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Alan's 100th day

Jon Williams Jon Williams | 10:21 UK time, Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Exactly 100 days ago, my colleague Alan Johnston was abducted in Gaza. Today, his family, friends and colleagues across the BBC will pause for two minutes at 1415 BST - the moment he was abducted fourteen weeks ago - to think of Alan.

A5-postcardpdf203.jpgAcross Britain and around the world, Alan's friends will hold up a picture of Alan to show solidarity with him and to demand his immediate release. I invite you to join us - you can print off your own picture of Alan by clicking on this pdf link.

In the 100 days since he was kidnapped, more than 150,000 of you have signed our online petition, many thousands more have added your comments to our Have Your Say message board. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you who've done so - many of the messages are incredibly moving, the show of support overwhelming.

The last three months have been a dreadful time for his family and friends – but particularly for Alan. We’ve always known Alan is special. But the last 14 weeks have shown us how special he is to many of you. Your support has buoyed us up through our darkest days - Alan's family particularly have drawn strength from your support.

The last few days have seen a number of reports from Gaza - as you'd expect we continue to follow developments very closely.


  • 1.
  • At 01:28 PM on 20 Jun 2007,
  • Mary McCannon wrote:

Dear Jon,

Usually when someone reaches a ‘milestone’ of 100 people celebrate. When it comes to Alan we have no reason to do so. Anxiety grows by the day as to what is his condition, when will he be released, etc.
People from all walks of life are emotionally attached to the BBC (in this or that way), hence Alan’s abduction somehow had shaken our belief that the three ‘magic’ letters, the recognised and respected symbol all over the world might prevent evil deeds.
Also, I believe that I’m not alone, when visiting the BBC’s Website MidEast section the first thing I check is whether there is any fresh news about Alan. If I don’t find any I feel a bit upset. All of us are hungry for news about Alan, and it is great to have the HYS message board so we have the chance to express our concerns and thoughts.
Please keep up the good work & keep Alan’s plight in the public eye. I would even consider a second ‘historic’ live simulcast. Bury the hatchet once more and show unity, courage and determination to stand behind a noble cause. You did it once, quite superbly, so let’s have a re-run.

Best regards,

  • 2.
  • At 01:38 PM on 20 Jun 2007,
  • Ivan Mark Radhakrishnan wrote:

Mr Johnston,

Not for a second have you been forgotten.

On your 100th day of captivity may your Family, Friends, BBC colleagues and fellow Journalists gain strength from this show of humanity.

Millions of people share the concerns of all the people close to you.

I think Alan is one of those brave reporter who put their life in danger only because of the wrong policy put in place by some wrong politician(such as B--,B---)other wise he should be living with his family in UK now, not where he is at the momwent.
Please dont take another innocent life away from us,let Alan come home.

  • 4.
  • At 02:19 PM on 20 Jun 2007,
  • garry mawhinney wrote:

join you in showing solidarity for alan? i'd like to but since the bbc shifted my listening options from shortwave to the internet, i have had to sit by my computer in order to hear the world service. for the record, an obviously taped edition of outlook droned on and on with no 'live' break whatsoever. i guess everyone in New York didnt need to show support for Alan? Shame though, last time i looked the United Nations was still here.

  • 5.
  • At 03:48 PM on 20 Jun 2007,
  • elham wrote:

Free Alan
freedom is the least right of a person. please dont let Alan lose his right of being free

  • 6.
  • At 07:27 PM on 20 Jun 2007,
  • Dr Peter von Kaehne wrote:

We are all here waiting and praying for Alan's release.

Just as Mary McCannon above writes, the first and last thing we check every day on the internet is the news on Alan.

Let Alan go!

Staff at Lochgoilhead Medical Centre

  • 7.
  • At 07:53 PM on 20 Jun 2007,
  • Steven Martin wrote:

Everyone wants Alan Johnston release ASAP, including Hamas. I think it highlights the horror of having a friend or family member imprisoned/kidnapped without charge or trial and having no means to see how they are being treated.

Of course that is exactly the situation over 800 Palestinian "administrative detainees" (including children) and their families find themselves in. Those families would welcome even a tiny fraction of the media attention that Alan Jonston's case has rightfully received. A campaign by the media demanding that the "prisoners" should be either be tried in a civilian court and evidence presented or released, could have a real effect, yet there is no such effort.

In fact the media rarely informs the public of the nature of the prisoners plight. When Hezbollah, Hamas or another group kidnaps an Israeli soldier in an effort to get some of these "administrative detainees" released, the media usually just refers to them as prisoners and does not clarify the situation.

So lets hope Alan is released soon now that Hamas is piling on the pressure, and also let's not forget the hundreds of Palestinians and their families who are in a very similar boat.

  • 8.
  • At 08:02 PM on 20 Jun 2007,
  • Carla Rotolo wrote:

Now at 100 days still watching & waiting. The World Today wakes me at 0800 (CET) here in Sardinia & I listen until it goes off the air at 1000. Then I listen to News Hour at 1500 & check BBC mail. Still waiting. Still hoping. Alan Johnston is a remarkable reporter in a field of many listened to over the years. As the days go by his voice is terribly missed. We in Italy have gotten journalists & other hostages back - so I am convinced that the worldwide audience will see his release. As I said once before, Coraggio, to Alan Johnston, his family, his BBC family & his family of listeners spanning the globe.

  • 9.
  • At 02:22 AM on 21 Jun 2007,
  • Anthony Lawson wrote:

Why didn’t anyone think to add the word ‘Please’ to the posters that BBC staff displayed, around the world, in their request that Alan Johnston be freed?

And doesn't the BBC realise that it could be its own bias that led to one of their reporters being kidnapped?

Here are some examples of that bias. The BBC regularly describes the Israeli wall as a ‘security barrier’; the occupied territories as the ‘disputed territories’ and state sponsored murders, committed on the orders of the Istaeli parliament, become 'targeted killings.’

The BBC seems to have forgotten that Israel established its state on Palestinian land, and has ignored every United Nations resolution to return the land stolen from the Palestinians, and to dismantle the wall. Perhaps when the BBC recognises these injustices, Alan Johnston will be released.

  • 10.
  • At 07:35 AM on 21 Jun 2007,
  • Lucy Nampemba wrote:


your plight has touched many hearts around the globe. This morning I send a message of soldarity and strength. As a journalist working in Africa,i salute you and your efforts in working under difficult circumstances. Remain resolute and may God grant you and your family strength till the time you will walk free. I am hopeful that it will be soon. You remain in our prayers.

Long live freedom of the press and shame to those who want to undermine it!

Lucy Nampemba


  • 11.
  • At 12:58 PM on 21 Jun 2007,
  • David wrote:

Anthony Lawson, it's called a "security barrier" not a wall, because 97% of it is not, in fact, a wall, but a wire fence. Best to get one's facts straight before making daft allegations of bias.

  • 12.
  • At 12:18 AM on 22 Jun 2007,
  • JAMES WYATT wrote:

Keep your chin up Alan we are all hoping for the best results possible. To his MUM & DAD you also should keep your chins up and keep praying for the best.I have been in your position and it is hard. Your family are always in our prayers.

Jim Wyatt

  • 13.
  • At 05:36 PM on 22 Jun 2007,
  • David Jones wrote:

I am a Brit living in the USA. I've lived in 11 different countries so far in my life - born in Sri Lanka and haven't stopped moving yet! Throughout my travels the BBC World Service has always been my primary link to what's happening both at home in the UK and elsewhere. The coverage of the Middle East has always been a particularly strength of BBC coverage and in particular Alan's reports from Gaza have always been extraordinary. I miss Alan, we miss Alan - in the name of whichever God you Believe, Let Him Go - there is NO purpose in keeping him any longer.

  • 14.
  • At 10:39 PM on 22 Jun 2007,
  • nehad ismail, camberley, england wrote:

I am disappointed that Mahmoud Zahar, the Hamas former Foreign Minister appeared on TV last Sunday some 6 days ago to talk tough and then fails to deliver. This what he said: "Alan Johnston will be freed within a few hours" or we will take decisive action. This he said in Arabic as well as English.
Now almost a week later, nothing has been heard.
How can we take seriously any Hamas official who promises action then fails to act.

  • 15.
  • At 04:15 PM on 25 Jun 2007,
  • Marcus wrote:

We hope to see Alan returned soon. Why doesn't the community of journalists see his capture for what it is -- a blatant attempt to control the flow of news from the Palestinian territories? Even Iran and China have not tried this level of media manipulation. By silencing the last independent journalist in Gaza they can stage fictional "massacres" like Jenin and Cana without fear of anyone ever knowing. Perhaps a boycott of unverifiable stories would be in order.

  • 16.
  • At 09:38 AM on 02 Jul 2007,
  • Changwe Kabwe wrote:

I sit and think about Allan almost ever day. My prayer goes to his family, may God, the Allmighty grant them strength to cope in these trying moments. To Allan, i belive your day of Freedom is nearing. To my fellow Journalists, especially in Zambia and generally in Africa, let us continue fighting for a free press.

Changwe C. Kabwe,
Hot FM

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