Darwin Award Supremo: Young American-Canadian couple went traveling by themselves in Afganistan, have been missing since October.

Not only that, but the woman (at least as of October 9 when she was last known to be alive) was pregnant and suffering from a liver ailment. Her father describes her as naive, adventuresome, idealistic, and with a humanitarian bent.

Let’s just call this couple Eloi on steroids.

Indeed, they remind me of nothing so much as Miss Havisham hitchhiking:

Pippa Bacca hitchhiking on her way to Turkey
where she was raped and murdered

Also, the story, from the AP, doesn’t explain how tourists can even get into Afghanistan, given that it’s at war and the most dangerous country on earth.

KABUL (AP)—The family of an ailing, pregnant American woman missing in Afghanistan with her Canadian husband has broken months of silence over the mysterious case, making public appeals for the couple’s safe return.

James Coleman, the father of 27-year-old Caitlan Coleman, told The Associated Press over the weekend that she was due to deliver in January and needed urgent medical attention for a liver ailment that required regular checkups. He said he and his wife, Lyn, last heard from their son-in-law Josh on Oct. 8 from an Internet cafe in what he described as an “unsafe” part of Afghanistan. The Colemans asked that Josh be identified by his first name only to protect his privacy.

The couple had embarked on a journey last July that took them to Russia, the central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and then finally to Afghanistan.

Neither the Taliban nor any other militant group has claimed it is holding the couple, leading some to believe they were kidnapped. But no ransom demand has been made.

An Afghan official said their trail has gone dead.

“Our goal is to get them back safely and healthy,” the father told AP on Friday night by phone. “I don’t know what kind of care they’re getting or not getting,” he added. “We’re just an average family and we don’t have connections with anybody and we don’t have a lot of money.”

He made a similar appeal in a video posted on YouTube on Dec. 13.

“We appeal to whoever is caring for her to show compassion and allow Caity, Josh and our unborn grandbaby to come home,” he said.

Before the video came out, the family had kept quiet about the case since the couple disappeared in early October. They appear to have broken their silence in hopes it might lead to a breakthrough.

But many questions remain over the disappearances.

It is not known whether the couple is still alive or how or why they entered Afghanistan. And there is no information about what they were doing in the country before they went missing.

James Coleman, of York County, Pennsylvania, said he was not entirely sure what his daughter and her husband were doing in Afghanistan. But he surmised they may have been seeking to help Afghans by joining an aid group after touring the region.

In the AP interview, he described his daughter as “naive” and “adventuresome” with a humanitarian bent.

He said Josh did not disclose their exact location in his last email contact on Oct. 8 from the Internet cafe, only saying they were not in a safe place. James Coleman also said the last withdrawals from the couple’s account were made Oct. 8 and 9 in Kabul with no activity on the account and no further communication from them after that date.

“He just said they were heading into the mountains—wherever that was, I don’t know,” the father said. “I assume they were going to strike out on foot like they were doing” he said. “They’re both kind of naive, always have been in my view. I don’t really know why they went there,” he added. “I assume it was more of the same, getting to know the local people, if they could find an NGO or someone they could work with in a little way.”

There was some indication that the couple knew they were in dangerous territory, though they perhaps did not grasp just how dangerous. James Coleman said in general, they preferred small villages and communities because they felt safer there than in big cities, and that is where they wanted to focus their travels.

Both the U.S. State Department and Canadian Foreign Affairs Ministry say they are looking into the disappearance.

“Canada is pursuing all appropriate channels and officials are in close contact with local authorities,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Chrystiane Roy said Friday, calling the incident a “possible kidnap.”

It was not known whether the silence over the case by U.S. and Canadian officials and, until now, by the Coleman family was because of ongoing negotiations to seek their release. But information black-outs have kept some similar past cases quiet in an attempt to not further endanger those missing.

According to Hazrat Janan, the head of the provincial council in Afghanistan’s Wardak province, the two were abducted in Wardak in an area about 25 miles west of the capital Kabul. They were passing through Wardak while traveling from Ghazni province south of Kabul to the capital.

Wardak province, despite its proximity to Kabul, is a rugged, mountainous haven for the Taliban and travel along its roads is dangerous. Foreigners who do not travel with military escorts take a substantial risk.

He said they were believed to have been taken from one district in Wardak to a second and then into Ghazni.

“After that, the trail went dead,” Janan said.

He said it was suspected that the kidnappers were Taliban because criminal gangs would have likely asked for a ransom.

When the AP contacted Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid about the missing couple two months ago, he said the group had carried out an investigation and found no Taliban members were involved.

“We do not know about these two foreigners,” he said in a telephone interview.

Janan’s information could not be independently verified, and U.S. and Canadian officials still do not say for certain the couple was abducted.

NATO officials said they had no current information on the case, which was turned over to the U.S. State Department after it was determined the couple were not affiliated with foreign military forces.

Coleman said his daughter and her husband met on the Internet and married in 2011. They had previously travelled through Central America so they had some experience abroad.

During their recent Asian travels, they bought local goods to help vendors, slept in their tent and hostels and interacted with villagers. Despite her travel fever, love of history and a desire to do good, her father said Caitlan “wanted basically to be a housewife and have a bunch of kids.”

- end of initial entry -

December 31, 11:40 a.m.

Daniel S., who sent the article, writes:

The conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage has repeatedly referred to liberalism as a mental disorder, and it would seem in this case he would be right. What sane, informed person would go trotting around Afghanistan as if it were a Vermont campground?

A reader writes:

The couple in Afghanistan and Pippa Bacca are rather like Chloe McCardel, the woman who is planning to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.

LA replies:

Though the story didn’t say so, perhaps there will be boat accompanying the swimmer and if sharks come near she will be lifted aboard.

John T. writes:

I don’t consider this couple to be Eloi. They’re more like “idiots without borders.” Middle class waifs, fed, raised and educated on a diet of unquestioning empathy for other peoples and cultures. I can almost hear them twittering in an email to their friends about how delicious and nutritious the meagre helping of spicy, local food is and how happy the family are sitting on their dirt floor sipping tea and talking about their goat herd and the upcoming wedding between two first cousins, while the children are laughing noisily as they play with sticks and rocks outside, never clueing in that if it was white people doing this they’d be derisively referred to as hillbillies.

Still I feel sympathy for this couple and their families back home. As the saying goes “the stupid, it hurts.”

LA replies:

I like “Idiots without Borders.” But how does one feel sympathy for people who behave so suicidally and end up dead? Their fate was the inevitable consequence of their reality-denying behavior; it’s what they were seeking, though they chose not to see that. For example, when we read of a youth who climbs on the outside of a subway train while it’s moving and gets killed, do we feel sympathy for him? We just give him a Darwin Award.

Or if a person plays Russian Roulette and dies, do we feel sympathy for him?

Terry Morris writes:

I can feel some degree of sympathy for the couple themselves, while I’m absolutely unsympathetic toward their families back home. This is in the same sense that I was utterly unsympathetic toward the grieving family of the twelve-year-old Florida girl several years back, who was abducted, raped, and murdered while walking home ALONE from a friend’s house early one morning. While HER naivity was very much understandable, that of her parents was most certainly NOT. I looked upon them as complicit in her murder, and still do.

In this case this couple, as John T. rightly points out, were heavily influenced by the society and their upbringings in the belief that they were “safe” to travel alone in hostile foreign lands. In that respect I can sympathize with them. But I cannot sympathize with their families. It is their duty and responsibility as parents, in spite of liberal society, to protect them against the society itself when necessary. In that sense, this family, like that of the Florida girl, is complicit in their murders, as well as the whole of liberal society.

LA replies:

The couple were in their late twenties (the woman was 27); their parents were not directly responsible for them. However, the woman’s father did not seem to have taken any interest in her daughter’s wanderings and whether what she was doing was safe. She may not even have told him that she and her husband were going to Afganistan.

James P. writes:

Sheesh, we were talking about liberals not believing in self-defense, but they don’t even believe in the elementary act of self-defense involved in not traveling unaccompanied in Afghanistan.

I think there was a scene in the movie The Killing Fields, in which an official in the U.S. embassy in Cambodia right before the Khmer Rouge take over mockingly reads a letter from some Americans back home who seek guidance about tourist attractions in Cambodia. The scene was played in a “haw, haw, Americans are such ignorant yokels” way, but it turns out Americans really are stupid enough to vacation in a war-torn hellhole. But it’s not the “proles” who are that stupid, as the movie would have you believe, it’s the “enlightened,” college educated types.

Larry T. writes:

You wrote:

when we read of a youth who climbs on the outside of a subway train while it’s moving and gets killed, do we feel sympathy for him? We just give him a Darwin Award.

This reminds me of an incident that occurred about twenty years ago. I was working as a railroad freight conductor on a train going through South Central Los Angeles, a predominately black part of the city. We tried never to slow down while passing through this area, since if we did there was a good chance someone would hop aboard the side of the train. Heaven forbid if we were forced to stop by a red signal; if we did there was a good chance that some of the brothers would come out and operate a few uncoupling levers, causing the train to separate into sections. It would then become my unpleasant duty to walk back from the engine, or forward from the caboose, and get the train back together again. This was a process that could take hours, since as fast as I could recouple the train, additional uncoupling levers would be operated. Eventually we learned never to leave the engine or caboose until the LAPD arrived to assist. Sometimes it would take quite an effort to accomplish the task, involving multiple police cars and even police helicopters.

One day we arrived at our destination, the LA Harbor district, and were met by the police. They informed us that three black youths had hopped aboard the side of some boxcars on our train, and had been hanging onto the side-ladders while we were underway. In short order someone had then blasted them off of the moving boxcars with a shotgun!

A ghetto version of trap and skeet shooting?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 31, 2012 12:27 AM | Send

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