I was driving down to San Diego and I happened to pick up a program interviewing their three mothers and let me tell you, it was fascinating stuff. It kept me awake during the entire two hour drive.
If you’re not familiar with their story, here it is in a nutshell:
Three young Americans, Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, were hiking in Iraq and because of a lousy map, they accidentally crossed the border into Iran and were subsequently arrested. They have spent the past 10 months in an Iranian jail and their mothers were able to visit them recently for the first time.
So that’s the simple story and as always, things are not always as they appear.
As it turns out, these three were not vacationing in the Middle East and even one of their mothers admitted that they were not "accidental tourists". They are political activists who were in the Middle East to protest the American treatment of Iraq. Two out of the three were living in the Middle East at the time while the third was visiting. In other words, they should have been very aware of the politics, the culture and certainly the geography of the region.
The three hikers, along with 15000 facebook friends, are protesting their innocence by saying that they stumbled into Iran and deserve to be set free. The Iranians are saying that they are spies and are holding them for an indefinite period of time.
IF you believe that these hikers “stumbled” into Iran, then I have a beautiful new bridge in Brooklyn that I would like to sell you. I have lived around the world and I know that there are some places in the world that are very inhospitable, if not downright dangerous, to foreigners. In fact, I’m guessing that most Americans know that. This leaves me to conclude that either these hikers are complete morons (it’s possible but they are college educated and supposedly savvy about international matters) or they were really doing something that they should not have been doing. Yeah, it sucks to be in a foreign jail but that’s what you get for breaking the law in Iran. THEY ARE FREAKIN’ LUCKY THEY AREN’T GETTING STONED TO DEATH!
Geezes, didn’t they see Midnight Express? You get caught doing something illegal in some countries and the punishment is steep. Yes, the punishment does seem severe to our eyes but I’m tired of people who are culturally myopic; it’s their country and they have certain laws that are followed.
What irks me the most is how the criminals are asking the American government to help them. WTF? This is the same government that they were PROTESTING! Don’t they think that the American government has enough on their hands without helping their pathetic asses in a foreign jail?
The people I feel sorry for are the mothers. Mothers love their offspring no matter how dumb or politically misguided they are. I’m sure they truly believe their children are innocent, God bless their naïve souls and for their sakes, I do hope the the hikers make it home alive.
And I hope they’re never allowed to go near the Middle East again.
If you want to read some propaganda, please check out their website at www.freethehikers.org