One of the most dramatic moments during my time with the Malaysian Armed Forces in Afghanistan was when the Taliban attacked an ANP (Afghan National Police) checkpoint. They were rained with gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades, and they came to the Malaysians desperate for help.
The picture above is of the Malaysians (MALCON ISAF 2) assessing the situation and trying to gather intelligence in order to decide their next step.
And for some context, below is a video of the exact incident that took place in the mountains of Bamiyan, Afghanistan.
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The Islamic State seem to be doing a much better job on the Internet than Al-Qaeda or the Taliban ever did in their day. But they all will never be able to beat the Internet-savviness of that Nigerian prince!
As a journalist, one of the things that I do worry about is being detained or kidnapped while in a conflict zone. With all the beheadings that have been happening online… all the courage in the world woudn’t make me feel courageous! I have actually been detained and interrogated once. It was by the military in Lebanon right when I was about to cross the border out of the country. It was 2007 and at that time, they were going through the Nahr Al-Bared conflict. But it was only for a few hour and they let me go after they deleted some photos I had taken of their checkpoint. Even then, I almost peed my pants!
So I can’t imagine how more macho journalists like Sean Langan and Sean McAllister can stay strong when they get held for months. Sean Langan was kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan and held for three months. BBC made a re-enacted film out of his ordeal:
Sean McAllister (who I am now friends with after having the opportunity to hang out with him at the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival in 2011) was detained in Syria and accused of being a spy. CNN’s Anderson Cooper interviewed him:
And the latest that has caught my attention has to be the detention of Vice News journalist Simon Ostrovsky in Ukraine by pro-Russian forces. It’s just that I’m a loyal viewer/reader of Vice and I’ve actually been following Ostrovsky’s daily video dispatches from there on a regular basis. Suddenly, the guy just disappears for four days and then they let him go. Not before beating and torturing him, of course. He was released last Thursday (24 April 2014). Here’s he’s account of what happened:
I guess I’ve been taking it easy seeing that the last international assignments I’ve been on in the past six months have been in London, Stockholm and Perth.
KUALA LUMPUR: Wasatiyyah – an ‘Islamic’ term that I have heard over and over again. I’ve heard it in Malaysia. I’ve heard it in the Middle-East. I’ve heard it in the West. I’ve heard it, well, everywhere.
It’s a simple term with a simple definition. It basically just means moderation. Moderation in everything that we do in life so that there is a balance. Islam condones it.
So here I shall reveal my life mission of bringing down and stopping Ridhuan Tee Abdullah from ever writing anything hate-filled against people of different faiths other than his.
What religion is he? He is a Muslim and practices the Islamic faith, the same faith that I was born into and have decided upon reaching adulthood to stick with.
FEB 22 — I have spent many years of my professional career trying to promote and encourage a multicultural and multireligious Malaysia. I have had to face personal sacrifice, peril and risk to bring my fight to the fore. Well, not really lah. But I do feel very passionate about it.
A career which started out really as a personal interest has become much more as I feel that I now have a responsibility to my country and countrymen. I want to play as much a role as I can in shaping Malaysia to be the coolest country on the planet. A country perfect for my daughter Athena Azlee to grow up in.
I normally don’t get angry or mad in my writings or even in my documentaries. I rant, and mostly whine, but I never fill my content with anger and hatred. So imagine my disgust when I read what Ridhuan Tee Abdullah (yes, my favourite columnist!) wrote in his column in Sinar Harian on February 18.