Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Former Hostage Revisits the Scene Terry Anderson Goes Back to Lebanon

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Former Hostage Revisits the Scene Terry Anderson Goes Back to Lebanon

Article excerpt

TERRY ANDERSON had no interest in walking down, as he put it, "a rather nasty memory lane."

This explains why the former hostage's documentary on Lebanon dwells more on how the country has recovered from its civil war than on how Anderson felt about his first trip back there since being released from captivity.

"Lebanon: A Return to the Lion's Den" premieres on CNN at 8 p.m. Sunday in St. Louis, three days short of five years since Anderson's release by the Muslim extremists who took him hostage. The former chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press was held for 2,455 days after being kidnapped following a morning tennis game on March 16, 1985. Along with the bombings of the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in 1983, Anderson's ordeal was the most visible international symbol of the war that wracked Lebanon for 15 years. His return in August had deep personal meaning, of course. Anderson's wife, Madeleine, is Lebanese, and he had never met some members of her family. "For seven of the 10 years I spent here, I didn't have a lot of visitors," he says sardonically in the documentary. The return also was important to Lebanese - many of whom have approached Anderson to apologize for the kidnapping - as a way of putting the incident behind them, he said in an interview. So when Anderson shopped the idea of a documentary, he had no shortage of people eager to plumb those emotions. But he resisted that story line. "I said I was not interested in meeting old prison guards," he explai ned. "It's five years ago. I'm in a different place now. Why am I going back? Aside from personal reasons, it's because I'm curious about Lebanon." The documentary opens with filmed images of Anderson's captivity and release, yet quickly moves on. It doesn't ignore Anderson's story - his nervousness in meeting with Hezbollah officials is obvious - but the issue is so de-emphasized that it seems jarring when he is filmed discussing the kidnapping with former AP photographer Donald Mell, who was with him on that day. Lebanon is not entirely at peace today. Syrian soldiers occupy and essentially control what goes on, and a nervous standoff with Israelis in the southern part of Lebanon continues. …

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