Video dispatch 30: How to play chess when you’re an ISIS prisoner (& Escape from Boko Haram)

February 27, 2015


1. “I was held captive by ISIS”
2. Escape from Boko Haram
3. One thousand lashes for being human from “our” Saudi allies
4. Does the counter-revolution start by showing one’s hair?
5. The forgotten hell that is North Korea
6. Priceless

[Notes below by Tom Gross]

I moderated panels again this year at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights (an important event put together by UN Watch and 19 other smaller human rights groups critical of the UN and of major organizations such as Amnesty International and HRW, for not doing their job properly).

Below are five of the videos from the summit.



My interview with Pierre Torres, one of the French hostages who were held captive by ISIS in Syria for ten months with the American and British hostages who were then beheaded. This is his first interview outside France. He reveals what it was like for fellow hostages James Foley, Steven Sotloff and the others in captivity.


(Update: This video has also now been picked up by the (London) Daily Mail in a shorter version, and other media in the full-length version.

There is also an article in the Daily Mail based on the above video and further interviews with Pierre Torres, here.)



Tom Gross interviews one of the few Nigerian schoolgirls who escaped from Boko Haram.




The wife of imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1000 lashes for calling for freedom of speech, accepts the 2015 Geneva Summit Courage Award on behalf of her husband. She made this passionate appeal to the summit by video link from exile in Canada.


* See also: “Je suis Raif Badawi”



Masih Alinejad is an exiled Iranian journalist who launched a Facebook campaign for Iranian women to post photos of themselves after briefly removing their headscarves, in defiance of Iranian law. Here is a clip of the women in Iran removing headscarves, followed by a passionate speech as she accepts the Geneva Summit 2015 Women’s Rights Award.


* See also item 3 here: Happy in Gaza (& arrested for being happy in Tehran) (& Disabled Saudi tweet)



Yeon-Mi Park is an amazing 21-year-old North Korean defector. (She told me that she only learned English in the last few months – mainly from watching re-runs of the TV comedy “Friends” during her exile last year in South Korea. “So Joey and Phoebe taught you English?” I asked her at dinner that evening. “No, Ross and Rachel,” she replied.)



One more item. This is not from the Geneva Summit.

This video, released by ISIS yesterday, shows their members using power drills and sledgehammers to smash to pieces priceless 3,000-year-old artworks as they destroy Mosul museum. It is enough to make one cry.

It comes a day after they destroyed thousands of books and irreplaceable pre-Islamic manuscripts at Mosul Public Library.

YouTube have now removed it, so there are some clips from the video here and here.


* Please “like” these dispatches on Facebook here, where you can also find other items that are not in these dispatches.

Other dispatches in this video series can be seen here:

* Video dispatch 1: The Lady In Number 6

* Video dispatch 2: Iran: Zuckerberg created Facebook on behalf of the Mossad

* Video dispatch 3: Vladimir Putin sings “Blueberry Hill” (& opera in the mall)

* Video dispatch 4: While some choose boycotts, others choose “Life”

* Video dispatch 5: A Jewish tune with a universal appeal

* Video dispatch 6: Carrying out acts of terror is nothing new for the Assad family

* Video dispatch 7: A brave woman stands up to the Imam (& Cheering Bin Laden in London)

* Video dispatch 8: Syrians burn Iranian and Russian Flags (not Israeli and U.S. ones)

* Video Dispatch 9: “The one state solution for a better Middle East...”

* Video dispatch 10: British TV discovers the next revolutionary wave of Israeli technology

* Video dispatch 11: “Freedom, Freedom!” How some foreign media are reporting the truth about Syria

* Video dispatch 12: All I want for Christmas is...

* Video dispatch 13: “Amazing Israeli innovations Obama will see (& Tchaikovsky Flashwaltz!)

* Video dispatch 14: Jon Stewart under fire in Egypt (& Kid President meets Real President)

* Video dispatch 15: A rare 1945 BBC recording: Survivors in Belsen sing Hatikvah (& “No Place on Earth”)

* Video dispatch 16: Joshua Prager: “In search for the man who broke my neck”

* Video dispatch 17: Pushback against the “dictator Erdogan” - Videos from the “Turkish summer”

* Video dispatch 18: Syrian refugees: “May God bless Israel”

* Video dispatch 19: An uplifting video (& ‘Kenya calls in Israeli special forces to help end mall siege’)

* Video dispatch 20: No Woman, No Drive: First stirrings of Saudi democracy?

* Video dispatch 21: Al-Jazeera: Why can’t Arab armies be more humane like Israel’s?

* Video dispatch 22: Jerusalem. Tel Aviv. Beirut. Happy.

* Video dispatch 23: A nice moment in the afternoon

* Video dispatch 24: How The Simpsons were behind the Arab Spring

* Video dispatch 25: Iranians and Israelis enjoy World Cup love-in (& U.S. Soccer Guide)

* Video dispatch 26: Intensifying conflict as more rockets aimed at Tel Aviv

* Video dispatch 27: Debating the media coverage of the current Hamas-Israel conflict

* Video dispatch 28: CNN asks Hamas: “Do you really believe Jews slaughter Christians?” (& other items)

* Video dispatch 29: “Fighting terror by day, supermodels by night” (& Sign of the times)

* Video dispatch 30: How to play chess when you’re an ISIS prisoner (& Escape from Boko Haram)

* Video dispatch 31: Incitement to kill

* Video Dispatch 32: Bibi to BBC: “Are we living on the same planet?” (& other videos)

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.