Inside captivity of US hostage who was wrapped up like a mummy in packing tape

On March 16, 1985, Terry Anderson, 74, had just finished playing a tennis match, when he was abducted off the streets of Beirut, Lebanon, by a group of Islamist militants.

The American journalist, who had been working for the Associated Press at the time of his kidnapping, was one of at least 88 foreigners taken hostage by Hezbollah militants in an effort to drive US military forces from Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War.

By 1983, the situation had got so bad in the Middle Eastern country, that his first wife and young daughter had evacuated Lebanon, along with many other foreign nationals.

But Anderson stuck it out and persuaded himself that he was safe, which is what ultimately got him kidnapped, he believes.

He said: “That’s what got me kidnapped. Arrogance”.

He was kept as a hostage for six years and nine months, before finally being released on December 4, 1991, making him the longest held American hostage captured during the crisis.

In his 1995 autobiography, ‘Den of Lions’, Anderson recounts some of the personal horrors he experienced during his time in captivity.

To stay up to date with all the latest news, make sure you sign up to one of our newsletters here.

He detailed being repeatedly transported from Beirut to the Bekaa Valley – or back again – wrapped up like a mummy in packing tape, barely able to breathe and stowed away in a secret compartment in the floor of a van, in what he described as “not a pleasant trip”.

He narrated getting drenched by the water on the road and the exhaust fumes suffocating and nauseating him so much that he thought he would die on his own vomit.

He referred to his guards as “really bad” and “evil” men, going as far as to brand some of them “psychopathic”.

The hardest part for the 74-year-old was the one and a half year he spent alone in solitary confinement.

He said: “Solitary was the hardest thing, I discovered that I needed people”.

That’s when he started relating to rodents easier than he did to humans.

He detailed: “I’ve been feeding a tiny mouse that appears in the dead of night occasionally. I call her Mehitabel.

“When the hamsters (his jailers) sealed up the cracks in the wall with more concrete blocks and cement, she disappeared.”

Finally, after 2,454 days, Anderson was released and got to return home to the US at the age of 44.

He managed to convince himself and others that he was fine and that after a bit of time, he could forgive his captors.

He would say: “I’m a Christian and I’m ready to forgive.”

But he discovered that it wasn’t that easy and his anger would flare, like the instance when he saw the head of the guards who held him on TV.

He yelled: “You son of a b****! You stole seven years of my life.”

But the now retired journalist, who also tried to run for a state senate seat in his home state of Ohio, insists that such moments are rare and doesn’t think about his captivity that often.

He added: “I’ve found primarily that I didn’t want to be angry. I didn’t want to hate anybody. I had my life back. And it was turning into a very, very good life.”

Source: Read Full Article