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Ex-reporter shares experience of Taliban capture with students

Yvonne Ridley, a former chief reporter for the British Sunday Express who was captured for 10 days by the Taliban while undercover in Afghanistan in 2001, recently spoke at UM as part of Islamic Awareness Month.
Ridley said her experiences caused her to become an outspoken critic of the war on terror.
She described how news stories were artificially dramatized because no journalists were ever allowed near enough to the fighting to really see what was happening.
“Some television reporters would pay Afghanis five dollars to shoot their guns close by while the camera rolled,” Ridley said. “Those dramatic, uplifting images you saw of ‘liberated’ Afghanis celebrating after the war were a result of much needed dollars.”
“Some television reporters would pay Afghanis $5 to shoot their guns close by while the camera rolled. Those dramatic, uplifting images you saw… were a result of much needed dollars.” -YVONNE RIDLEY
She also recounted her realization that American and British bombing raids seemed to be at innocent targets.
While held as a captive of the Taliban, she said that she was treated with “courtesy and respect,” even though President Bush has called it the most evil, brutal regime in the world.
“They say that the truth is often the first casualty of war and in Iraq, it’s still in intensive care,” Ridley said.
Sponsoring organizations included the Council of American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Foundation of South Florida, International Muslims at Nova Southeastern University, and the Islamic Society of UM.

Reeva Oza can be contacted at r.oza@umiami.edu.

FACTS ON THE TALIBAN
In 1994, began to emerge as a viable political force, vowing to restore order and enforce strict Islamic law.

Took power in 1996 and imposed harsh Islamic system of law on citizens of Afghanistan.

Banished women from the work force.

Closed schools to girls in cities and expelled women from universities.

Prohibited women from leaving their homes unless accompanied by a close male relative.

March 30, 2004

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.