Whoever bows to the legislators of Oz should consider this ….
Former hostage Warren Rodwell slams 60 Minutes: ‘Kidnapping can never be excused’ …. By Liz Burke news.com.au
WHEN Warren Rodwell was kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf terrorists in the Philippines and held captive for 472 days, it made him question everything he knew.
He was cuffed, shot through the hand, mistreated and starved. He was left isolated in a mountainous warzone for 10 weeks and imprisoned the rest of the time. He was delirious.
Once he was freed in 2013, the former soldier says he looked like a prisoner of war, and was grappling with his sanity.
The only thing he says he knew for sure at that time was that kidnapping had started this, and no good could come of the crime.
Still bearing the scars of his time held captive, Mr Rodwell had the same thought when he heard of the kidnapping of two children in Lebanon, taken from a Beirut street while they were out with their grandmother two weeks ago.
It would of course come out that those the snatch had been ordered by the children’s mother, with the help of a 60 Minutes crew who intended to broadcast the operation, and carried out by a notorious child recovery agency.
They claimed the children had been abducted by their father and taken to Lebanon against the mother’s wishes, and that by returning the kids to their mum and their Brisbane home they were carrying out a good and honest act.
All Mr Rodwell could think was: “That’s absurd.”
“I first saw it as 60 Minutes wanting to show kidnapping as a good thing,” he told news.com.au.
“Because I had been kidnapped myself, my first reaction was repulsion. The thought of trying to show kidnapping as a good thing, I thought that was atrocious and ludicrous.”
The Channel 9 crew led by network star Tara Brown, and the mother of the two children Sally Faulkner, by spending close to two weeks in a Beirut prison following their arrest. They were freed overnight after Nine agreed to pay an undisclosed amount in compensation to the children’s father Ali Elamine.
Members of Child Abduction Recovery International (CARI) who carried out the “child recovery” operation, Adam Whittington and Craig Michael, have been left to the mercy of the Lebanese courts, with Nine taking no responsibility, saying “they are not part of our team”.
Though Mr Rodwell said he was “shocked” by what the agency had done, he believed there had been an “imbalance of equity” in how the situation had been dealt with, especially if it eventuated that Nine had made payments to the kidnappers.
“I’m shocked at what they do, and that they’re allowed to do it and carry on as a business. Whatever licencing they have has to be looked into,” he said.
“If someone engages an agent, that agent acts on their behalf. If something goes wrong, the person responsible is someone who engaged them.”
Mr Rodwell said that 60 Minutes had become “over-involved” in the story, and should take the fall. He said he was disgraced by the program’s apparent intention to promote kidnapping.
“In calling it child recovery, it makes it sound like it’s a rescue mission,” he said.
“The question to be asked is with these child recovery agencies, are they in effect something similar to bounty hunters?”
Mr Rodwell said his own experience had opened his eyes to how bad kidnapping can be, and says it should never be promoted.
“Kidnapping itself, as I got a glimpse of, is scratching the surface of people trafficking, and it’s not a thing anywhere that you could really condone. Kidnapping can never be excused,” he said.
Although he was damning of the entire Lebanon fiasco, Mr Rodwell said his experience had helped him sympathise with Ms Faulkner on one point.
“From what I understand, the mother admitted from the beginning she was naive by agreeing to the children going on vacation. I can appreciate her position because apparently she took it as far as she could in what she could achieve in Australia, but apparently the Foreign Minister couldn’t do anything more,” he said.
“I have had a similar experience myself, because before coming back to Australia after being kidnapped, I had the DFAT, the AFP, ADF and ASIO all assigned to my own case, and it was explained to me quite clearly that before coming back to Austraila, there was seemingly nothing they would be able to do for me, there was no follow through, once I was back in Australia I had to go back in the queue to access any services.
“She was desperate, but still, the argument has been put that as a mother you would do anything to get your children back, but if that results in someone being in prison for up to 20 years, what benefit is that to the children?”
I 472 dager var Warren Rodwell fangen til ekstremistgruppen Abu Sayyaf, som nå holder norske Kjartan Sekkingstad på Filippinene. Her forteller han om dødstrusler, propagandainnspilling, og om å betale seg til frihet.
Det er desember 2011. Ekstremister i den filippinske opprørsgruppen Abu Sayyaf tvinger den kidnappede australieren Warren Rodwell til å lese opp en beskjed.
En av gruppens medlemmer filmer alt.
– Vær så snill å hjelpe meg ut i live, sier den slitne mannen på filmen.
I videoen som ble publisert, og gikk verden rundt, krevde kidnapperne to millioner dollar for å slippe Rodwell fri. Hvis de ikke fikk pengene, truet de med å halshugge ham.
Warren overlevde, og er derfor en av få i verden som i dag kan fortelle hvordan det føles når voldelige ekstremister truer deg på livet i en propagandavideo:
– Tanken terroriserte meg totalt, sier han i et intervju med VG onsdag.
– De truet med å kutte hodet mitt. Jeg visste at det eneste de hadde var en sløv kniv. Jeg ble ekstremt stresset og jeg fikk massiv hodepine. Etter tre måneder i fangenskap klarte jeg å stenge tanken ute.
Flyttet gjennom jungelen
Natt til tirsdag 22. september i år ble nordmannen Kjartan Sekkingstad (56) fra Sotra samt to kanadiske menn og en filippinsk kvinne bortført fra feriestedet Oceanview Resort på den lille øya Samal utenfor Mindanao sør i Filippinene. Ekstremistgruppen Abu Sayyaf, som har erklært troskap til terrororganisasjonen IS, la mandag ut bilder og video av gislene på nettet.
Samme gruppe bortførte i april to tyske statsborgere, som ble frigitt i oktober, angivelig etter at det var betalt et stort beløp i løsepenger.
Warren Rodwell vet alt om å være ekstremistenes gissel. I løpet av 16 måneder ble han flyttet mellom 27 ulike leirer, dypt inne i jungelen på Filippinene. Han ble bedt om å ligge stille så mye som mulig, og om å holde seg i skjul. Han ble voktet av lokale, væpnede menn som jobbet for opprørerne.
Annenhver måned kom medlemmer av Abu Sayyaf til Rodwell og tok nye bilder – bevis på at han var i live. Det kunne de bruke i forhandlinger. Han ble bedt om å lese opp ulike budskap som opprørerne dikterte.
Kidnapping av utlendinger har vært god butikk i 25 år for Abu Sayyaf. Flere av utlendingene de har kidnappet siden år 2000 har blitt frigitt etter at store summer har blitt betalt. Ekstremistene har derimot ikke nølt med å drepe filippinske gisler, trolig fordi de uansett ikke har hatt håp om å få løsepenger for dem.
Gikk ned 30 kilo
For Rodwells del startet marerittet i australierens hjem på Ipil, på øya Mindanao sør på Filippinene. Fire menn brøt seg inn, skjøt ham i hånden og satte håndjern på ham. Deretter satte de gisselet i en båt og kjørte vekk.
– De var kriminelle amatører som senere ga meg videre til Abu Sayyaf, sier Rodwell.
Livet som fulgte var ødeleggende på alle måter for den tidligere australske soldaten:
– Jeg så ut som en krigsfange. Uten bevegelse og mat slutter nervene å fungere, og det påvirker organene.
Rodwell ble flyttet fra leir til leir, og det var liten tilgang på mat. Hvis han fikk mat, var det kun ris. Etter en tid mistet han 30 kilo av kroppsmassen sin.
Betalte ham fri
Mens fangenskapet trakk ut i tid, var australske og filippinske myndigheter kompromissløse: De nektet å betale løsepenger for gisselet. Regjeringen i Australia jobbet likevel på spreng for å finne en annen løsning. Sikkerhetstjenesten, ambassaden og militæret deltok i arbeidet.
Mens myndighetene var bunnet på hendene, fordi de ikke ønsket å betale penger til ekstremister og terrorister, fant familien en annen løsning:
De fikk skrapt sammen 100.000 dollar for å dekke geriljaens «utgifter til kost og losji». På den måten omgikk de lovverket, og Rodwell ble sluppet fri.
– Frem til da hadde jeg så ofte blitt skuffet. Jeg hadde sluttet å håpe på å bli frigitt, sier han i dag.
Betaling til grupper som Abu Sayyaf er et svært betent og kontroversielt tema. Den samme problemstillingen ble debattert etter at det ble kjent at nordmannen Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad var tatt av IS i Syria.
– Vi kan ikke og vil ikke gi etter for press fra terrorister og kriminelle. Norge betaler ikke løsepenger. Det er et prinsipp vi ikke kan fravike i møte med kyniske terrorister. Det vil øke risikoen for at andre norske borgere blir tatt til fange, sa Erna Solberg på pressekonferansen etter at nyheten om IS-kidnappingen var ute.
VG spør Rodwell hva han tenker om at han ble betalt fri.
– Skal man la mennesker dø? spør han.
Han fortsetter med å fortelle hvor desperat han etter hvert ble:
– Etter du går mer enn ett år uten mat, kroppen din forsvinner og ribbeinene kommer fram, du har hørt så mange løgner, du vil at alt skal slutte en måte eller en annen måte.
– Hadde jeg ikke blitt hjulpet, ville jeg avsluttet livet selv, sier han.
Mener det er håp
Selv om Abu Sayyafs leder Isnilon Totoni Hapilon for ett år siden sverget troskap til Den islamske staten (IS) og siden har gjennomført kidnappinger i deres navn, mener eksperter ifølge NTB at gruppens motiver i dag snarere er politiske og økonomiske enn religiøse.
Rodwell er enig.
– Der IS er ideologisk overbevist og bruker kidnappingene politisk, er medlemmene av Abu Sayyaf mest opptatt av penger. Det er håp for gislene som nå holdes av dem, sier han.
LØSLATT: Rodwell ble etter løslatelsen plukket opp av et amerikansk militærhelikopter på Filippinene og fløyet til sykehus.
Warren Rodwell (Australia) www.warrenrodwell.com > Abu Sayyaf > Marites Flor (Philippines) Robert Hall & John Ridsdel (Canada) Kjartan Sekkingstad (Norway) ….. Terrorism > Australian Prime Minister
NORWEGIAN – ENGLISH Google translation of story …
In 472 days was Warren Rodwell prisoner extremist group Abu Sayyaf, which is now holding Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad the Philippines. Here he tells of death threats, propaganda recording, and to pay them to freedom.
It is December 2011. Extremists in the Philippine rebel group Abu Sayyaf forces kidnapped Australian Warren Rodwell to read out a message.
One of the group members films everything.
– Please help me out alive, said the tired man on film.
In the video, which was published and went around the world, demanded the kidnappers two million dollars to drop Rodwell free. If they did not get money, they threatened to behead him.
Warren survived, and is therefore one of the few in the world today can tell how it feels when violent extremists threaten you on life in a propaganda video:
– The idea terrorized me totally, he says in an interview with VG Wednesday.
– They threatened to cut off my head. I knew that the only thing they had was a dull knife. I was extremely stressed and I got massive headaches. After three months in captivity I managed to shut out the thought.
PROOF OF LIFE: Rodwell was photographed and filmed frequently so that extremists could use vital signs in negotiations.
Moved through the jungle
On the night of Tuesday 22 September this year the Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad (56) from Sotra and two Canadian men and a Filipina abducted from the resort Ocean View Resort on the tiny island of Samal outside Mindanao southern Philippines. Extremist group Abu Sayyaf, which has declared allegiance to the terror organization IS, On Monday the photos and video of the hostages online.
Read also: Norwegian hostage in the Philippines requesting assistance in Islamist video
Same group abducted in April two German nationals, who were released in October, reportedly after it was paid a huge amount in ransom.
Warren Rodwell knows all about being extremist hostage. During the 16 months he was moved between 27 different camps deep in the jungle in the Philippines. He was asked to lie still as much as possible and to remain in hiding. He was guarded by local armed men who worked for the rebels.
Bimonthly came members of the Abu Sayyaf to Rodwell and took new images – proof that he was alive. They could use in negotiations. He was asked to read the different messages that rebels dictated.
Kidnapping of foreigners have been good business for 25 years for Abu Sayyaf. Several of the foreigners they have kidnapped since 2000 has been released after huge sums have been paid. The extremists, however, has not hesitated to kill Filipino hostages, probably because the matter has not had the hope of getting a ransom for them.
Declined 30 kg
For Rodwell part started the nightmare of Australians home in Ipil, on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. Four men broke in, shot him in the hand and handcuffed him. Then put the hostage in a boat and drove away.
– They were criminals amateurs who later gave me on to the Abu Sayyaf, said Rodwell.
Life that followed was devastating in every way for the former Australian soldier:
– I looked like a prisoner of war. Without movement and food stops the nerves to function, and it affects organs.
Rodwell was moved from camp to camp, and there was little access to food. If he got the food, it was just rice. After a time he lost 30 kg of body mass his.
Paid him free
While captivity pulled out in time, the Australian and Philippine authorities uncompromising: They refused to pay ransom for hostage. The Government of Australia was working still feverishly to find another solution. Security, the embassy and the military participated in the work.
While authorities were tied on their hands, because they wanted to pay money to extremists and terrorists, the family found another solution:
They had scraped together $ 100,000 to cover the guerrillas’ expenses for board and lodging. ” That way circumvented the law, and Rodwell was released.
2013: Had to pay to get free Australian hostage
– Until then, I had so often been disappointed. I had ceased to hope to be released, he said today.
LOST 30 KILOS: Warren Rodwell was completely changed in captivity. This picture was taken just before the kidnapping in 2011
Payment to groups like Abu Sayyaf is a very inflamed and controversial topic. The same issue was debated after it became known that the Norwegian Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad was taken by IS in Syria.
– We can not and will not succumb to pressure from terrorists and criminals. Norway does not pay ransom. It is a principle we can not deviate in the face of cynical terrorists. It will increase the risk that other Norwegian citizens are captured, said Erna Solberg at the press conference after news of the IS-kidnapping was out.
VG asks Rodwell what he thinks that he was paid off.
– Should we let people die? he asks.
He goes on to tell how desperate he became:
– After going more than a year without food, your body disappears and the ribs arrives, you’ve heard so many lies, you want everything to stop one way or another way.
– Had I not been helped, I would have ended life itself, he says.
Believes there is hope
Although Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Totoni Hapilon one year ago pledged allegiance to the Islamic state (IS) and has since conducted kidnappings in their name, believe experts according to NTB that the group’s motives today rather political and economic than religious.
– Where IS are ideologically convinced and uses kidnappings politically, are members of the Abu Sayyaf most concerned about money. There is hope for the hostages currently held by them, he says.
SITUATION NOT NORMAL ( SITUASJON IKKE NORMAL )
Abu Sayyaf kidnappe sang / video / dokumentar
Skrevet av Warren R Rodwell (2015)
Komponert og fremført av Mad Cowboy Disease
As of 7 pm, “negotiations” for Rodwell’s release “are over…and he might be released” to a local Basilan official in Barangay Cabangalan, in the remote town of Tipo Tipo, according to a military intelligence officer.
The Abu Sayyaf kidnapped Rodwell, 54, from his home in Ipil, Zamboanga del Sur on Dec 5, 2011. The kidnap group initially set a P1-million ransom, but raised it to US$2-M by early 2012.
According to another intelligence official, local officials and the police are “just working on the process to transfer custody” from kidnappers to local executives. As of posting, however, our sources said Rodwell was not yet in the hands of the local executives.
In December last year, accounts on Facebook and YouTube posted and shared a video of Rodwell, holding a copy of the Philippine Daily Inquirer from Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. Wearing a black t-shirt, his hair is cropped short, his cheeks sunken. He spoke with a weary air.
“This video clip today is to say that I am alive,” Rodwell tells the camera. “I am waiting to be released. I have no idea what’s going on outside. I am just being held in isolation.”
He added: “I do not expect to be released before the year 2013 at the earliest. I personally hold no hope at all for being released. I do not trust the Abu Sayyaf. I do not trust the Australian government.”
Sources in western and Philippine intelligence earlier told Rappler negotiations have been difficult largely because it’s unclear who will lead it. Leadership has shifted, and there seem to be differing goals and tactics employed by at least two agencies: the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service.
Excluding Rodwell, there are 7 foreigners in the hands of kidnappers in Mindanao — one Japanese, one Swiss, one Dutch, one Jordanian and 3 Malaysians.
Mr Abbott, the Australian man in the Philippines, Warren Rodwell, has released a proof of life video pleading for help from the Ambassador. Should the Government be doing more to help?
This is a delicate and dangerous situation with a human life in the balance. I believe the Government is doing everything it reasonably can and it naturally in these circumstances has the full support of the Opposition.
Do you support the Government helping to raise a ransom?
I’m just not going to comment on the details of this situation. I’m not going to comment on particular demands that may have been made, particular measures that may be in contemplation. It’s a very difficult, delicate, dangerous situation. A human life is in the balance and I think the less public commentary the better.
” An Essay on Warren R Rodwell ” by John Rapp – Indianapolis Podcast | Indiana Talk Radio Show USA
John Rapp wanted to start a talk radio podcast with Chris Brake. Chris said “Okay.” There is rarely a plan for the show. Just a bunch of people trying not to embarrass themselves. And, sometimes the format unexpectedly changes from episode to episode. What you hear is what you get.
Warren Rodwell was held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group for fifteen months, but he resurfaced just to come on the Chris Brake Show. Warren is now a free man, and a frequent guest on The Chris Brake Show.
The subject of Warren Rodwell has been covered intensively by the world press over the past decade. There are many factors which influenced the development of Warren Rodwell. Given that this influence pervades our society, there are just not enough blues songs written about Warren Rodwell.
Inevitably, Warren Rodwell is often misunderstood by socialists, trapped by their infamous history. At the heart of the subject are a number of key factors. I plan to examine each of these factors in detail and assess their importance.
As reflected in classical mythology, society is complicated. When blues legend ‘Bare Foot D’ remarked ‘awooooh eeee only my dawg understands me’ , he globalised an issue which had remained buried in the hearts of our ancestors for centuries. Spanning divides such as class, race and ugliness, Warren Rodwell helps to provide some sort of equilibrium in this world of ever changing, always yearning chaos.
When one is faced with people of today, a central theme emerges – Warren Rodwell is either adored or despised. It leaves no one undecided. It is intrinsically linked to adolescent inner acclimatisation.
Economic Factors :
The preceding section may have shed some light on society, but to really understand man, you must know how he spends his money. We will primarily be focusing on the Lead-a-Duck-to-Water model, a complex but ultimately rewarding system.
The results displayed in the graph (see above) are too clear to be ignored. Even a child could work out that the cost of living looms over Warren Rodwell. This cannot be a coincidence. In the light of this, free trade must be examined.
Political Factors :
Modern politics owes much to the animal kingdom. Comparing the ideals of the young with the reality felt by their elders is like contrasting Warren Rodwell and political feeling.
To quote Nobel Prize winner Demetrius Rock, ‘The success of any political system can only truly be assessed once the fat lady has sung.’  I argue that his insight into Warren Rodwell provided the inspiration for these great words. If Warren Rodwell be the food of politics, play on. While Warren Rodwell may be a giant amongst men, is this a dwarf amongst policy? I hope not.
We can say with certainty Warren Rodwell has played a large part in the development of man now and in the 20th Century, and this influence remains strong. It sings a new song, brings glamour to an unglamorous time, and is a joy to behold.
I shall give the final word to star Wyclef Love Hewitt: ‘I wouldn’t be where I am today without Warren Rodwell.’ 
Filipino gangs have gained notoriety for their high-profile abductions,
December 10, 2011 Lindsay Murdoch writes
The lights went out in the sleepy southern Philippine village of Pangi, on the outskirts of Ipil, as darkness fell. Australian adventurer and writer Warren Rodwell had returned home earlier in the day to check on workmen painting inside the house he had bought in the village in October.
Two weeks earlier, Miraflor Gutang, 27, whom he had married in June, had returned to her family’s home in another village after the couple had argued.
Missing Warren Rodwell
The painters had left Mr Rodwell’s house by the time four strangers walked into the village moments after a power outage and introduced themselves to villagers as policemen. One of the men, who were not masked, told villagers not to be afraid, but they were.
Mr Rodwell, 53, was probably preparing dinner in the tiny kitchen of the house when the men entered. The front gate and door may have been open as the house is protected by barbed wire and heavy bars. Mr Rodwell was taken off guard: his loaded handgun was under the pillow in his bedroom.
Tall and strong, the tattooed Australian was not going anywhere without a fight and struggled violently with the men. Neighbours heard a gunshot and Mr Rodwell’s screams for help. Police believe he was shot in the foot during the scuffle. They found a trail of blood from one of his thongs near the front door.
Neighbour Joel Bulay, 44, and his wife Rosanna, 41, saw Mr Rodwell being dragged from the house. Mr Bulay said two of the men held Mr Rodwell tightly by the arms. Another man armed with a pistol pushed him to walk faster from behind as another pulled him from the front by handcuffs. Ms Bulay said Mr Rodwell could hardly walk due to the pain as he was dragged past her house.
”He did not say anything and we are not sure that he saw us,” she said. The group disappeared into the darkness through bushes that lead to a river and the open sea. ”I was really scared, so scared that I was trembling and could do nothing because we feared for our own safety,” Mr Bulay said. ”One of my girls, who is five years old, suspected it was a kidnapping and I told her to keep quiet because we were scared the gunmen would take us and use our family as a shield in their escape.”
The villagers have reason to be scared. In April 1995, militants from the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf attacked and pillaged the seaside town of Ipil, 130 kilometres from the provincial capital Zamboanga City. Fifty-three people were left dead.
In September, the same group kidnapped Luisa Morrison, the Filipino wife of a Scotsman, from her beauty salon in Ipil. The militants took her to their stronghold on Basilan Island, four hours away by speedboat. She was rescued a week later during a fierce battle with Philippine security forces in which one soldier was killed.
Grave fears are held for Mr Rodwell, who after leaving Sydney a decade ago travelled frequently in developing countries and worked for more than eight years as an English teacher in China.
Philippine security forces have stepped up their hunt for Abu Sayyaf militants who have been blamed for the kidnapping of numerous foreigners and wealthy Filipinos, some of whom have been beheaded if ransoms have not been paid.
Authorities have not ruled out that elements of other Muslim groups or criminal gangs involved in the region’s lucrative kidnapping-for-ransom industry are behind the incident.
Mr Rodwell knew the area where he was living was dangerous but had refused police protection in June, saying he could look after himself. The Philippine media has reported he is a former Australian soldier. On several websites Mr Rodwell, whose former wife and three adult children live in Western Australia, describes himself as a full-time expatriate. On one posting he wrote that true wealth is best measured in terms of inner peace and happiness, not material things.
”Accepting your own mortality is also most useful, especially if you don’t have financial or family responsibilities back in your place or origin,” he wrote. By all accounts Mr Rodwell was happy with village life, running a store in Ipil with Ms Gutang, also known as Grace, who he reportedly met on the internet.
However, neighbours said that he was not particularly friendly and he had chased some people away from his house. ”He is really strict and perceived as arrogant,” Mr Bulay said. A sign at the house warns about trespassing. Merly Suan, 18, another resident of the village, described Mr Rodwell as a silent man who went about his daily business alone. ”He sometimes smiles at me if I see him on his motor bike … I think he is a good man and we pity him,” she said. ”We pray for his safety.”
The Australian government’s handling of the incident will be a test of the recommendations of the Senate inquiry into the kidnappings of Australians overseas, which were made public last month. The government has established a multi-agency group that includes federal police, diplomats and intelligence agents. When Australian officials arrived in Zamboanga City, one of the first things they did was to ask Philippine authorities to impose a news blackout on the hunt for the kidnappers.
After graduating in History & Politics from the University of Exeter, English born television producer Matt Etheridge worked for British Sky Broadcasting in London for eight years prior to joining the flagship Australian commercial free-to-air network Channel 9 (Sydney) in 2010. Matt writes of his encounter with and personal impressions of kidnap survivor Warren Rodwell, the longest held Australian captive outside of war time.
Matt Etheridge / WR
Book by Dr Bob East
I was lucky enough to meet Warren Rodwell when my Executive Producer asked me to chase a story on a true Aussie survivor. I was told only of his name at first and that he had been held hostage by Islamic militants for over a year. I then had a chase on my hands to read up and lock him in for an interview for the Channel 9 Today Show. .
Ben Fordham / Warren Rodwell / Lisa Wilkinson ( Channel 9 TODAY Show )
.Reading his story, I was impressed. 472 days in captivity and at the hands of ruthless bastards, infamous for beheadings. This had to be some guy to survive that. My mind was already racing with questions and so when I got hold of him, I couldn’t let him go. We chatted for almost three hours and I was glued to the phone.
Born in Sydney
Warren had a typically Australian charm. Modest, self-deprecating and funny. His captors had shot him in the hand, threatened him, starved him and made some steep ransom demands. But Warren refused to give in.“What kept you going?” I asked him. “My passion for Rugby League and the NRL,” he said. “I held on to the spirit and determination of those players and thought to myself, how would they be coached to deal with a situation like this?” “Also, I really wanted to taste potatoes again.”I was in stitches. His sense of humour and plucky approach was inspiring. Here was a guy, who faced one of the toughest ordeals I can imagine and how did he keep it together? His love of Aussie rugby league football and mash. . Warren made it down from Queensland to the Channel Nine television studios in Sydney to appear live on the TODAY Show, Australia’s longest running morning breakfast news program. That evening, I took him to an NRL game out at Penrith in the far western suburbs, where the Panthers were taking on the North Queensland Cowboys.
Warren Rodwell / Matt Etheridge
Bullet wound right hand
Rugby League Penrith Park
It was a privilege to spend time with this man who I could see loved the game and loved life. Mr Rodwell spoke enthusiastically of how he grew up playing schoolboy rugby league in northern New South Wales, and the character and team-building qualities it so often develops in players. .
He stated that rugby league fans are, for the most part, unaffected by any ignorant negativity of non-devotees, as this code of football historically commenced as the result of a working class struggle. .
Matt Etheridge / Warren Rodwell (Sydney)
.The Panthers won and Warren was extremely happy. He had tipped the Penrith team and South Sydney Rabbitohs would make it to the season finals. He was almost spot on and I thought of him immediately as I watched the Bunnies legendary 2014 Grand Final, their first victory since 1971.I text him during the match and received a message back just before full time: “Glory glory to South Sydney.” It struck me then. The Rabbitohs and Warren share a lot in common.
Both Souths and Warren had experienced dark days. But now they are enjoying the light and I guess tough experiences make the moments of joy, elation and triumph all the more satisfying.
.Almost as satisfying as mashed potato. Isn’t that right, Warren? .