« Previous | Main | Next »

That girl in Austria, Life in Iraq and Vigilantes in Liberia

Priya Shah | 18:12 UK time, Thursday, 7 September 2006

We're on air right now. Click here to listen now. And be sure to leave your comments, and we'll read out as many as we can during the programme.

We begin with Natascha Kampusch, abducted and held for 8 years in an underground cell, giving her first TV interview. It's the most read story on the web….what did people make of her interview? Are Austrians feeling collective guilt over her story? What chance of her leading a normal life now that she's done this round of interviews?

Maria in Vienna

As an Austrian I'd rather have news in Austria & across the world on why policemen who tortured a man got only a sentence of 8 month on bail..

Hadi in Saudi Arabia

I think the Austrian girl will be psychologically ok only for few months... then i hope god will be with her.. do you think she will be able to marry and live as a normal woman?


What about the abducted victims of the CIA, imprisoned, tortured and still denied their rights? This obsession with a poor girl's suffering is a perverse distraction.

Nyakairu in USA

She looked very composed. She must be a very strong-willed young woman to have come out of the ordeal with her mind intact. I wish her a very bright future. She is a good example of how one can overcome one's miserable circumstances.

Phil in India

Why is Natasha so well-spoken, self-assured and confident after 8 years incarcerated by a maniac? Paradoxically, she seems better adjusted than many of today's childish teenagers? Does anyone have any ideas?

Eric in Glasgow
She has been very deeply abused and violated. The 'strong' front in a formal interview situation is no indication of the damage done.

There is apparently- a new fashion accessory in Iraq. Many women, especially in Baghdad, have been buying and wearing pendants in the shape of their country.... even though it's breaking apart all around them.

Today, the Iraqi parliament agreed to discuss a controversial law that would allow different parts of Iraq to become autonomous. Also, the government today was given control of some of Iraq's armed forces.

In our studio is Ahmed. He was, until a few weeks ago, a journalist working in Iraq. Today, he's in exile, separated from his family, forced to begin a new life away from the violence and threats he faced everyday.

Ahmed is taking calls from our listeners. Yousra and Sanna spoke to us from Baghdad.

Sanna is beginning to despair, she would welcome federalism if thats the solution to the problem. But she doesn't think so. No one has any control of ANYTHING. Federalism may work elsewhere, but the leaders of Kurdish norht for example are like dictators, no different to Saddam.

Ahmed believes federalism is about gaining control of resources, the Kurds in the North want control of the oil there, the Shia in the South can control of the oil there. What happens to the middle? But Sanna thinks it more about Saddam style power.

Diego from Chicago texted us to ask:

Instead of fleeing Iraq, why don't you stay and try and make your country better?

Ahmed says he would have stayed if he had a choice. No one has any choice, except those in charge. And those in charge are people who use to be in exile, so they have two passports!

Every Iraqi has a story to tell, they have had some experience of the terrorism, says Sanna. Its just despairing. Ahmed's wife and familyis still stuck in Syria. What will happen to them, nobody knows. There are 3 million Iraqis in Syria. And so many more spread out across the region.

Ngwasa from Cameroon

What distinguishes each group from another - such as Shia, Sunni and Kurd. How do they know who to target? Are there physical differences, so that you know who is who?

Ahmed says No. You can't tell just by looking at someone, but everyone knows their neighbours.

Nathan fom United States

As bad as it may be in Iraq, at least Iraqis have the ability to leave the country and to tell their stories. This is a freedom that they certainlly did not have under Saddam.

Gerry from Berlin.

If Iraq is federalized the Bush regime will have achieved its aim - divide and control the oil!

Summer in Houston

I am a soldier, I went to Iraq for a year, I am truely sorry for what my country has done to you and yours in this illegal war. "A man who won't die for something is not fit to live." Martin Luther King

Email from a Iraqi in London

I am sick of the BBC portraying Iraq as though its on the brink of civil war. Its not! My family in Iraq is just fed up, of everything. They don't want to speak to us now even, they no longer want our help. We have waited for Saddam to fall, for the elections, for the constitution, for the new government, and instead of getting better, it always gets worse!

And finally, It's been less than a year since Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became President of Liberia - she swore then to restore law and order to a country that was recovering from 14 years of civil war.

But police in Liberia have admitted that they simply cannot cope. They say the "daily acts of banditry" are overwhelming - criminal gangs roam the streets, some wielding machetes. In response, the police have stepped back and are asking ordinary Liberians to protect themselves by forming vigilante groups.

We heard from Isaac, Oliver, T-Max and Moses in Monrovia about law and order in their city. Unfortunately we didn't get much time to listen to a fascinating discussion.

Isaac thinks it wrong for the police to be handing over responsibility for crime-fighting to ordinary people. They hsould be recruiting more police if they can't cope.

It is insulting to ask us to form vigilante groups, we have to be civilised and have proper policies. People can get killed by vigilantes. It creates a parallel system of law and order. Its wrong. Its ridiculous that our government can't and won't protect us.

McNeil, paynesville, Liberia

T-max is playing the devil's advocate. The Vegelantic group concept is illegal & babaric!

Patrick Dunor, Monrovia

We have no option but to meet the so-called Asakaba boys head long with these hard core criminals.

Text from Uganda

In my opinion, the govt of Liberia is making the worst mistake by giving the law into hands of desperate, lawless citizens in an attempt 2 restore order

F.Castro.Ejike in Nigeria

We had it in Nigeria, if the Govt. is not active the masses can adopt ISAKABA."In a lawless society...don't be law abiding".



Mohammed Konneh, Monrovia, Liberia.

Frankling speaking, residents of Monrovia are unable to deal with this crime issue so let the Government assume its responsibility.

Yusupha - The Gambia

This way of so called community policing can only lead to mob justice. The people are paying tax to government, therefore the government has a responsibility to protect the people and their property.


  • No comments to display yet.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.