A gesture to help Jill Carroll

A writer launches a symbolic plea for the return of a missing journalist.

Published February 2, 2006 4:18PM (EST)

It has been three days since Al-Jazeera released a video of captured American journalist, Jill Carroll, pleading for her life, and still little is known of her whereabouts or the likelihood of her release. We at Broadsheet continue to be deeply concerned for Carroll's safety, so we thought we'd use this opportunity to highlight (via Boing Boing) writer Abby Frucht's personal -- and quite lovely -- attempt to secure Carroll's peaceful return.

Frucht is reaching out to authors and readers via a network of literary blogs. She writes:

"Okay. Here's what we'll do. We'll each send, to al-Jazeera ... an empty journal, an empty notebook, or even a small sheaf of paper if you don't have a book. On the first page, write a letter like this one: To Al-Jazeera News, I am one of a group of readers and writers sending you this blank book in the hope that Jill Carroll might soon be able to fill it. Please do your best to convey this message to her captors: Let Jill Carroll go, so that she might continue to write about the things that have made you so eager to claim our attention. Through Jill's work, and through the gesture that you will make by setting her free, we other readers, writers, and thinkers will better understand the differences, and the vast similarities, between our corners of the world. Please set this cycle of understanding in motion by letting this brave young writer take her place in it again."

Frucht says that she has decided to send the books to Al-Jazeera because "it is the conduit by which the kidnappers have elected to communicate with the rest of the world. Therefore it should be the conduit by which we attempt to communicate with the kidnappers in return."

If you would like to join Frucht's effort, send a blank book as soon as possible to: Al-Jazeera International, PO Box 23127, Doha, Qatar.

By Sarah Karnasiewicz

Sarah Karnasiewicz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Until recently, she was senior editor at Saveur magazine; prior to that she was deputy Life editor at Salon. She has contributed to the New York Times, the New York Observer and Rolling Stone, among other publications. For more of her work, visit thefastertimes.com/streetfood and Signs and Wonders.

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