Libérez Kenji ! Free Kenji !
Français du Monde-Adfe Tokyo soutient la campagne en cours sur les réseaux sociaux pour la libération de Goto Kenji, otage du groupe terroriste Daesh.
Social media users around the world have deluged a special Facebook page calling for the safety of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto, who is being held captive by the Islamic State extremist group, with selfies proclaiming “I AM KENJI.”
The page (https://www.facebook.com/IAmKenjiGoto) was the brainchild of Taku Nishimae, the 52-year-old president of a New York-based video production company, who has been a friend of Goto’s for more than 10 years.
« Let’s show that we’re united, and tell that it’s unjust to kill innocent citizens and it’s meaningless to turn entire nations against you, » Nishimae writes on the Facebook page. « We’d like to clarify that I AM KENJI is NOT about freedom of speech; Kenji Goto is not a hostage because of his writing as a journalist. I AM KENJI is to show solidarity with Kenji. »
Nishimae created the page on Jan. 20 with a portrait of himself holding a placard with the “I AM KENJI” message. He was inspired by demonstrators around the world who protested the deadly terrorist attack against the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo with the “I am Charlie” slogan.
“If the Islamic State members see the messages posted on the page, they will realize how much Goto is loved by people around the world,” Nishimae said.
In response to Nishimae’s call, people around the world, including those who are friends and acquaintances of the freelance journalist, have posted hundreds of selfies and other pictures featuring “I AM KENJI” or “WE ARE KENJI” messages. The page has also received a rapidly increasing number of likes, with more than 9,500 as of noon on Jan. 26.
Mousa Amhan, a 33-year-old Syrian, quickly joined Nishimae’s campaign as he formerly worked as a translator for Goto as the journalist traveled to a refugee camp in Turkey for news-gathering three years ago.
They immediately hit it off as kindred spirits and jointly launched the « Connect Syria” project to give violence-suffering Syrian children a “window” to the world by giving them computers and instructing them in their use, with Goto donating $2,000 (235,300 yen) for the campaign. They have called each other “brother” ever since, Amhan said.
“Goto is a person filled with a humane spirit, and everyone who has met him immediately fell in love with him. I just want to see him again,” he said.
Muhsen Salman, a 44-year-old Iraqi man, accompanied Goto as a translator as the journalist covered conflict-torn Baghdad between 2004 and 2006.
“Kenji tried to appeal the agony of the Iraqi people to the world. I only hope that he can safely return home and be reunited with his family,” he said.
Among high-profile figures, Robert Campbell, professor of Japanese literature at the University of Tokyo’s graduate school, was the first to post his selfie on the “I AM KENJI” page and his own Facebook timeline on Jan. 25.
“The message simply expresses my earnest desire that he is still alive,” said Campbell, 57. “It is important for individuals to make statements out of a sense of solidarity.”