I hope by the time you read this, Dorothy Parvaz is happily free and wherever she wants to be. But it was alarming to read that she's disappeared in Syria.
She was a fellow panelist on the Friday news roundtable on "Weekday" with Steve Scher, holding the unofficial "woman's seat" at the table after the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Susan Paynter (who retired) and before the current occupant, Joni Balter of The Seattle Times. Parvaz left for a fellowship, then had no newspaper job to return to when the P-I newspaper folded. Seattle lost an insightful commentator and columnist, but with a job at Al Jazeera she attained a world stage.
She is sharp-witted, opinionated, funny, and was a one-woman shot of cosmopolitanism to the show: She's a U.S., Canadian and Iranian citizen, bridging huge cultural gaps (the one between Seattle and Vancouver being particularly profound). She was able to correct our mangled pronunciation of names like "Ahmadinejad." We kept inserting a Scotsman's guttural "ach" into the name that didn't belong. "There is no 'ach' in 'Ahmadinejad,' " she'd scold.
Parvaz is not the first KUOW regular to run into trouble abroad. Filmmaker Sandy Cioffi was often a guest with me on Bill Radke's old "Rewind" show for NPR, which originated at the station. She was detained by the Nigerian government while making a film in that country a few years ago. She's now back in Seattle running for city council. Her quick release was due to public and political pressure brought to bear by friends, colleagues, and Sen. Maria Cantwell.
I hope Parvaz's saga has the same type of happy, safe ending, where a brave woman's risks pay off by telling the world what a government tries to censor.