|Romeo Langlois, surrounded by FARC fighters, |
films his own liberation. (Photo from AFP)
It's not the first time that a just-released kidnappee has praised the guerrillas, in what could be intepreted as a sort of Stockholm Syndrome. But in Langlois' case it's particularly understable, if not justifiable. After all, Langlois voluntarily entered the arena of Colombia's conflict as part of his work, and spending a month on close terms with the guerrillas in a non-journalistic relationship relationhsip is many a reporter's dream. And this month-long kidnapping, Langlois has transformed Langlois from being one of many correspondents working away in developing nations into an internationally-known figure. It's sure to open doors to juicy job offers, make him an authority about Colombia's armed conflict and land a juicy contract for a book or a movie. (If you hear hints of jealousy from me, a former journalist, you're probably not far off.)
And the guerrillas had every motive to be nice to Langlois, who, they knew, would become a sort of spokesman for them. In return, Langlois said the guerrillas had "treated me like a guest" and that the guerrillas should take into account the guerrillas' points of view.
In response, Ex-President Alvaro Uribe called Langlois a guerrilla sympathizer, which Langlois denied.
|Caged FARC kidnappees who |
didn't have it so great in captivity.
When Langlois reports on his experience, he should balance his accounts of the FARC as gracious hosts with information about how the same guerrilla gang also plants land mines, recruits children (including a group of 13 kids during Langlois' own captivity), forces women guerrillas to have abortions, traffic drugs and has kidnapped many other civilians, who don't have quite as good a time as Langlois did while torn for years from their friends and family.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours