Ex-Beirut kidnap victim: I’m amazed people still remember

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Ex-Beirut kidnap victim: I’m amazed people still remember

As he turns 80, Terry Waite describes how his ordeal continues to shape his life, and how he managed to soldier on

Robert Mendick

It was seven years ago that I took Terry Waite back to Lebanon to meet his kidnappers. We landed at Beirut airport and summoned a taxi – one of those big old Mercedes saloons that are so familiar in the Middle East – and clambered in.

Terry sat in the front, a big man, all 2m of him occupying the front passenger seat and blocking my view. ”Are you okay there?” I shouted to him from the back, aware of my own responsibility in bringing Terry back to this place. “I’m absolutely fine,” he replied. Deep pause. “The last time I was in one of these,” he continued, his voice reverberating about the interior of the car, “I was in the boot.”

I remember thinking at the time how his sense of humour, often quite black, must have helped get him through such an ordeal...

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