The father of a journalist being held by Islamic State rebels has made a desperate plea to try to get his son’s safe release and journey home.
Paul Cantlie has spoken, from his hospital bed, on the “despair and helplessness” he and his family feel after seeing John in a video on the internet. Speaking with the help of a voice aid, Mr Cantlie said the family experienced “great relief” when they saw John in a televised broadcast; but this feeling turned to “despair”.
Paul, referring to the first time he saw John in the clip, said “For the first time in almost two years, we saw John when he made a televised broadcast during which he told viewers that he was still a prisoner of the Islamic State and that maybe he will live and maybe he will die. As a family we experienced great relief seeing and hearing John and knowing that he is alive, but this was followed by the feeling of despair and helplessness.”
Before John Cantlie was taken hostage he had been a journalist who had worked for a number of publications in the UK most notably the Sunday Times. He was in Syria at the time of his capture as an independent photo journalist as, in his own words, he wanted to “seek out the true story of the suffering of the Syrian people and ensuring the world was made aware of their plight”.
Speaking about his son Mr Cantile said “John felt a strong need to help in the best way that he could: as an impartial and respected journalist he knew that he could make a difference by acting as a platform for the world to listen to and take notice, using his journalistic skills for the good of the people; as a friend and as a civilian.”
This appears to have become the norm for the Islamic State; taking citizens who have not been harming those in Syria or Iraq, but who have become a representation of western nations and their perceived failings. These men are not enemy combatants and yet this evil is committed against them. The outrage about good men being killed for the fault of nations should be more palpable than it currently is.
Mr Cantile would continue “Speaking entirely for myself, this is not how I had imagined I would be passing my 81st year. I want John to know how very proud I am of him. I can think of no greater joy than seeing him again, released and allowed to return to those who love him,”
Mr Cantlie, would also address his son’s captors directly saying “To those holding John: please know that he is a good man, he sought only to help the Syrian people and I ask you from all that is sacred, to help us and allow him to return home safely to those he loves and those who love him.”
Thus far the call has fallen on deaf ears. The militants have taken the lives of 4 good men, men who did not harm them, nor their families. How has it come to this? That a man must beg from a hospital bed for his son’s life. I sincerely hope this conflict does not become as David Cameron called it a “generational battle” I do not wish to see more fathers begging.