Former hostage Terry Anderson
August 6, 1996
looks for hope, renewal in Beirut
Web posted at: 6:50 p.m. EDT (2250 GMT)
BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Former American hostage Terry
Anderson can remember clearly his days as a captive in
Beirut, which makes his return to the Lebanese capital and
warm greeting at the airport quite remarkable.
Anderson, who was held captive by Islamic militants from 1985
to 1991, is visiting Beirut for the first time since his
release to make a documentary for CNN about Lebanon and its
recovery from civil war. The former journalist (Anderson was The Associated Press' Beirut bureau chief when he was kidnapped)
is also visiting the country to renew his personal
relationship with the small Mediterranean nation surrounded
by Mideast powers Israel and Syria. (272K AIFF or WAV sound)
At Beirut's airport, Anderson was met not by guns or angry
faces but by his Lebanese wife and his daughter Sulome, who
traveled ahead of him. (774K QuickTime movie)
Sulome is along with her parents, Anderson said, so that she
can meet her relatives and make contact a with part of her
heritage that she has only known from afar. He also hopes she
will sharpen her Arabic.
One of the first sights Anderson saw upon his return to
Beirut was the street where he was abducted. Anderson,
however, expresses no fear at being back in the city of his
"I'm not afraid. There is no danger and no reason that anyone
has to harm us in any way," he said.
Before leaving for Lebanon, Anderson said his memories of his
days in captivity remain quite clear. He and former hostages
John McCarthy and Terry Waite recently talked about their
days of imprisonment. The reminiscences shared with McCarthy
and Waite prompted Anderson to wonder whether seeing Beirut
today would quell the images of a captivity only five years
in the past. (213K AIFF or WAV sound)
Islamic militants still control the southern suburbs of
Beirut where Anderson, and others, were held in scattered
Anderson plans to enter the once-dangerous suburbs during the
taping of his documentary and talk to the Islamic powers who
still hold sway.
But the former captive says that he has no intention of
tracking down the men who held him. Anderson says that he
could not find them even if he wanted to, because he was
blindfolded during his entire captivity. To Anderson the war
is part of the past, and his interest is in the present --
both his and Lebanon's. (128K AIFF or WAV sound)
Anderson has returned, not to exorcise the demons he shares
with Lebanon's violent past, but to fill himself with the
hope and renewal of Beirut's present calm.
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