Canadian freelancer Amanda Lindhout and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan are now on their way home, released after 15 months—459 days—of captivity after being taken by gunmen in Mogadishu, Somalia.
It’s difficult to discuss this story in typical journalistic fashion. For starters, there is precious little information as far as exactly how and under what terms the two were released, and who was involved. An anonymous police source noted a $700,000 ransom, but currently this cannot be independently verified. Daniel Clayton, CEO of a Calgary-based security firm, confirmed its involvement in the case, but naturally he’s mum on the details.
Beyond that, though, thinking about the chances journalists take in order to tell the stories of the world is an exercise in sobriety. Some don’t make it back. Some know they won’t be coming back at the outset. When Lindhout and Brennan eventually return home, it would do the rest of us some good to take a moment and step back to reflect on the myriad situations our profession can land us in, and to remember that the best of us display a powerful combination of courage and dedication to our craft.