Adonis Diaries

Cycle of life for Hostages

Posted on: April 14, 2010

Cycle of life orf Hostages; (Apr. 14, 2010)

French reporter Philippe Rochot published “Within Islam’s revolts” that describes his reporting jobs in many countries (over 40 States) most of them in conflict and civil wars.  Rochot had visited Lebanon many times for reporting purposes before and during the civil war.

In 1985, against his best judgment, he agreed to revisit Lebanon to report on a new French hostage Michel Seurat.  It was a period when sympathizers of Khomeini were on the ascendance.

France of President Mitterrand had sided squarely with Saddam Hussein of Iraq against Iran and shipped all kinds of fighter jets and sophisticated armaments to Iraq (Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were guarantors for the open credits of war materials).  This war  lasted 8 years leaving a million casualties on both sides and many millions of seriously injured handicapped persons.

Rochot was kidnapped in Lebanon in 1985 for 8 months and a long chapter describes his captivity.

Rochot writes:

“My life cycle revolved around two bottles: one bottle for drinking and the other one to urinate in.

I was chained to a radiator and allowed to piss once every 10 hours. I was not given a razor to shave and the length of my mustaches was a serious handicap for eating the fast food of hamburger kind.  I ended up pulling out the hair one by one; it was a painful act but efficacious.

My long beard reminded me of my reporting assignment in Afghanistan in 1980 when I purposely had to grow a beard to blend nicely with the people. I got into the habit of smoothing down my beard.”

Every 10 days, the abductors would bring a newer set of cloths; mainly sweat pants and T-shirts. (Probably the kidnappers had no washing machines or didn’t feel obligated to washing prisoners’ cloths).

Once, a “designated” photographer took pictures of the captive to dispatch to the French Embassy and the original cloths were dumped in front of Philippe to wear for the occasion. He was permitted to write a single line to his wife and two daughters “I am in good health”.

There was no correspondence or any kinds of messages arriving from the outside.  Occasionally, radio was brought in for specific events.  When Ronald Reagan of the US bombed Libya two British hostages were killed: The US bombers crossed Britain airspace.

It seemed as if the kidnappers in direct contact with the hostages had a day job: they showed up at nightfall for the night task of watching over the prisoners; sort of gaining extra money to make ends meet.

Rochot dreaded most to fall sick. Many captives died out of sickness because the kidnapping faction had no official links with a hospital or any kinds of health practitioner.

One night, the area of captivity was bombed and one of the militia was injured.  Rochot could hear the injured person in the next room and the kidnappers were at a loss what to do with their comrade.  For example, hostage Michel Seurat died of liver cancer in captivity; the kidnappers claimed to have killed him in retaliation for some kind of France political position.  Seurat was moved to another room to cry out his pains and sufferings.

The other French captive could hear Seurat moaning all the time for many weeks before death relieved Michel. (Probably, the kidnapping faction was not addicted to drugs as the Christian militias were, or it had not the means for purchasing drugs to relieve Seurat from his pains).

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adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2010
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