April 4, 2002
Former hostage talks about terrorism
hostage, negotiator and author Terry Waite's life is a testament
to the resilience of the human spirit. In the late 1980s,
after being sent to Beirut to negotiate for the safety of
others, he was taken captive and held in solitary confinement
for four years.
He will talk about his experience and examine the causes of
international terrorism at California State University, Sacramento
at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 18 in the University Union Ballroom.
Waite became a public figure in the 1980s, when he gained
international recognition for successfully negotiating the
release of British hostages in Iran and Libya. Facing great
danger and formidable adversaries - including the leadership
of the Ayatollah Khomeini's revolution and Colonel Muammar
Qadhafi - Waite's grace-under-fire philosophies prevailed.
On a fateful day in 1987 in Beirut, while negotiating for
the release of Western hostages on behalf of the Archbishop
of Canterbury, Waite himself was taken hostage by Shiite Muslims.
He remained in captivity for 1,760 days, the first four years
of which were spent in solitary confinement. He was beaten
and subjected to mock executions.
"I vowed, as soon as I realized what was going on, that
there were three things I would stick to," Waite said
after he was released. "No regrets, I knew that I had
done the best I could. No self-pity, because self-pity will
kill, and no over-sentimentality, because if you start thinking
how much nicer you could have been to your family, you'll
fall into absolute misery."
Even today, more than 10 years since being held hostage, the
experience of those years still haunts him.
"I was living in a tiny room without natural light. Often
I was chained to the wall with my hands and feet. I was blindfolded
when somebody came in the room and I had no news of the outside
world," he says.
But Waite feels he came out of the ordeal "enriched by
"I have a greater understanding of people now. I know
what it is like not to have any human dignity, to be pushed
around, to be sick and not to have medicine," he says.
Waite has written several acclaimed novels based on his experiences.
The first book published after his release, Taken on Trust,
was something he had written in his head as he remained chained
to the wall in the dark.
Today, Waite continues his humanitarian efforts through his
writings, lectures and work with organizations such as Y-Care
International, a disaster-relief funding organization administered
through YMCAs worldwide. He also serves as United Kingdom
president of Emmaus International, an organization for the
homeless; and director of Freeplay Foundation and Educational
Interactive Solutions, an Internet company that publishes
Tickets for his talk at CSUS are $10 general and $5 for students.
Tickets are available at the CSUS Ticket Office at (916) 278-4323
or at Tickets.com
at (916) 766-2277. Additional media assistance is available
from the CSUS office of public affairs at (916) 278-6156.
For further information, send an e-mail
public affairs at (916) 278-6156. For ticketed events, call
the CSUS Ticket Office at (916) 278-4323.
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