Thursday, May 18, 2006

Do You Know Your History?

Who was the first American hostage held in Lebanon?

Stephen G. Esrati.

Who? you ask.

Stephen G. Esrati, Author of THE TENTH PRAYER, A NOVEL OF ISRAEL

Read on:-

I have just finished reading Mark Bowden's "Guests of the Ayatollah: The first battle in America's war with militant Islam." The book was of great interest to me because I was one of the 69 hostages taken by the grandiloquent Republic of the Great Lebanon in 1948. Because I was first down the gangplank, I am the first American hostage in Lebanon.

I am proud to say that we hostages behaved better than the ones taken by the "students" at the American Embassy in Tehran. We had no traitors, no squealers, nobody like Sgt. Joe Subic, who pleasantly pointed out the CIA people to the hostage takers.

And many of us were in on a huge secret. The Arabs had missed the most important passenger on the Marine Carp, a big shot with the Jewish Agency who used to hang out on the former rear gun turret of the ship listening to his Zenith Trans-Oceanic Globemaster radio. And none of us told them about him, nor about Gad and Yossef, two soldiers of the Irgun Zvai Leumi who were returning home after escape from British arrest

In Tehran, there were some real heroes among the hostages, such as Michael Metrinko, who resisted the "students," telling them exactly what he thought of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei, even when it meant he would be mercilessly beaten.

But there were some real traitors, too, such as the late (and unmourned be me) Rev. William Sloane Coffin, who visited the hostages and then spoke up fearlessly in support of the hostage-takers.

Like Coffin, the Rev. Darrell Rupiper, a Catholic priest from Omaha, backed the "students" all the way and even turned over to them a secret message from a hostage that sought to tell America that they were being mistreated, beaten, starved, and tortured. Rupiper would not even carry a message to a hostage's family.

Not as bad was Rabbi Hershel Jaffe of Newburgh, New York, who managed to get himself beaten by the "students" and who was appalled at Father Rupiper's attempts to join the revolution. But the two Jewish hostages absolutely refused to have anything to do with Jaffe.

It should be noted that the Jewish hostages, Barry Rosen and Jerry Plotkin, had to put up with Christmas merriment, courtesy of the "students."

The Lebanese intelligence service had surprised us. We were never questioned (except by a Dixiecrat U.S. Consul who wished us cancer, syphilis, and other diseases). There was no attempt to segregate the Haganah hostages from the Irgun Zvai Leumi hostages and only a few of us were even aware that a Palestinian overland truck driver was a member of the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel (Sternists). In those days the Jews were the Palestinians.

We were treated worse than the hostages in Iran. We were given one hot shower in the six weeks we were there. We all had dysentery (and were glad to be brought paregoric by the Dixieicrat. (I lost 35 pounds.)

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