To Geordie Workers Planning to Take a Job in Iraq, I'd Advise: Think Again

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), July 9, 2004 | Go to article overview

To Geordie Workers Planning to Take a Job in Iraq, I'd Advise: Think Again


Byline: By Peter Taylor

Former hostage John McCarthy today warned job- seekers thinking of moving to Iraq: Don't do it.

Mr McCarthy, 47, is in the North East next week to help raise money to care for victims of torture in his role as patron of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture.

A critic of the Iraq War, he revealed how upset he has been over the recent spate of hostage-taking in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and its often murderous outcome.

And he added: "If there is a Geordie thinking of going out there as a construction worker or a nurse then my advice would be think again. Once you are stuck there you are stuck there.

"I went back to the Lebanon earlier this year to do research for a documentary looking at the Shia Muslims and there were plans to visit Iraq but we didn't go, and this was linked to the budget for the programme.

"But I also couldn't justify going back to a war zone. I thought of my family and I didn't want to get caught up in all that kind of insanity again."

Mr McCarthy's life changed dramatically in 1986 when he was on his first assignment to Beirut as a television news producer.

Setting out to the airport to fly back to Britain, he was kidnapped by Islamic Jihad. He was a hostage for five years, held, often in chains and blindfolded, in 13 locations around Beirut.

The images of his release in 1991 made world headlines and a year later he became involved with the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture and has been a committed supporter ever since. …

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