Ill-Fated Fellow Travelers Meet the Real Middle East

Zeno Cosini (pseudonym) is a writer, filmmaker and translator. A South American of Italian origin, he has lived in Italy, Canada and Los Angeles. He is currently writing a book about violence in American cinema. He blogs at nostalgicfuturist.wordpress.com


The recent news that a young Canadian-American couple has disappeared while travelling in Afghanistan and is still unaccounted for shows the extent to which some people will go in order to fulfil their strange liberal fantasies. Caitlan Coleman was 27 year old and pregnant with child when the couple was last heard of, in October 2011. It is not clear how they managed to sneak into the war-torn country, but apparently they intended to “help Afghans” by finding work in a local aid agency. Caitlan, an American citizen, and her husband, Joshua Boyle, Canadian, were described by their parents as “naive” and “adventuresome” with a “humanitarian bent”; others might prefer to describe them less generously as “deluded” or “dumb liberals.”

Mr. Boyle was previously married to the sister of a former jihadist, so maybe his trip was not that innocent; in any case, before settling in Afghanistan the couple had been travelling for over a year around many other Third World countries, in Latin America and in the Asian subcontinent, also working with local NGOs, so we might as well take at face value their idealism. In fact, even Joshua’s marriage to Zaynab Khadr, which lasted for less than a year, might be part of the same anti-Western political activism more than an attempt at a meaningful relationship.

What brings people raised in comfort to go to the most dangerous places on earth? Is it a death wish, an honest desire to help the less fortunate, or is it something else?

If Joshua had gone alone to the Afghanistan plains it would be one thing, but to take a pregnant wife over there seems at least irresponsible, if not crazy. Caitlan’s attitude, risking the life of her unborn child, is not much better. Could they be so naive as to think that nothing would happen to them, just because they were sympathetic to the locals? Yet over and over we see similar cases of Westerners, and particularly Western women, who go out of their way to meet a harmful end.

One of the most extreme cases was that of Pippa Bacca, an Italian artist. A 33-year old single woman, she travelled alone by hitchhiking through dangerous Muslim countries dressed as a bride. You see, it was all part of an art project intending to show that “all people are equally good,” or some other similar liberal platitude. The idea was to finally get to the Jerusalem, where she would preach peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Was the idea of going dressed as a bride perhaps a reflection of an unconscious desire of finding a husband, or a nostalgic nod to a more traditional past? Was it a cry for help in a world where people are growingly disconnected from reality? We’ll never know. In the end, her sad “marriage” was consummated when somewhere in the middle of Turkey a man offered her a lift, took her to a desolate place, raped her and strangled her, then threw her naked body in some nearby bushes. And that’s not the worst: according to recent DNA evidence, she might even have been subject to a gang rape before she died.

Many people living in developed countries seem to take their cues from the fictions shown in film and television, and so they are unprepared for what life in the Third World really is like. Women in particular, having grown under the misleading influence of feminism, seem to be totally oblivious to the risks involved in such adventures. Feminism tells them that they have the “right” to walk around unmolested anywhere on earth; unfortunately, not all men seem to understand the concept of female empowerment or even that “no means no.”

Perhaps modern leftism can be understood as a corruption of Christianity, where the concept of “doing good” is divorced from any moral foundation and from any logical assessment of risks. Or perhaps, since hardcore leftism is really shorthand for anti-Western activism, acts such as those of Pippa Bacca and Caitlan Coleman are simply the result of taking such activism to its logical conclusion: in order to hasten the end of Western civilization and assuage their guilt, they immolate themselves at the hands of their beloved “Other.”

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  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    What is being witnessed is the alliance between the reds and greens, even if some prefer to call it assistance to the third world. Poppycock. They know what they are doing, at least most of them – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/08/19/comrades-in-a

    As such, they deserve what the get. After all, adults are supposed to do their due diligence, thus understanding with whom they are getting in bed with!

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel – http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • Asher

      These people showed absolute complacency and stupidity, not real knowledge of Islam. Islam doesn't care about any infidels, Christians, Jews, or other nationalities humane efforts, their goals are Jihad. If you don't line up with their belief system, you are toast.

    • Jay

      They truly believe that Muslims are the victims of the West and have been wrongly maligned, that jihad is a reaction against Western neo colonialism. They don't see Muslims Caliphate imperial dreams. They see historical Islamic imperialism as a wonderful whitewashed past, which only reinforces how ring the Muslims were by the West to be brought so low now.

  • UCSPanther

    When westerners go to places like Afghanistan and the like, I can liken it to earthworms trying to co-exist with land planarians.

  • Chezwick

    ZINO COSINI: Feminism tells them that they have the “right” to walk around unmolested anywhere on earth; unfortunately, not all men seem to understand the concept of female empowerment or even that “no means no.”

    Mr Cosini is being exceedingly mild here. The men of the Muslim world – via theology and tradition – are actively inculcated with gender supremacism and misogyny.

    Anti-women quotes from Muhammad as recorded in the Hadith collection of Bukari:

    "The majority of the residents of hell are women."

    "Women are deficient in intelligence and religion."

    From the Quran, codifying man's relationship with his woman:

    4.34 If you fear disloyalty or ill-conduct, first admonish her, then deny her your bed, and lastly, beat her.

    Finally folks, there are a slew of Western women who went to the Palestinian territories over the past decade to serve as activists against "occupation", and who ended up "marrying" local Palestinian men and literally dropping off the face of the earth, presumably living as prisoners/concubines in the houses of their kidnappers. Even those who are eventually rescued refuse to go public with their ordeal, fearing it might hurt the "cause". It is misplaced idealism taken to the level of absurdity.

    • EarlyBird

      Cosini was using understatement to make his point. He clearly is aware of how awful Islam is to women.

    • Boo

      When I was a student in a non-Muslim nation (Ukraine) I had classmates from Afghanistan and from Pakistan. The latter always looked at me as if they hated me, but the Afghanis reached out to me in friendship and looked out for me, always having me join them in the snack bar when I was otherwise alone in a room full of Muslim students, mostly male. I only realized in hindsight that they were probably protecting me, and from more than I knew. Not all Afghanis are evil and I hope if this young couple is still alive, they will be found and protected by men like my classmates of old.

  • jakespoon

    I hope they're still alive. Their idealism may have gotten them killed,along with their unborn child. Idealism must be tempered with at least some intelligence. If not,it's delusional.

    • Mary Sue

      if she's still alive she's living in a self-contained tent (burka) right about now…

    • johnnywoods

      To be Islamic is to be without intelligece or common sense. Islam is a religion for idiots and wild beasts.

  • Stephan

    She should have started in Israel wearing a huge Christian cross.

    • Nehama, UK

      What does that even mean?

    • Lillith66

      Yeah, and…..then, what?!!??

    • Gabrielle

      I hope you will come back and explain that statement, as it stands now we are left wondering what the connection could possibly be. Perhaps you wandered into the wrong thread and such a comment would make perfect sense somewhere else?

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Or better, started in Saudi Arabia, on the road to Meeca, wearing a huge Christian cross.

    • Mary Sue

      If you're insinuating that an enraged mob of Jews would kill a Christian wearing a cross, you are out of your mind.

      • "gunner"

        i suspect that's exactly what the poster was insinuating, if so she is dead wrong. israel is a civilised nation, ruled by secular law, and is the origin of much of the civil western society we live in today, along with the contributions of the greeks and romans. even i, as a pagan, understand that christianity was born in israel, and christians can visit and live there in the same peace as the jewish israelis, barring attacks by members of "the religion of peace", while the same cannot be said of the countries dominated by that "religion of peace", as this article illustrates.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "If you're insinuating that an enraged mob of Jews would kill a Christian wearing a cross, you are out of your mind."

        That's so absurd I didn't even think of that. Do you suppose this lunatic really thinks Israelis act like "Palestinians" and other jihadis?

        • Mary Sue

          Either that or he/she/it is trolling hard.

    • Indus Valley

      Troll alert !!!!!!!!

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "Troll alert !!!!!!!!"

        Insanity alert. This troll didn't even come close to reality. Actually, the "Palestinians" in Jerusalem probably would attack a non-dhimmi Christian (anyone displaying a cross would be in violation of sharia) anywhere they had the physical ability to do so. Not sure if that is what was meant.

    • Parenthetical Phrase

      There are a great many people in Israel who wear crosses — huge and otherwise. Patriarchs of the various churches, nuns, tourists, and just ordinary citizens. In fact, Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian population has increased. There have been a number of Christian Arab WOMEN who have voluntarily joined the IDF as paratroopers. I would venture a guess that they feel quite safe, especially compared to Christian women in Arab countries and in Europe.

  • Rifleman

    These must be the same people we would read about every now and then, who would go try to pet a grizzly in Yellowstone. Many, if not most leftists, really are that ignorant or stupid. Pawns for the commie cadre.

    • David

      I think Lenin would not have called them "pawns", but "useful idiots".

    • Mary Sue

      yeah, the kind of idiots that respond to a bear or cougar in a suburban area with "They were there first, we invaded their territory!"

    • Drakken

      Hey! Those cuddly cute bears need loving attention, that is why I highly encourage the libdolts to go hug a grizzly today!

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "Hey! Those cuddly cute bears need loving attention, that is why I highly encourage the libdolts to go hug a grizzly today!"

        You got me thinking. Maybe we can launch a campaign making reference to tree-hugging and then claim that bears in Alaska and the northwest are threatened with extinction from lack of affection. That ought to help thin out the Democratic Party a bit. Then again, Democrats tend to vote forever somehow, even long after their deaths.

  • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ JasonPappas

    The same impulse has made Sweden the rape-capital of Europe.
    http://www.thelocal.se/19102/20090427/#.UOwXlY43k

    • ffortnightly

      I'm willing to bet that things would change if more men were being raped.
      Grobbbbbbb

      • kaz

        in islamastan, men do get raped. also boys. it doesnt change anything. perhaps you should visit afghanistan. be sure to wear your bridal clothes. you are sure to make a difference to some peaceful muslim.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "I'm willing to bet that things would change if more men were being raped. "

        I'm willing to bet that things would change if much fewer women were being raped. What really blows me away is that with sharia, you can lose your hand for stealing bread, but what happens when you rape? Back slapping and applause. What does that tell you about the religion of "peaceful" totalitarian evil?

        • Mary Sue

          It tells you that it is far more accepting of what the feminist womens studies crowd calls "rape culture" than Western Civilization ever thought of being.

  • Nehama. UK

    But, but, such naive sampling of the exotic and adventures in far-away lands could get you a son who could grow up to be President of the United States of America…

    • jacob

      RIGHT ON …!!!!!!!

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "But, but, such naive sampling of the exotic and adventures in far-away lands could get you a son who could grow up to be President of the United States of America…"

      Ug. Another reason to keep these idiots home somehow.

  • http://nodhimmitude.blogspot.com DagW

    Last night by chance I came across the twagic story of the Burton family, fine people who were kidnapped by the Palestinian! People in 2005. Their end is, of course, the fault of the Jooos. The horrible story is here– for those who can stomach it.
    http://nodhimmitude.blogspot.com/2005/12/islamic-

  • http://nodhimmitude.blogspot.com DagW

    Last night by chance I came across the twagic story of the Burton family, fine people who were kidnapped by the Palestinian! People in 2005. Their end is, of course, the fault of the Jooos. The horrible story is here– for those who can stomach it.
    http://nodhimmitude.blogspot.com/2005/12/islamic-

    • jacob

      Talking about stupidity, do not forget that no less than General PETRAEUS voiced his opinion
      that the Arab-Israeli "conflict" is the reason for Muslims killing American soldiers….

      • "gunner"

        the general has evidently forgotten his military history, the "religion of peace" has been at war with western judeo-christian civilization since its beginnings, long before there was any such thing as an american soldier.

        • http://nodhimmitude.blogspot.com DagW

          The link I place leads to a story regarding a British family who were kidnapped by Palestinians, so-called, some time in 2005, and they came to a bad end. Same same only different. The point of the link is to show the reaction to this kidnapping and its ultimate outcome. It has echoes of the end of Beverly Giesbrecht and Arigoni (whose name I can't recall at all properly.) there are many of this kind of fool, another whose name escapes me being the homosexual captured by jihadis, was then rescued by Special Forces members, and who said upon his return to Canada where his family and friends had kept his homosexuality a secret to save his life, that he liked his captors better than his rescuers.

          I happen to hold such people in contempt, even the completely worthless and basically harmless neurotic pomo loser Giesbrecht, a pathetic and sad case of a fool wanting attention in an otherwise wasted life. There is sometimes a price to pay for playing fashionable idiot. Sometimes that price is degradation and torture ending in lonely death. I tend to shrug and move right along.

  • Glennd1

    I find myself unable to summon up a shred of sympathy for such fools. In fact, I think it's probably good for the gene pool. One has to wonder the foolishness of all the people around them, including the parents of these adult-children.Witness the comments by the parents about being adventuresome and having a good heart or some such nonsense. I have a good heart, and I would never do something that foolish. What this really exposes is the utterly delusional nature of the values so many Progressives, particularly women, hold. My sister is one such person, actually having moved to Canada as a result of her politics. She's a pacifist, and when discussing it once, I tried to impress upon her that such as stance was immoral and that in fact, she was party to the use of violence both domestically and internationally due to the govt being her agent.

    I went on to describe the number of police out there who are ready to do violence at any time to protect her, and asked her if she really thought that a world in which violence wasn't used in such structured and moral ways was workable at all? I asked her what she thought would happen if rough men weren't ready and able to use violence on her behalf? I asked her how she could judge those "violent" people as somehow morally inferior when in fact they were protecting her? She just got upset and called me names and got emotional. But she never changed her views. Sadly, her politics have so infused her being that I can barely stand being around her anymore. She's an absurdity, a caricature and I'm sure if she read about this couple she would admire them in some way.

    We in the West have adopted foolishness as an idealized way of life. Such societies don't last.

    • Mary Sue

      you got a sister that moved up here to vote NDP (or god forbid, Green)? Man. Sounds like when she gets older she'll probably join the senile old ladies of the Raging Grannies.

    • John Stone

      Its the old Ostrich head in the sand. By denying the existence of something they convince themselves it does not exist.

  • Guest

    I work with liberal professors at a college in the South. This sounds exactly like what some would do. One in particular said that she "wouldn't mind being Muslim." I wanted to ask her if she would "mind" being forced to wear a hot burka, or being stoned like some women go through. Also wanted to ask her if she would "mind" being beaten or having 15 kids before she was 35. Of course, she thinks that they would accept her as is with open arms. After all, she raises Islam up to great heights you know. Fools. All of them are liberal dingbats who almost deserve what they get. Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

    • Drakken

      God may forgive them, but their stupidity gets people killed. Darwin loves winners like her.

  • liason

    They can turm themselves over to our enemies all they want…but I dare them to try to turn me over…this article left one thing out…these people never fight for amything!!

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      The do fight, for enemies of Civilization.

      They, socialists, FAKE anti-war fascists, reactionary progressives, MUST be fought at every level.

  • Arlie

    stupid hippies. Same type in charge in DC..except for Jarrett type – diabolic.

  • cxt

    I have honest sympathy for those folks–casulaities of their own foolishness and lack of real information. Or maybe subsituting wishful thinking for reality.

    But what really concerns me is that there seems to be a large number of folks that think just like them. And they act on those ideas.

    You want to risk YOUR life on some poorly reasoned and pie-in-the-sky worldview? Go right ahead, I'll light a candle for you and pray for you survive.

    But when yo start to risk MY life and the lives of my LOVED ONES on your warped worldviews–then I have a real problem. Or more precisely YOU have created a problem for ME.

    • Drakken

      I too have sympathy for these useful idiots, it's in the dictionary between the words sh*t and sphyilis.

  • hindu

    Ignorance is the root of all evils.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      True in some cases, but there were plenty of educated people, doctors, lawyer, professors, who sided with national SOCIALIST hitler in WW2.

      Education is NO PROTECTION against evil.

    • "gunner"

      you're right, but ignorance can be cured by knowledge, stupidity is often fatal, quod erat demonstrandum.

  • Marylou

    In a fool’s rodeo, the lib Mystery Babylon chooses to ride the beast Islam, imagining she can control him. He has seven heads and ten horns and kills people, so what makes her imagine that? Maybe that’s where the “Mystery” part comes in.

  • Drakken

    Reminds me of that moron Rachel Corrie being used by her muslim masters and got killed for her efforts, You really have to love Darwins winners, they do leave this world with a surprised look on their faces. I can't count how many western women we have had to get out of muslim countries because of how naive and idiotic they were in thought and reasoning.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      rachel corrie, AKA Saint Pancake.

    • Mary Sue

      Yes, exactly. This is Rachel Corrie Syndrome™ on steroids.

    • LibertarianToo

      You can't count? Try. Give us a count. How many western women?

      • Sigi

        Rachel Corrie plus Caitlan Coleman plus PIppa Bacca is already 3 too many. If you want to know the number, try looking them up.

  • W. C. Taqiyya

    What the heck is a Canadian-American? The silliness just keeps getting sillier. Then, there's this. Who cares what happened to them? People, adult people anyway, who wander into war zones deserve whatever befalls them. It's called personal responsibility and if they died, so much the better.

    • LibertarianToo

      She was or is an American. He a Canadian. Hence, a Canadian-American couple.

      " . . .and if they died, so much the better." –What a generous spirit you are!

      • W. C. Taqiyya

        Well, thank you for the complement. I am rather generous of spirit, if I say so myself. However, maybe a bit less of those whose ignorance not only puts themselves at risk but the lives of others who may be called upon to rescue them. If you think about this recurring issue in a more comprehensive manner, you may realize that people behaving badly has an impact on others. Family members suffer, terrorists gain helpful propaganda and maybe extortion money and special forces troops might even be called upon to rescue those fools at the risk of their own lives. OK then.

  • http://360.yahoo.com/paulsheldonfoote paulfoote

    I have lived and worked in the Middle East and North Africa (along with Europe and Vietnam). There are dangers everywhere. I was more cautious every time that I worked in New York City than when I worked elsewhere. Zeno is correct that those who travel to other countries should be cautious. They should attempt first to visit other countries with a guide or with a friend from the country. They should not assume that they are American ambassadors who must behave in ways pleasing to everyone. They should try not be be ugly Americans who behave badly in other countries.

    • Mary Sue

      "Behaving badly" can be quite subjective, as foreigners to any country may commit local social faux pas that they have no idea about because they Did Not Do The Research.

  • Indus Valley

    Why do these people having a comfortable & peaceful life, repeatedly do such idiotic things???? David P.Goldman explains in his book " Its Not the End of the World-Its Just the End of You" very well & very convincing……

  • Ghostwriter

    I'm sorry but I'm not going to the Middle East anytime soon. It's too dangerous to go there.

    • Mary Sue

      speaking of that, all through the 80s I kept hearing that "it's dangerous there" (places like the Holy Land, Turkey, etc.) Now Lebanon, I could understand, because war. (the jokes about Quiet Holidays in Beirut were numerous) But it was never really explained what was going on in the rest of the Middle East (such as Turkey). Nobody dared blame Islam.

  • EarlyBird

    These are just stupid people. I hope they are still alive and healthy, or at least had a quick death. To think as Westerners they were going to walk around a fundamentalist Islamic war zone and not have trouble, is beyond naive.

  • Mik

    Has anyone else ever wondered why all the major news organizations send women reporters to the Middle East? Every time I see a Muslim man being interviewed by a blond woman in western garb, I cringe. They must think we are idiots. I am not saying that the media should pan der to their psychosis of Muslim misogyny, but do they think it is somehow more enlightened?

  • victor

    Stupidity has consequences. Rape and death are just a few of those consequences.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "What brings people raised in comfort to go to the most dangerous places on earth? Is it a death wish, an honest desire to help the less fortunate, or is it something else?"

    Propaganda and delusion.

  • burkasrugly

    Silly hippies, don't you know you can't appease Islam???? http://actjonesboroar.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/ap

    • Mary Sue

      proof that reefer causes brain damage: Hippie mentality.

  • Christian Guest

    What a bitter stew of misogny, irrationallity and harsh judgments in these comments! At this time, it is n't known what has happened to the couple, if anything. Secondly women have as much impulse for adventure as men do, even when pregnant! Third, their goals may have been humanitarian as much as ideological, that is another unknown. That said, choosing the Middle East without being prepared for almost anything looks foolish but they may have had contacts that are also unknown. I would not choose to do this or encourage my son or daughter to do this, but until more facts are on the ground, worry put into prayers and empathy for the parents involved seems much more the right course than verbal beating, smugness, hatred and even approval if they have been harmed.

    • kaz

      there are many places where a "humanitarian" can satisfy that urge to "help" people. when the humanitarian seeks out a place uniformly populated by members of a religion of pure evil, dedicated to the enslavement and genocide of all others, then the "humanitarian" is just attention seeking and moral superiority posturing, and richly deserves the very predictable results. occasionally, justice happens.

  • Mrs. Rene O'Riordan

    "…..Perhaps modern leftism can be understood as a corruption of Christianity, where the concept of “doing good” is divorced from any moral foundation…" – I think you put your finger on it there – the West is post-Christian and in many cases denies it's Christian roots, but yet retaining it's principles of love and caring. What Westerners don't realize is that they get all this caring for the less fortunate from Christianity but they forget the part where they are meant to seek God's help in all endeavors and seek His Will. – Rene

  • Youth In Asia

    Social Darwinism at work.

  • John Stone

    A truth about life that sounds harsh because it is harsh but is none the less true, is that you should never help anybody in advance of them wanting you to help them. They have to figure out first that they need your help or it does not go well. That is one of the mistakes we make in our foreign policy. We expect gratitude for the help that we gave that was never asked for.

  • zenocosini

    Thanks for all the comments, folks. I'm not sure if that was clear in the article, but I have to say that I don't think that they "deserve it". I feel pity for them in a way, I think part of the story is that they are very naive and did not receive good information from the media about the dangers that lurks in many of those places (and about Islam). However, it is true that they are adults and should know better. All in all, a sad affair.

  • Carol

    Thank you zenocosini for clarifying that you don't think they "deserve it". Josh and Caity are real people with families who miss them and love them very much.