I did my best to see the best in a bad situation (for 6 years!)

Two men released from al Qaeda captivity after six years in northern Mali made their first public appearances Thursday, recounting their ordeals. […] The extremists have made a fortune over the last decade abducting foreigners in the vast Sahel region and demanding enormous ransoms for their release.

When asked how they coped during their long years in the desert with their captors, Mr. Gustafsson said he converted to Islam “to save my life.” He said fleeing the extremists had been “out of the question.” He had been on a motorcycle tour of Africa when he was seized.

Mr. McGown, who said he also converted to Islam, said his captors gave him clothes, food and medication.

“I did my best to see the best in a bad situation,” he said. He described how he learned some Arabic to communicate and said he watched birds migrate “backwards and forwards” across the vast Sahara.

~ By Associated Press: excerpts from Men Who Were Held by al Qaeda Tell of Ordeal (wsj.com, August 10, 2017)

Photograph: Freed hostage Stephen McGown with his wife Catherine on Thursday. Photo by Gulshan Khan, Agence France-Presse


  1. How one even survives the terror…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Make or break!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. and that is the same way that those who survive and are at peace in the world, approach life. it is all about adapting as we go along, and finding the best in things. i am in awe of these two, who were able to do so under such extreme circumstances, but i believe this made all the difference in their surviving the experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. As long as birds migrate there is hope. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If those two aren’t a demonstration of intestinal fortitude, I don’t know what is. But then again, think of Mandela. He was imprisoned for 27 years!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The time must have dragged endlessly, the heat constantly bearing down on them …

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Puts our small troubles in perspective, does it not?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. He looks good!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Incredible. Just don’t know what I would do……

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A testament to the inner strength of people. I, too, thought of Mandela and how he chose love over hate…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The emotional and physical strength it took to survive…and in that heat…I hope they were not physically beaten or tortured…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Over Joy for the men and their families…to be home, after six years…

    Liked by 1 person

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