 31st, 2010 12:32 pm

    It is a brazen violation of international law and of basic humanity. Utterly condemnable actions of the IDF and the Israeli Government. The blockade itself is a brazen violation of international law that the international community has ignored so far.

  10. May 31st, 2010 12:48 pm

    Glad 2 know Talat and his fellows are safe. I rather pray for everyone on board to be safe from Israel militancy.

    Can you please share your source? how did you find he is safe?

    I have doubt that IDF militants will treat them well.

    On other hand famous micro blogging website Twitter did not give visibility to #flotilla hashtag despite of 200+ tweets/minute under the same tag. It was reported by several twitters around the world including news sites like Guardian which proves my point that there is no absolute freedom of speech.

    Thankfully Israel is a separate “non-Islamic” militant state otherwise there would be 100+ comments in short span of time condemning Talibans,Mullahs ,Honor Killing and Blasphemy Laws.

    @Hamza: you are kidding right? you must keep yourself well aware about current affairs.

  11. Liberty says:
    May 31st, 2010 12:49 pm

    I am glad to see Najam writing on this subject. However I am disappointed to see his narrow focus on mentioning a great humanitarian issue of our time only when seen as a Pakistani issue as we have three journalists on that floatilla .. perhaps captured by the ‘only’ democracy of the region.

    (I can live with this disappointment as Adil Najam has finally started feeling the pain of others like his own. Thanks Adil.)

    I wish and pray for the safety of the entire crew.

  12. Pakistani says:
    May 31st, 2010 12:55 pm

    I am praying for the safety of Talat Hussain and join you in praying for everyone on the flotillas and in Gaza.

    But I am amazed at how these 10 dead has caused such an outrage in pakistan and thousands protest on streets, but only a handful came out to protest the killing of 70 Pakistanis in Lahore last week. I guess we only cry for “Arab” causes since they are more “Muslim” then the rest of us Pakistanis. The killing of Muslims and Pakistanis every day by Taliban mullahs we can live with and we even defend. But this we come out in full force of. Hypocricy, thy name is mullah!

  13. Zecchetti says:
    May 31st, 2010 2:15 pm

    Alhamdulillah it is good to see solidarity for Muslims that are so far away. All of this fitnah and strife might just be a blessing in disguise if it finally leads to re-unification of the Muslims.

    May Allah give this ummah its izzat back, ameen.

  14. aamir says:
    May 31st, 2010 3:54 pm

    good point “Pakistani”. i think one of the reasons why there’s more people out on the streets than last Saturday is that its a crime committed by a state. not just any state but Israel.

  15. a muslim says:
    May 31st, 2010 4:12 pm

    If Muslims can present peaceful, tolerant, inspiring, rational, loving Islam to the non-Muslims in Western Europe and North American countries and win hearts and minds of tax payers of these countries, then and only then political leaders will listen to their citizens instead of lobbies of Israel and then put prssure on Israel and check her policies.
    Global political and military pressure has started forcing Muslims to present Islam as peaceful, tolerant, inspiring, rational, loving religion.
    If Muslims had not wasted last 100 years, all this injustice to Muslims in Palestine, and in other parts of the world could have been prevented.

    Its much cheaper and easier for Muslims to present islam as peaceful, tolerant, inspiring, rational, loving than taking militant aproach.
    English intellectual Barnad Shaw was expecting Islam will be dominant religion in Europe by end of 20th centuary. he said this after reading literature on islam produced in England and Europe by “former” Muslims.

  16. Johnny says:
    May 31st, 2010 4:54 pm

    I live in the US. I did not know there was a blockade. Now that the whole world knows about it, I think it will end soon, and a lot of humanitarian aid will be on it’s way to Gaza. If Gaza does not send anymore rockets into Israel, the world might help them.

  17. Hassan Raza says:
    May 31st, 2010 6:11 pm

    Talat Hussain is the most respectful journalist of Pakistan.
    We all should be praying for his life.
    May Allah keep him safe.

  18. Rukhsana says:
    May 31st, 2010 6:13 pm

    I pray for the safe return of Talat and all other Pakistanis.

  19. ShahidnUSA says:
    May 31st, 2010 7:59 pm

    Israel better be nice to famous journalist/TV Anchor Mr Talat Hussain. Little that they know, they are dealing with
    the future President of Pakistan.
    Here is my vote.

    Danial Pearl was abducted by the pakistani terrorist (Savages)
    and not by pakistani state.

  20. Saiye says:
    May 31st, 2010 9:13 pm

    Turkey has threatened prompt suitable response.They have announced that Turkish navy will escort the next peace flotilla.Will Pakistan government have the balls to support our Turkish brothers with our naval ships and submarine fleet?

  21. Rashid Ali says:
    May 31st, 2010 10:30 pm

    We pray for the well being of Talat Hussain, other Pakistanis and all other volunteers who were trying to peacefully perform a humanitarian act. Turkey is taking a great step for supporting GAZA population who badly need help. Any suggestion that Pakistan should get militarily involved by sending its Navy must be resisted. While Pakistan should do evey thing in its means to support food and medical needs of Palestinians, please do remember that Pakistani forces are stretched beyond the limit and Pakistan is in a severe grip of terrorism which is threatning its very existence. Any military adventure will be a very risky undertaking

  22. Abbas says:
    May 31st, 2010 11:23 pm

    First, I want Talat and other Pakistanis to return to Pakistan safe and sound.

    Second, I want us to please focus on stopping the killing of Muslims IN Pakistan. Lets do that first before we try to become mohallay kay thekedar.

  23. Faisal says:
    June 1st, 2010 7:05 am

    Our prayers are with Talat and rest of the people, we want to see him back in Pakistan, safe and sound.

  24. Salman501 says:
    June 1st, 2010 11:31 am

    Abbas you have hit the nail on the head, I was about to say the same thing.

    We should be more worried about whats happening in our own country instead of whats happening abroad.

  25. Akif Nizam says:
    June 1st, 2010 12:01 pm

    I pray for all those captured and in Israeli captivity. I’m sure they will return safe and sound.

    I also think that despite the unnecessary bloodshed that resulted, the idea was really good and such international, highly public demonstrations should carry on.

  26. Pakistani says:
    June 1st, 2010 7:06 pm

    Angie I wonder what point is raising the Exodus analogy. It is totally irrelevant here. Those on board Exodus were LAND GRABBERS who were pouring in to rip the Palestinins of all their land, homes, businesses, belongings, and kill and throw them away in the River Jordarn or Gaza Strip. They were plunderers who stole the Arab land on gunpoint, and if the British Govt half heartedly tried to stop them then I did (if it did indeed) its duty as per the mandate of the League of Nations. ON the othere hand everyone in the world has seen with his own eyes that these were peaceful people trying to deliver relief goods to their stranded brethern.

    Angie says:May 31st, 2010 12:18 pm
    Glad you raised the Exodus example. This is exactly what the Jews had done in 1947 and then the British had attacked the ship. History repeats itself. Victims of yesterday become perpetrators of today.

  27. Nadeem Ahsan says:
    June 1st, 2010 8:51 pm

    Talat is a good man. But it cannot escape anyone that he is being treated like a demigod because he is the brother of Dr Riffat Hussain who is an establishment mouth piece close to the agencies and the army. Talat provides balanced coverage, except touching the army or the ISI.

    Wish him well.

  28. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    June 2nd, 2010 5:30 pm

    Nadeem Ahsan (June 1st, 2010 8:51 pm):

    Talat Hussain is a good man and so is his brother Dr. Riffat Hussain. The two gentlemen have served Pakistan with distinction. Please stop denigrating them. Thank you.

  29. Naveed Abbas says:
    June 4th, 2010 3:13 am

    Welcome Home! Mr. Talat Hussain.
    We greatly appreciate your clean and fearless attitude. Mr.Raza, Keep it up you too.
    Mr. Talat: Lets maintain the same balance, soberness and intellectual excellence in your work.

    Keep it up!

  30. Tahir says:
    June 6th, 2010 3:03 am

    Does anyone know if Talat has spoken publicaly about his captivity by the Israelis?

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