A year ago this week, I was listening to a radio programme which made such an impression on me that my thoughts have returned to it many times since. It was a 30-minute essay by the BBC reporter, Alan Johnston, in which he described his experience of being kidnapped and held hostage in Gaza. He’d been seized by Palestinian militants in March 2007, and held for nearly four months.
As a BBC employee at the time, and a former journalist, I’d naturally taken a great interest in his story and shared the relief and joy that coursed through the organisation when he was released. I didn’t know Alan Johnston personally, but recognised the integrity and courage of his journalism. In describing his ordeal, he showed characteristic decency as his narrative combined understanding of his tormentors with great insight into his personal condition.