Saturday, November 18, 2017

November 18th...This Day in History

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Terry Waite released 1991

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Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon free Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite after more than four years of captivity. Waite, looking thinner and his hair grayer, was freed along with American educator Thomas M. Sutherland after intense negotiations by the United Nations.
Waite, special envoy of the archbishop of Canterbury, had secured the release of missionaries detained in Iran after the Islamic revolution. He also extracted British hostages from Libya and even succeeded in releasing American hostages from Lebanon in 1986.
A total of 10 captives were released through Waite’s efforts before Shiite Muslims seized him during a return mission to Beirut on January 20, 1987. He was held captive for more than four years before he was finally released.
During captivity, Waite said he was frequently blindfolded, beaten and subjected to mock executions. He spent much of the time chained to a radiator, suffered from asthma and was transported in a giant refrigerator as his captors moved him about.
Waite, 52, made an impromptu, chaotic appearance before reporters in Damascus after his release to Syrian officials. He said one of his captors expressed regret as he informed Waite he was about to be released.
“He also said to me: ‘We apologize for having captured you. We recognize that now this was a wrong thing to do, that holding hostages achieves no useful, constructive purpose,'” Waite said.
The release of Waite and Sutherland left five Western hostages left in Beirut—three Americans, including Terry Anderson, and two Germans. The Americans would be released by December 1991, the Germans in June 1992.
Some 96 foreign hostages were taken and held during the Lebanon hostage crisis between 1982 and 1992. The victims were mostly from Western countries, and mostly journalists, diplomats or teachers.Twenty-five of them were Americans. At least 10 hostages died in captivity. Some were murdered and others died from lack of adequate medical attention to illnesses.
The hostages were originally taken to serve as insurance against retaliation against Hezbollah, which was thought to be responsible for the killing of over 300 Americans in the Marine barracks and embassy bombings in Beirut. It was widely believed that Iran and Syria also played a role in the kidnappings.

 (More Events on This Day in History)
  • American Revolution

  • 1776 Fort Washington becomes Fort Knyphausen
  • Automotive

  • 1996 Volkswagen’s “Dream Factory” opens in Resende, Brazil
  • Civil War

  • 1863 Lincoln travels to Gettysburg
  • Cold War

  • 1987 Congress issues final report on Iran-Contra scandal
  • Crime

  • 1996 High-profile expert on exotic birds is sentenced for smuggling parrots
  • Disaster

  • 1987 Commuters die in subway fire
  • General Interest

  • 1916 Haig ends Battle of Somme
  • 1978 Mass suicide at Jonestown
  • Hollywood

  • 2006 Tom Cruise weds, again
  • Literary

  • 1998 Alice McDermott wins the National Book Award
  • Music

  • 1978 Billy Joel earns his first #1 album when 52nd Street tops the Billboard pop chart
  • Old West

  • 1883 Railroads create the first time zones
  • Presidential

  • 1886 Chester Arthur dies in New York
  • Sports

  • 1966 Sandy Koufax retires
  • Vietnam War

  • 1964 South Vietnamese conduct largest air assault to date
  • 1969 South Vietnamese fight first major battle after U.S. troops are withdrawn
  • 1970 Nixon appeals to Congress for funds for Cambodia
  • World War I

  • 1916 Battle of the Somme ends
  • World War II

  • 1940 Hitler furious over Italy’s debacle in Greece

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