589

A Canadian aid worker kidnapped in the Gaza Strip told CBC News he was treated roughly…

until his captors believed his claims that he was not American.

Budzanowski was kidnapped Tuesday morning from the Gaza office of JumpStart, the U.S.-based aid organization he works for. At least 11 foreigners were kidnapped in Gaza and the West Bank in response to Tuesday’s Israeli raid on a Palestinian-run Jericho prison.

The Toronto native said armed men burst into the JumpStart office and aimed their guns at him because they thought he was American. They didn’t believe he was Canadian, even when he showed them his passport.

“It’s not very pleasant to be recognized as an American. They give special treatment to people of American origin,” he said.

Budzanowski said four men surrounded him in the backseat of a vehicle as he was driven to a building.

“It was a rough ride at high speeds,” he said.

With a mask over his head, Budzanowski said he was taken to a building with cement floors, shoved against a wall, a door and pushed down a staircase.

“I was sure they were going to physically harm me,” he said.

Budzanowski said he was moved at least four times overnight and prevented from sleeping.

But he said his captors treated him “nicely” when they realized he was Canadian.

“Later at night when they realized, they changed from extreme rough to lightly rough. Today they changed and treated me nicely,” he said.

10 thoughts on “589

  1. I certainly have experienced that on a much milder scale travelling in Europe. You’d go into a store or a restaurant and you were forceably ignored or overtly scowled at. I’d ask them in their language what I needed to know and forced them to pay attention to me. I’d literally see their eyes dart in hostility from my face to the tiny little Canada flag pin I wore on my collar and <snap> everything would change. They would often apologize profusely for thinking I was an American and then take extra special care of me by way of compensation.

    It was certainly nice to be treated well, but it scared the shit out of me at how much hatred they held for Americans and what that implied about how the next fifty years are going to play out.

  2. In addition to being asked if I’m Chinese, Asian, Indian, and/or European, occassionally people ask me if I’m American. My standard response is “oh no no no, Canadian!” This causes many people to say “Oh, Canada! I love Canada. I would like to go there very much.” Some times people ask me if I can help them get a visa and I have to explain that I have no power to obtain visas for anyone.

  3. it was very evident as i travelled to western europe after sept. 11 2001…but i have to say the obvious americans were painful to be near; the arrogance, bickering with shopkeepers, just everything…it’s sad when you see so many reasons to support any particular prejudice, but truly it was painfully obvious -why- last time i was there.

  4. We actually found that the Brits were the *worst* tourists by a fairly wide margin. Americans definitely came up second worst tourists and then… there was a fairly broad tie for third trailing behind by another fairly wide margin. Note: The people just rolled their eyes at the British whereas they went out of their way to show their dislike to the Americans.

  5. heh, wouldn’t be the first time something like this went down. A couple months ago Iraq had the same thing, 2 capped with a couple other people. CDN FTW, others got dead, canadians were untied, fed all of that and then let go. I bet the Christian people that just got capped the US guy died, just 2 brits and 2 CDN, I’ll be the british guy will die and the other guys will be ok.

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