Finally some good news from the Middle East: Alan Johnston was freed today!
I've been following the BBC reporter's captivity on the BBC Radio's World Have Your Say call-in show. They have devoted a segment of each day's show to airing pleas for his release and messages of support.
Although I know nothing of Alan or the events surrounding his kidnapping, I admit to getting caught-up in his plight. The initial weeks of silence about whether he was even held captive and the recent images of him attached to a bomb were disturbing.
In typical British understatement, Johnston described his violent captors as "often rude and unpleasant, as you can imagine."
I had wondered if he was able to hear the offers of support on Have Your Say. I'm so glad to hear he did:
I am hugely grateful to all the people - an amazing number of people that worked on the Palestinian side, the British government, the BBC from top to bottom, and a huge amount of support from BBC listeners and viewers.
I had a radio almost throughout, and was able to follow all the extraordinary level of support and interest in my case, and it was a huge psychological boost.
I had added the Alan Johnston button on the blog a few weeks ago, but admittedly wondered when the appropriate time would be to take it down. I'm now gladly removing the Alan Johnston button from the blog.