Free. Florence and Hussein are free. Just look at them and you’ll understand that the bastards yielded and that freedom, courage and determination won. Following the joy of having them back, a set of questions remains.
You’ll never know whether a ransom was paid and that’s a whole lot better since it would help fix tomorrow’s rates. Aldo Moro’s case reminds us that it is ethically fair to pay, though in secret. The millions that have undoubtedly been paid are the tragic price of the freedom of expression. Was that much media noise necessary? Wasn’t the media admitting that the captors were right by speaking too much of this kidnapping? However, when everything was weighed up, Serge July and Robert Menard were definitely thought to be in the right for having encouraged us to demonstrate without preoccupation or fatigue. It was through demonstration that we shook the immovable nature of those cold monsters known as States. When Michel Barnier applauded the DGSE work and its “guts”, he knew damn well that without demonstrations, no DGSE agents would have turned up in Baghdad and that Florence and Hussein would have joined the number of losses and profits, which is well evidenced in the case of Ingrid Betancourt.
Such kidnappings have brought to the surface the dangerous risks that journalists are taking. Will it be necessary, as some already wish, to stop covering those conflicts that are too risky? Will it be necessary, as many U.S. journalists do, to agree to the unnatural practice of embedding? Will covered journalism have to be practiced? These issues are taboo but I can’t see how the profession would skip it.
And what about the kidnappers? Is the fact that they have never identified themselves or claimed responsibility for their crimes the proof that there was only a financial purpose? This is what we are partly told by different sources and this is what they want us to believe in. However, I can remember the Daniel Pearl’s case and the extraordinary complexity of the logic used for just a few-day case. But why, 157 days! I find it hard to believe that a group acting without any political or ideological sponsor has not yet collapsed or killed each other after so long a time. Based on this, the above question would not be trivial. Even less when there is at least one country in the region: Syria, that is not used to claiming responsibility for its crimes.

Le Point (France)

"Après la libération de Florence Aubenas, les questions ", by Bernard Henry Lévy, Le Point, June 16, 2005.