Home » Terry Anderson, Reporter Held Hostage for Six Years, Dies at 76

Terry Anderson, Reporter Held Hostage for Six Years, Dies at 76

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Terry Anderson, the American journalist who had been the longest-held Western hostage in Lebanon when he was lastly launched in 1991 by Islamic militants after greater than six years in captivity, died on Saturday at his residence in Greenwood Lake, N.Y., within the Hudson Valley. He was 76.

The trigger was apparently problems of latest coronary heart surgical procedure, his daughter Sulome Anderson mentioned.

Mr. Anderson, the Beirut bureau chief for The Related Press, had simply dropped his tennis associate, an A.P. photographer, at his residence after an early morning tennis match on March 16, 1985, when males armed with pistols yanked open his automotive door and shoved him right into a Mercedes-Benz. The identical automotive had tried to chop him off the day earlier than as he returned to work from lunch at his seaside condo.

The abductors, recognized as Shia Hezbollah militants of the Islamic Jihad Group in Lebanon, beat him, blindfolded him and saved him chained in some 20 hideaways for two,454 days in Beirut, South Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley.

The militants, supported by Iran, indicated that they have been retaliating towards Israel’s use of American weapons in earlier strikes towards Muslim and Druze targets in Lebanon. They’d additionally been in search of to strain the Reagan administration to secretly facilitate the unlawful gross sales of weapons to Iran — an embarrassing scheme that grew to become often known as the Iran-contra affair as a result of the administration had deliberate to make use of proceeds from the arms gross sales to secretly subsidize the right-wing contra rebels in Nicaragua.

Mr. Anderson was the final of 18 Western hostages launched by the abductors. After he was freed, he married his fiancé, Madeleine Bassil, who had been pregnant when he was kidnapped, and, for the primary time, met his 6-year-old daughter.

Whereas he had not been tortured throughout his captivity, he mentioned, he was crushed and chained. He spent a yr or so, on and off, in solitary confinement, he mentioned.

“There may be nothing to carry on to, no approach to anchor my thoughts,” he mentioned after the ordeal. “I attempt praying, on daily basis, typically for hours. However there’s nothing there, only a blankness. I’m speaking to myself, not God.”

He discovered some comfort within the Bible, although, and added: “The one actual protection was to keep in mind that nobody may take away my self-respect and dignity — solely I may do this.”

Terry Alan Anderson was born on Oct. 27, 1947, in Lorain, Ohio, the place his father, Glen, was the village police officer. When he was nonetheless younger, the household moved to Batavia in western New York, the place his father drove a truck and his mom, Lily (Lunn) Anderson, was a waitress.

After graduating from highschool, he was accepted by the College of Michigan and supplied a scholarship however determined to hitch the Marines as a substitute. He served for 5 years in Japan, together with in Okinawa, and in Vietnam, the place he was a fight journalist. He spent a last yr in Iowa as a recruiter.

After he was discharged, Mr. Anderson earned levels in journalism and political science from Iowa State College whereas working for an area tv station.

He labored for The A.P. in Japan and South Africa earlier than starting a two-and-a-half-year stint in Lebanon in 1983.

After his launch, he owned a blues bar in Athens, Ohio, and ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for the Ohio State Senate in 2004. He sued Iran for $100 million in damages in a federal courtroom and finally collected about $26 million from Iranian property in america that had been frozen by the federal government. His windfall lasted about seven years; he filed for chapter in 2009.

Mr. Anderson established a basis, the Vietnam Kids’s Fund, with a pal, Marcia Landau, which constructed greater than 50 faculties in Vietnam. He additionally contributed $100,000 to endow the Father Lawrence Jenco Basis, named for a fellow hostage who was the director of the Catholic Aid Providers in Beirut. The muse helps neighborhood service initiatives in Appalachia.

“Although my father’s life was marked by excessive struggling throughout his time as a hostage in captivity, he discovered a quiet, comfy peace lately,” his daughter Sulome mentioned. “I do know he would select to be remembered not by his very worst expertise, however by his humanitarian work with the Vietnam Kids’s Fund, the Committee to Shield Journalists, homeless veterans and plenty of different unimaginable causes.”

Mr. Anderson taught on the Columbia Graduate Faculty of Journalism, Scripps Faculty of Journalism at Ohio College, the College of Kentucky, the S.I. Newhouse Faculty of Public Communications at Syracuse College and the College of Florida.

Along with his daughter Sulome, he’s survived by Ms. Bassil, his second of three wives, whom he married in 1993; one other daughter, Gabrielle Anderson, by his first spouse, Mihoko Anderson; a sister, Judy Anderson; and a brother, Jack.

One other sister, Peggy Say, figuratively wrapped America in a yellow ribbon of remembrance and rallied humanitarian teams and world figures to maintain her youthful brother from being forgotten after he was kidnapped. She died in 2015.

In 1993, Mr. Anderson revealed a memoir, “Den of Lions: Memoirs of Seven Years.” In The New York Instances E book Overview, Prof. Eugene Kennedy of Loyola College in Chicago referred to as it “an unbelievable and shifting love story” of a world-weary correspondent responsible over a failed marriage who falls in love with an exquisite Lebanese Maronite Catholic, a relationship that restores his non secular conviction and offers a non secular basis “for his surviving his arbitrarily brutal years as a captive.”

As a lot as captivity was an ordeal, Mr. Anderson recalled, so was re-acclimating to what he referred to as “the true world.”

“I had issues, and it took me a very long time to start to deal with them,” he mentioned. “Individuals ask me, ‘Did you recover from them?’ I don’t know! Ask my ex-wife — ask my third ex-wife. I don’t know; I’m who I’m.”

“I used to be broken an important deal greater than I used to be conscious of — than anybody was conscious of,” he mentioned, including, “It takes as lengthy to recuperate because the time you spent in jail.”

Neil MacFarquhar contributed reporting.

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