D. Parvaz is missing in Syria. Public urged to call embassy to demand: “Free Dorothy”
D. Parvaz, a former Seattle Post-Intelligencer journalist, is missing in Syria. She disappeared Friday after arriving at the Damascus airport, reports her current employer, Al Jazeera. A Facebook campaign now urges: Free Dorothy.
Her former P-I colleagues are rallying. They urge the public to contact the embassy to press for her release. Call (202) 232-6316 ext. 139 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. A Twitter campaign uses the hashtag #FreeDorothy.
“Emails and calls really do make a difference. We need to flood the Syria embassy in D.C. with both,” former P-I foreign desk editor Larry Johnson said.
“We are concerned for Dorothy’s safety and wellbeing,” an Al Jazeera spokesman said. “We are requesting full cooperation from the Syrian authorities to determine how she was processed at the airport and what her current location is. We want her returned to us immediately.”
Also from the Al Jazeera report:
Mohamed Abdel Dayem, Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), told Al Jazeera there was “strong evidence” to suggest Parvaz had been detained at Damascus airport.
“Obviously we are worried for the safety of Dorothy, specifically, as we are for numerous other journalists who are in government custody right now,” said Dayem.
He said up to a couple of dozen journalists had been detained in Syria since the current unrest began in mid-March with the number held fluctuating on a daily basis “between a handful and a dozen”.
Joe Copeland, a former P-I editorial writer and columnist who now works at Crosscut, also is a friend of Parvaz’s. “She’s bold and fearless and knows how to handle herself in a tough situation,” he said. “She’s as determined a reporter as anyone I’ve known. She wanted to be on the front lines.”…
Melanie McFarland, another friend who worked with Parvaz at the P-I and briefly at The Seattle Times, said she spoke to her a week ago, and Parvaz told McFarland she had requested to go to Syria. “She’s the bravest person I know,” said McFarland. “This is what she really wanted to do, since the beginning of her career. It’s one of those things, in your blood.”…
“I’m terribly worried,” said Mark Trahant, former editorial-page editor at the P-I who hired Parvaz for the editorial page. “She’s a remarkable journalist, fluent in Arabic and Farsi and knows the culture extremely well.”
Speaking Monday morning, the reporter’s father, Fred Parvaz of North Vancouver, British Columbia, said his daughter had recently returned from covering the earthquake that ravaged Japan when she headed for Syria.
“She’s a very adventurous journalist,” Fred Parvaz told seattlepi.com “She really lives the job. …
“She didn’t say anything, because she knew we’d object.”
Todd Barker, who is Parvaz’s fiance, said he spoke to her by telephone the night before she left for Syria. She didn’t express any concerns about traveling there.
“That wasn’t Dororthy. There was no trepidation,” Barker said.
Barker and Parvaz’s family are working through various embassies to find her and secure her release, he said.