Atyana, the adventurer
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
President Aquino is right in saying that Jordanian journalist Baker Atyana, who is supposed to be missing or being held hostage by criminal elements in Mindanao, has only himself to blame if, indeed, he is in a predicament now.
For several days now, the case of Atyana, who introduced himself as a journalist wishing to interview some newsworthy characters in Mindanao, has been hogging the news. Atyana had arrived in the country and, on his own, hired two Filipinos as his assistants, then proceeded to some of the most dangerous parts of the South, and can no longer be located.
Earlier reports had said that the police had offered security for Atyana and had also discouraged him from venturing into the areas he was interested in. Apparently he rejected such offers and, with his two Filipino aides, who probably did not know any better themselves, ventured into what can be considered No Man’s Land now.
Attempts by the police and military to determine his whereabouts have been fruitless. Rumors have come out about their being held hostage by the Abu Sayaf bandits, as well as about Atyana being himself part of a group friendly to the rebels in Mindanao.
What is distressing is that the government has to spend a lot of money in the attempt to find him, or to determine his fate. What we should be most concerned about, however, are the two Filipinos who had trusted him, or were convinced by him to go with him. Their families are now full of anxiety and fear about their situation, since nothing has been heard of them.
Who can be blamed for this turn of events, aside from Atyana himself who should be the one to answer for his own derring-do? The story of his adventure, if one can call it that, is getting into the international news and giving our country a bad image.
Most Filipinos probably couldn’t care less what happens to him. But they are surely concerned about their countrymen, who had unwittingly placed themselves in a position where they may have risked either their freedom or their lives.*