Islamonline dialogue with friends of hostages
Iraqi blogger Khalid Jarrar says: "I have known these women for along time, I know the activities they were involved in: They were building schools and hospitals, providing water to remote villages, promoting humanitarian aid, medicine, and working on educational programs. They care about the Iraqi people. They have adopted the Iraqi case as if it was their case."
Kathy Kelly from Voices in the Wilderness says: "Simona’s character and courage were very obvious throughout the terrible bombing attacks. She comforted people, including grandparents and children. She maintained calm which helped the teenagers and others. People readily loved Simona and appreciated the fact that she didn’t leave them when times were especially difficult. Immediately after the occupation began, Baghdad streets still weren’t safe. I was amazed by Simona’s dedication to he work. She was traveling with medics into Baghdad neighborhoods and areas on the outskirts of Baghdad to deliver needed meds and bring medical attention. I deeply admire Simona Toretta."
British film-maker/activist Julia Guest says: "Everytime I saw both Simona Pari and Simona Torreta, they were engaged in an act of building a link with communities and giving help where they could. I traveled on a coach into Fallujah during the siege, carrying some of the medical aid they sent in. It was saving lives... in the darkest hour."
Kathy Kelly tells a story about Ra'ad: "Ra'ad had assigned his [engineering] students a project in which they were to construct bridges made of paper clips, string and cardboard – the projects were due April 25th. After the occupation began, Raad went to his students’ neighborhoods and tried to make a radio broadcast to say that their projects were still due! He felt that the students needed to feel the accomplishment of completing work that helped reinforce attentiveness to detail and innovation ... more than ever, their skills of rebuilding and imagination would be needed."