This absurd interview with a POW who has been incarcerated for 5 years, is a new low in media.
Shalit looks like he was dragged to this interview, and the question must be asked: was he even given the choice to agree to the interview? His breathing was labored, said he wasn’t feeling well, and clearly wanted to leave. The interviewer, Shahira Amin of Nile TV, asked the most ridiculous questions, and even got into a verbal fight with the translator, who was saying that the interviewee was tired. Shalit stuck in there and tried to answer as best he could, but was clearly suffering. Despite all of this, he kept his composure and answered some pretty tough questions, while Amin devolved further and further into the journalistic abyss. For many Israelis, this was obscene. Like another form of torture.
Seriously. What’s up with this woman?
Israel Radio reported that the interview was organized by Egyptian intelligence. Some of Shalit’s quotes were mistranslated by the translator; and someone off camera was telling the interviewer to hurry up and finish the interview. Looks like just more of the general chaos taking hold in today’s Egypt.
Shalit said “Actually I don’t feel very well, am not used to seeing so many people,” but the translator said: “He feels well, thanks the people who freed him.”
The ‘best’ question from Amin: “During all your years of captivity you released only one video. Why just once?”
Answer: Well Shahira, I felt that more than one video would dilute the aura of mysteriousness I was trying to create around myself, so after speaking to my agents I decided to quit while I was ahead.
But seriously, another thing that is strange about that question, is that the Hebrew-Arabic interpreter tacked this part of the question [about the video] to the end of the last question, even before Amin had asked it. Now I may be mistaken, and the interview does jump and overlay between two audio tracks [including Arab dubbing on Shalit's answers], but the interpreter says to Amin, just after she asks the question about the video: “We’ve just asked him that question in the previous one.” So what does that tell us? That the interpreter had her list of questions and jumped the gun? Check it out at 03:37 and see for yourself. The interpreter actually tells Amin that he’d just asked that question…
Amin: “What has the experience taught you, has it made you stronger?”
Answer: Well Shahira, right now you’re the first woman I’ve seen in 5 years and 4 months, actually one of the only people I’ve seen or spoken to in 5 years and 4 months; I’m a bit dazed, tired, and I really want to lie down. I think this experience has taught me, what was the question again?”
In reality, Shalit actually did really well here. He’s clearly dazed, but answers: “I think that I’ve learned that its possible to swap prisoners in a shorter time period.” And then he runs out of steam..
I don’t know where Gilad found the strength to deal with this interview.
And when the interviewer asks, in what is an extremely leading question: There are 4,000 Palestinians languishing in Israeli jails, will you campaign to free them?
He replies, with intelligence and dignity: “I will be glad if they are released, and if they do not continue fighting against Israel. I hope this deal furthers peace between Israel and Palestinians and that there will be no more wars between them.” A solid, balanced and intelligent answer, from a young man who just this minute has emerged from a long, long stint in hell. What strength of character..
What can we learn from what Shalit said?
He said he “tried to break the routine and not do the same things every day.” This takes awareness and intelligence. And it also points to what must have been a very difficult incarceration for such a young man.
“I hoped that I would get out, but also realized that I could find myself in this situation for very many years.” Could be a sign that he was beginning to steel himself for a longer incarceration. Another sign of intelligence and character.
He said he was “not used to seeing so many people” – indicating that he was kept by a very small group of people and that this group probably didn’t change much.
“I received the information [about the impending release] a week ago, but I felt it was coming about a month ago.” He is perceptive, looking for and picking up signals and subtext.
Ynet: Israeli officials say Egypt TV interview with Gilad Shalit was not in accordance with agreement, delayed his return to Israel.
AP: Israeli official said Tuesday, “We are all shocked that a so-called interview was forced on (Shalit).”
I guess this is what you can expect if you’re a POW in the age of reality TV and instant gratification and the war for ratings. Good job Egypt TV – fail.