Thursday, 9 October 2008

Ingrid Betancourt pays tribute to Gilad Shalit at the European Parliament

Source: EJP
"In an emotional address to the European Parliament in Brussels, Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombian presidential candidate who was freed in July after six years in captivity, spoke about others around the world incarcerated against their will, including Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit captured by Palestinians in 2006.
Along with 14 other hostages, Betancourt was rescued by Colombian security forces in July after having been held a total of 2,321 days in captivity by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Betancourt's key message on Wednesday was one of the power of discourse; "the only weapon we can believe in, is the force of words, there is nothing stronger than words."

Betancourt, who is also a French citizen, expressed her thanks to the European Parliament's efforts in creating a public consensus for her plight.
She moved to remind Parliament and its audience of the continuing struggle in Colombia and those who are still incarcerated: "Parliament became aware that more than 3,000 of my countrymen are still suffering. 15 comrades and I were able to rediscover freedom and fight for the release of those others in captivity."

I would like to read out their names - please indulge me for a minute. When they hear their names in this House they will respond with a speeding up of their heartbeat within the tomb of the jungle."
Betancourt read the list of names with tears in her eyes.
She paid also tribute to the Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Corporal Gilad Shalit, who has dual French and Israeli citizenship.

Betancourt has recently launched a campaign for the release of Shalit.

"People all over the world should work for the release of Gilad Shalit. If we adopt globalization for financial goals, the struggle for the release of kidnapped people should also be global," she told last month Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

"If people all over the world work for Gilad Shalit's release, he will be freed," she added.

"Gilad's case affects us all. I understand what Gilad's family is going through. Many people express their sympathy but cannot really understand what a kidnapped person's family goes through. It should be a comprehensive global struggle," the famous captive said."

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