Five years later, I can laugh about something that nearly broke me back then. I was writing my guts out, trying not to think where Elie was…and trying to forget the huge booms I heard in the background the few times I was able to speak to him on the phone.
In the midst of all of this, I was contacted by some journalists. I don’t know whether my blog appearing in The Guardian and the New York Times came before or after these contacts. Only later did I find out that these newspapers had found my blog and quoted a small section. It was enough to send my daily visits above 10,000 per day…but not enough, for me to notice.
I was focused on getting through each day; trying to keep Elie’s brothers and sisters from understanding that I was terrified. So, I spoke to a journalist from Italy, and another from Korea. And then I got an email with a request from a journalist in Indonesia name Faisal.
I didn’t trust him – rightly so. And so I suggested that he send me his questions and I would answer them. That way, I thought, it would be documented and he couldn’t edit or censor it without my having proof of the context in which I placed my words.
His questions were hilarious…and so I decided to answer them on MY blog rather than in his newspaper. At one point I asked him how stupid he thought I was. I wrote the post here:
What I should have done in the first place, was to search for Faisal Assegaf. Then, I would have come to his blog, Hamas Lovers. He claimed that he picked the name to attract attention. Whatever his reasons, it appears then and now, he makes a policy of stealing pictures from other sites and doesn’t easily understand the concept of copyright infringement.
When I found his blog, I was shocked to see a picture of Elie there. I lost it, plain and simple. I threatened to sue him for international copyright infringement and in an email I sent him – I think I also threatened to sue his newspaper, his city and maybe even his country. It’s kind of a blur. I gave him 24 hours…amazingly enough, Elie’s picture was down within 5 minutes – later replaced by another picture of another Israeli soldier…and there are others there as well.