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Number 1 Shimbun

The journalist hostage

03


by Charles Pomeroy

On Christmas Eve of 1991, Andy Adams (Sumo World), Don Kirk (USA Today), and Club President David Powers (BBC), raise their champagne glasses to Terry Anderson, the Chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press (AP) who had just been released after almost seven years in captivity as a hostage. The former active FCCJ member, serving both as 2nd and 1st Vice-President, was taken hostage by Muslim extremists in Lebanon on March 16, 1985. He would return to the Club in July of 1992 to recount his experience to our members.

Born in Ohio in 1947, Terry Anderson, who served as a US Marine Corps combat journalist, including two tours in Vietnam, graduated from Iowa State University in 1974 with degrees in journalism and political science prior to joining the AP. His career in that organization took him to various countries, including Japan and Korea. He was an enthusiastic participant in Club affairs. Nine references in the Index of the Club’s history book provide glimpses of his activities, including his harrowing coverage of Korea’s Kwangju rebellion. He became the AP’s Chief Middle East correspondent in 1983. He also became the longest held of almost a dozen Americans hostages seized by Hezbollah extremists in Lebanon at the time. When asked in an interview after his release how he had survived, he replied, “You just do what you have to do. You wake up every day and summon up energy from somewhere, and you get through the day, day after day after day.”

Post-release, Terry has led a busy life, writing a memoir of his hostage experience (Den of Lions), participating in talk shows, and teaching journalism at well-known universities. A lawsuit resulting in a multimillion-dollar settlement from frozen assets of the Iranian government, which had supported Hezbollah, also launched him into philanthropic activities. These included co-founding a non-profit organization to provide education for children in Vietnam as well as creating a foundation in the name of a fellow hostage of the Hezbollah. His one stab at politics, in which he ran as a Democrat in a Republican stronghold, ended in defeat in 2004.

Terry Anderson is now retired in Florida, where he leads a quiet life in the town of Unionville in Orange County.


– Charles Pomeroy
editor of Foreign Correspondents in Japan,
a history of the Club that is available at the front desk

Published in: July 2019

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