Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A few thoughts on my 'kidnap'

Yesterday's blog post about my brief kidnapping attracted a lot of attention. Most reactions were good, but I also got a lot of flack for supposedly being 'irresponsible' and 'naive', which I don't think is fair. 

As I posted as a reply to one of the comments on the original post, I don't think there would have been a much safer way to go about it. 
Agreed, the time of my expedition wasn't ideal (it was around 2 am when we left), but news doesn't always happen during daylight hours. When events happen at night, you go out at night. I didn't want to get there hours after the fact, in the morning, when everything had been cleaned up and restored. 

I didn't venture out on my own. I brought a friend, who is a fairly big guy and speaks Arabic well. We've been to protests together before, and he always acts as my translator/bodyguard. We have never gotten separated like this before.

I am familiar with the area, and so is my friend, we just didn't know the exact address of the HQ. The street name the taxi driver claimed the office to be on is a familiar street to us, as it is only a few blocks away from where I live and from where we were at the time. We had obviously tried to figure out where the HQ was beforehand, but had been unsuccessful. 

I never carry my camera in plain sight, it was in my bag the whole time. They didn't check my bag, which I think is interesting in itself. Usually one of the first things people do when they bother you is check (or even confiscate) your bag. 

I usually carry a copy of my ID, which unfortunately was in another bag at the time, Police or military will usually accept a copy, thugs will just run of with your passport, causing even more trouble.

Finally, I am a trained journalist, not some sensation seeking tourist looking to get in on the action. I know what to do in dangerous situations. Getting kidnapped by a taxi driver wasn't in my curriculum specifically, but I do know what to do and especially what not to do when being held hostage, or when getting harassed by a mob of angry people. I acted accordingly. 


  1. Good points! Please consider posting something about what to do when someone is held hostage or when s/he gets harassed by a mob of angry people. This is a recurring situation in Cairo nowadays and I think many of your readers will benefit.

    1. That is a good idea! Will do :) (once the craziness in Cairo has died down again... ;) )