Friday, November 18, 2011

THIS DAY IN HISTORY: November 18, 1991. Terry Waite released

Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon free Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite after more than four years of captivity. Waite, looking thinner and his hair grayer, was freed along with American educator Thomas M. Sutherland after intense negotiations by the United Nations.
Waite, special envoy of the archbishop of Canterbury, had secured the release of missionaries detained in Iran after the Islamic revolution. He also extracted British hostages from Libya and even succeeded in releasing American hostages from Lebanon in 1986.

A total of 10 captives were released through Waite's efforts before Shiite Muslims seized him during a return mission to Beirut on January 20, 1987. He was held captive for more than four years before he was finally released.

During captivity, Waite said he was frequently blindfolded, beaten and subjected to mock executions. He spent much of the time chained to a radiator, suffered from asthma and was transported in a giant refrigerator as his captors moved him about.
Waite, 52, made an impromptu, chaotic appearance before reporters in Damascus after his release to Syrian officials. He said one of his captors expressed regret as he informed Waite he was about to be released.
"He also said to me: 'We apologize for having captured you. We recognize that now this was a wrong thing to do, that holding hostages achieves no useful, constructive purpose,'" Waite said.
The release of Waite and Sutherland left five Western hostages left in Beirut—three Americans, including Terry Anderson, and two Germans. The Americans would be released by December 1991, the Germans in June 1992.

Some 96 foreign hostages were taken and held during the Lebanon hostage crisis between 1982 and 1992. The victims were mostly from Western countries, and mostly journalists, diplomats or teachers. Twenty-five of them were Americans. At least 10 hostages died in captivity. Some were murdered and others died from lack of adequate medical attention to illnesses.
The hostages were originally taken to serve as insurance against retaliation against Hezbollah, which was thought to be responsible for the killing of over 300 Americans in the Marine barracks and embassy bombings in Beirut. It was widely believed that Iran and Syria also played a role in the kidnappings.

American Revolution
Fort Washington becomes Fort Knyphausen, 1776
Volkswagen's "Dream Factory" opens in Resende, Brazil, 1996
Civil War
President Lincoln travels to Gettysburg, 1863
Cold War
Congress issues final report on Iran-Contra scandal, 1987
High-profile expert on exotic birds is sentenced for smuggling parrots, 1996
Commuters die in subway fire, 1987
General Interest
Haig ends Battle of Somme, 1916
Mass suicide at Jonestown, 1978
Tom Cruise weds, again, 2006
Alice McDermott wins the National Book Award, 1998
Billy Joel earns his first #1 album when 52nd Street tops the Billboard pop chart, 1978
Old West
Railroads create the first time zones, 1883
Chester Arthur dies in New York, 1886
Sandy Koufax retires, 1966
Vietnam War
South Vietnamese conduct largest air assault to date, 1964
South Vietnamese fight first major battle after U.S. troops are withdrawn, 1969
Nixon appeals to Congress for funds for Cambodia, 1970
World War I
Battle of the Somme ends , 1916
World War II
Hitler furious over Italy's debacle in Greece, 1940

No comments:

Post a Comment