(Picture of Estonia)
The story of the seven kidnapped Estonian tourists has been all over the news for the past few days and still no sign of finding them anywhere. [News]
I must say I find this kidnapping very weird and cannot figure out the motive of the kidnappers. I mean those were all Estonian tourists cycling in the Beqaa. The guns and cars that those gangs attacked with are more worthy than whatever those tourists could have had, unless of course they are transporting an old treasure that they found in the Beqaa valley!
I googled a bit about Estonia [Wiki] and there’s also no political or religious or social or whatsoever reason for us to be in conflict with this country or have any tensions or any kind. Their country is a small peaceful one with almost 1 million habitants and part of the European Union.
There was a similar abduction case back in August 2010 where two Polish tourists were also kidnapped but freed quickly by the Lebanese army [Link]. Could be some bad joke few thugs were trying to pull until they realized there’s no coming back from it.
There’s one thing though I’d like to note here, is that I find a lot of European tourists going to places they shouldn’t go to, or at least not alone. I mean most of the car thefts and crimes that occur in Lebanon take place in the Beqaa and in similar regions, maybe it would be a good idea for the Ministry of tourism to point this out to our tourists before they embark on such journeys. There should be a guide to the risky areas in Lebanon.
Anyway, I Hope that they get released quickly and safely.
Yes, nothing encourages tourism like a “list of risky areas in Lebanon”
Well it sure won’t kill tourism like “7 Estonians get kidnapped in Lebanon”.
I think Lebanon/ any country has a duty to protect visitors…and if anything “fishy” is going wrong those visitors needs to be questioned by the government not by some weird kidnapping…Nothing is innocent in Lebanon but I might be wrong!
I hadn’t heard about this! Crazy!
The motive definitely depends on the origin of the kidnappers, and it seems like they’re not from Lebanon. A security source said to MTV that they were likely taken to Syria. If so, it really sucks for us that everything unfortunate has to take place on our soil:(
The weird part is that they got kidnapped in Broad daylight and still no news???
..But still something is not right! It could be they were photographing riots in Syria and PFLP were commissioned by Syrian mukhabarat to apprehend them. Plausible denial-ability.
BTW..Do you guys honestly think that visitors will be in Lebanon? From where? I would not wander close to ME in these days. It is a powder keg about to explode in different directions…
We had once a visitor at our company who was kidnapped just for taking pictures at some area where there was some flags for a political party! and since then, even though he’s young and open minded and all that bla bla bla, he decided not to come back here! so am sure that kidnapping the estonians tourists could be for a very silly reason, maybe for a ransom?! I hope they will be free real soon and not traumatized!
and the idea for the MOT to inform tourists about areas to avoid, well that’s not a bad idea for their security, only I can not see it will have a positive impact on them
I work in the tourism industry and I just came back from a 15-day excursion accompanying 12 French tourists as a Tour Leader in Syria & Jordan. First of all, and in response to the commentator above who said no westerner in his right mind would consider spending his vacation in the ME, Syria and especially Jordan are crawling with European and Northern American tourists despite the massive cancellations that recently took place due to the recent events and revolutions taking place in various Arabic countries. For those of us in Lebanon who are so used to not seeing any tourists in our country, the misconception that the same case applies in the rest of the region is sadly erroneous. Tourist in Syria & Jordan are well received, honored, respected and well treated. Something we have not learned to do in Lebanon if I may boldly say so. Our neighbors happen to recognize and appreciate the importance of tourism in their respective countries and the substantial income it contributes to their overall GDP, and they act accordingly. In fact, whenever tourists happen to be in a perceivably risky area, security forces are increased, and in some cases armed security escorts are readily offered to insure the safety of the tourists. The theory that the Estonian tourists were abducted by order of some clandestine Syrian agency because they might’ve taken some photos of the demonstrations taking place in Syria is a far fetched idea that doesn’t hold any water. These tourist came from Syria before entering Lebanon and the Beqaa Valley. If that was the case, they would’ve been abducted before entering Lebanon, or better yet, simply have had their cameras confiscated while still in Syria. In fact, while in Amman a few days ago, the tourists I was accompanying took many pictures of the demonstrations when we happened to drive through the area where they were taking place while police officers where looking on with no objections. We even drove through Daraa during the demonstrations a few days before and no one objected or stood in our ways. Anyways, all videos and images of said demonstrations have already made it on TV and the Internet. No matter how you look at it, it’s a botched theory.
The hard fact is, that Lebanon is a lawless country, and these poor tourist happened to venture into the wrong neighborhood and into the wrong hands. I’m sure the underlying motive behind this abduction is strictly for financial gain conducted by the same hoodlums who are responsible for all the robberies, murders and car thefts in Lebanon. Shame on our absent government who can’t even control a bunch of family based gangsters holed-up in certain areas of the Beqaa Valley under some bogus tribal claims. How the heck can we expect our nation to fend for itself when it can’t even deal with a bunch of thieves in a few backwards villages in the Beqaa?! Western tourists are banned by their respective nations to come to Lebanon, and now after this sad event, I wouldn’t be surprised if none will come for decades to come. I just hope that these poor tourists are released unharmed soon and returned to their country. We are viewed as savages by Europeans and Americans as it is. If this unfolds badly, it will serve but to solidify these stereotypes in the eyes of the world. Maybe we deserve it!
Not sure about the tourism part, i know technically they are tourists, but they are 7 riding the bicycles through some hostile terrain. anyway, when i first heard, i had the feeling that it’s either drug related aka gang related, or and I’m going out on a limb here, they are involved in some mischief and parading as harmless biker tourists. I won’t go as far as describing them as spies sent to undermine the totalitarian regime, but perhaps they are a reconnaissance party sent over to scout some juicy targets in the Bekaa… read a story in Israeli media a few weeks back that their intel is well positioned in our country and ready to pounce at a moment’s notice…maybe they were pouncing on their bicycles? i don’t know i’m speculating, but it sounds fishy…after all they are crazy cyclists…they should be harmless
duud..the bikers were tourists. estonians have a habbit of biking arount the world. 😀
I did not want to answer to your assertions about of Jordan & Syria crawling with foreign tourists because I don’t want to make political statements. However, I know this is more of a security problem… I guess you should pay heed to the USA & Canadian governments travel warnings(to ME) to their nationals.
You said:”The theory that the Estonian tourists were abducted by order of some clandestine Syrian agency because….”
I guess I could be right after all? …As usual I must admit humbly:D