“Why self-responsibility?” Michiko Hamai

Today in Japan, voices of the criticism against the three kidnapped, who were released after having detained for a week, are getting louder and louder. Those voices have been heard from both ordinary Japanese people and some politicians. Some of the media also seem to be biased, only having the commentators who are critical of them. If the programs invited the commentators from both sides and exchanged their ideas there, then we could call them democratic. In addition to that, we have seen a large number of anonymous emails, faxes and telephone calls full of abusive words to the families of the hostages as well as to the web sites of them. Among them, there were emails saying that they had plotted this event themselves, which camouflaged as if one of the hostages had wrote.

The people should be admired if they work for helping others at the risk of their lives. They do not deserve to be criticized. Those who should be criticized are the militia group, which kidnapped the three in order to carry their points, and the US Government, which drove the Iraq people into the terrorism. The Japanese Government is tagging along after the US.

Many Japanese and government officials said that the three had to take responsibility and compensate the expenses the Government had spent to take them home, because they entered the dangerous region warned by the Government. This means that Japanese people should not take any actions whatever happens in the world. Florence Nightingale, who took care of the injuries in the Crimea War whether they were enemies or not, would be accused if she were here in Japan. Should NGOs like the MSF, Doctors without Borders, take responsibility and compensate the expenses if their government saved their lives?

But for the so-called journalist spirit, with which journalists report from bottle fields, sometimes exposing themselves to fatal dangers, we would not know what is actually going on there. We were able to know the tragedies caused by the wars in Vietnam and former Yugoslavia and what was done by the powers in those countries. The purpose of our organization also stands on this point of view: we could not tell war without knowing the facts in war.

US Secretary of State Powel said, “Japanese people should be proud of the three for risking their lives to work for others.” The French newspaper, Le Monde, said in its editorial that this incident showed to the world that a new generation, which was eager to go abroad to help others, had grown up in Japan. The paper defended the three hostages against the criticism of “reckless and irresponsible young people” toward them.

We should be proud of their courage as Japanese. Why don’t we support them behind their backs as the ones who live secured?