Things were not looking good for John Ridsdel, the Canadian hostage held by Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao, Southern Philippines. Their demands for 1 Billion Pesos for his release were ludicrous. This was reduced to 300 million (US$750k) but the Canadian government under Trudeau refused to budge, the current President emulating the former Trudeau in not allowing ‘bleeding hearts’ to dictate Government Policy on payment of ransoms to terrorists. John paid with his life yesterday aged 68 when his head was cut off and dumped in a nearby village.
I knew him a few years ago, when he lived in Manila, and met him occasionally for dinner. He was a Tap Blog reader and had some useful comments about the blog’s progress at the time, always lively and full of ideas. It’s hard to believe that someone so full of life has fallen foul of the miserable politicking. The Philippine government felt the need to send troops to attack the hostage-holding terrorists pre-election, to counter accusations of weakness from candidates not favorable to the President. The build-up of pressure in favour of granting a Moslem independent state requires an ongoing series of gruesome media stories.
I wonder if John’s family might have been more successful in obtaining his release by ignoring the Canadian government, which was unwilling to contemplate any payment being made. John was a successful businessman and would have had assets that could have been sold to raise the ransom. His ordeal is over, but not that of the remaining hostages. I hope John is now at peace, and is not a trapped soul unable to move on to his resting place.
Reading Anita Moorjani’s Dying To Be Me, only two weeks ago, makes you wonder if dying can really be the release she claims it to be, a joyful experience. From my own experience of dealing with trapped souls who haunt buildings for centuries, it is clear that not all dying is peaceful. Maybe people who are trapped by a horrible experience when they die need to be released, with assistance from someone who knows how to help them – the kind of work done by another friend of mine who lives in Wales called Steve.