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The Three (now two) hikers held by Iran

 
 
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 07:43 pm
Is is only me who finds it very weird that those three chose the Iraqi-Iranian border to go hiking of all the places in the world? "Say, let's go for a hike" "Great idea. Where should we go? I hear the Appalachian trail is interesting" "Nah, I have a better idea. Let's hike along the Iraqi-Iranian border". Huh? And what I find just as weird is that when one of them was released, she had lot's of interviews, and so far as I can tell, not one interviewer asked her the question, why did you choose that area to hike in? Not one. I would have thought that would be the first question to ask.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 5 • Views: 1,520 • Replies: 23
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 08:08 pm
@kennethamy,
That occurred to me, but I've no clue re hiking near Iran.

I have/had a pal in Los Angeles who emigrated back when, post shah. Mostly I listened to him, info gathering but also understanding him. From what I remember, he was a 'prince' in his area. His family owned major land, as I understand it.

Just because I liked this guy and his wife doesn't mean that I agreed with them then. I was well aware of nastybodies, as a friend used to say. And as many on earth can say about each other.

What I don't know is the background of these hikers. Maybe they are actual explorers. I know one of those.
I don't know the area, nor the reason anyone would hike there, casually or not, nor the trio's background.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 08:43 pm
Most people don't realize this but before the overthrow of the Shah of Iran (may he burn in the flames of Hades), northern Iran, near the Iraqi border, was a prime ski vacation destination for the jet set. Those 'beautiful people' who had gotten bored with the crowded ski lifts of Switzerland found that area of Iran a breath of fresh air. Ski locales like that usually have prime hiking trails as well. While I agree wholeheartedly that any reporter worth his press credentials should have asked immediately "What the heck were you doing in what amounts to a war zone anyway?" there are really any number of potential explanations, none of them sinister or necessarily connected to any covert actions.
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 08:51 pm
@Merry Andrew,
None of these hikers seem old enough to 'know' anything about the time before the Iranian Revolution, let alone the time that the area was a key winter sport vacation spot.

I'm going to take a stab at their reason for being in the area as some kind of idealistic human rights expedition ... perhaps to smuggle in some literature or smuggle out some key intellectual. No sinister plot driven by the CIA or equal intelligence agency. Something on the lines of a lesser Journalists Without Borders but with more idealism and less media attention grabbing.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:04 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Thanks for that clue. (I have a small memory of friend talking about speeding cars).

What I remember of my friend and his wife was that he was a godfather guy, son of a godfather guy, something about mountains.

Like Merry, I don't know.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:05 pm
@tsarstepan,
I may buy that. Seems most likely.

Dunno.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 09:07 pm
@ossobuco,
The problem with my posts is that I never knew the geography of where our friend's family ruled.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Sep, 2010 10:11 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Quote:
none of them sinister or necessarily connected to any covert actions.


Naaaa, they're Americans so there's no chance that there was anything sinister or covert. The USA doesn't do that stuff.

The Iranians should probably waterboard them to get to the truth.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  2  
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 12:02 am
The thing just seems fishy to me, and the fact that no one asks them why they could not find any place to hike less perilous seems at least as fishy. It just makes no sense.
Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 09:56 am
@kennethamy,
Quote:
...she had lot's of interviews, and so far as I can tell, not one interviewer asked her the question, why did you choose that area to hike in? Not one. I would have thought that would be the first question to ask.


I've read at least one account by Sarah in which she gave a somewhat plausible explanation. Once they'd decided upon Northern Iraq as a destination and arrived there, they inquired about hiking trails, learning of a village with a waterfall that was something of a tourist attraction for locals. According to Sarah, they spent the night in the village after dining and talking with some villagers and tourists, and the following morning asked about good places to hike.

She said the language was somewhat of a problem, but they managed 'fairly' well. They were given directions to an area even further north that was said to have good trails. She didn't mention having or looking at a map which is odd to me, since it might have shown the proximity of Iran to the area. Who travels without a map in unfamiliar areas? She also didn't mention anything about any warnings given about how close they'd be to the border, but as you suggest, she wasn't asked about that. I guess it's possible that it was mentioned and due to the language barrier, it wasn't understood?

Lots of unanswered questions, but with her friends still held there, maybe she's uncomfortable releasing too many details.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 10:16 am
@Irishk,
Irishk wrote:

Quote:
...she had lot's of interviews, and so far as I can tell, not one interviewer asked her the question, why did you choose that area to hike in? Not one. I would have thought that would be the first question to ask.


I've read at least one account by Sarah in which she gave a somewhat plausible explanation. Once they'd decided upon Northern Iraq as a destination and arrived there, they inquired about hiking trails, learning of a village with a waterfall that was something of a tourist attraction for locals. According to Sarah, they spent the night in the village after dining and talking with some villagers and tourists, and the following morning asked about good places to hike.

She said the language was somewhat of a problem, but they managed 'fairly' well. They were given directions to an area even further north that was said to have good trails. She didn't mention having or looking at a map which is odd to me, since it might have shown the proximity of Iran to the area. Who travels without a map in unfamiliar areas? She also didn't mention anything about any warnings given about how close they'd be to the border, but as you suggest, she wasn't asked about that. I guess it's possible that it was mentioned and due to the language barrier, it wasn't understood?

Lots of unanswered questions, but with her friends still held there, maybe she's uncomfortable releasing too many details.


Smells very fishy to me. Why did they decide on northern Iraq as a destination, of all places? I have not heard of its being a particularly desirable place to hike. And, have they heard, there is fighting all over Iraq? Why would you go to a war zone to do a little hiking? And did she expect there would be signs there (in English, since there knew no Arabic or Persian)? Hard to believe.
Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 10:40 am
@kennethamy,
Sarah's explanation for choosing that destination was that it is well known that the area was relatively peaceful and was not considered to be a war zone. She'd been living and working in Syria at the time, along with her fiance. She said that they had problems with the Kurdish language (none of them spoke/understood it), but I got the impression that they managed well enough in their travels with what she described as a limited knowledge of Arabic.

I understand your skepticism. There are gaps to be filled in. We'll probably have to buy the book.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 11:52 am
@Irishk,
Irishk wrote:

Sarah's explanation for choosing that destination was that it is well known that the area was relatively peaceful and was not considered to be a war zone. She'd been living and working in Syria at the time, along with her fiance. She said that they had problems with the Kurdish language (none of them spoke/understood it), but I got the impression that they managed well enough in their travels with what she described as a limited knowledge of Arabic.

I understand your skepticism. There are gaps to be filled in. We'll probably have to buy the book.


They sound like very complacent people, to put it mildly. Well, it takes all kinds, I suppose, and I must say that from what I could tell from watching Sarah, she is certainly not my intellectual cup of tea. Either she puts on a good act, or she really is bewildered by the world.
Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 12:18 pm
@kennethamy,
Depends on your perspective, I guess.

There are certainly stranger places to vacation.

Or I guess one could say, equally as strange....depending upon one's perspective.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 02:18 pm
@Irishk,
Irishk wrote:

Depends on your perspective, I guess.

There are certainly stranger places to vacation.

Or I guess one could say, equally as strange....depending upon one's perspective.


Strange is one thing. Dangerous is a different thing. That is like, foolhardy.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 02:28 pm
@kennethamy,
It wouldn't be if the USA hadn't made such an enemy out of Iran with their gross and deeply immoral interference in the country's governance and life.
kennethamy
 
  2  
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 02:57 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

It wouldn't be if the USA hadn't made such an enemy out of Iran with their gross and deeply immoral interference in the country's governance and life.


What in the world has that to do with it?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 05:41 pm
@Irishk,
That's interesting, irishk.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 09:27 pm
@kennethamy,
Quote:
What in the world has that to do with it?


Iran would not be justifiably concerned about American CIA and Americans could easily visit Iran and be warmly welcomed. When you've **** all over people, they're, again, justifiably reticent to want you noseying around their home.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Sep, 2010 10:05 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

Quote:
What in the world has that to do with it?


Iran would not be justifiably concerned about American CIA and Americans could easily visit Iran and be warmly welcomed. When you've **** all over people, they're, again, justifiably reticent to want you noseying around their home.


But what has that to do with the foolishness of the hikers?
 

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