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Hostag: The Bachar tapes (English Version)
Walid Ra'ad, Lebanon / United States
Hostag: The Bachar tapes (English Version), 2001
Mini-DV, 16:54 minutes
Courtesy of Walid Ra'ad
Selected by: ZKM_Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe
Hostag: The Bachar Tapes (English Version) is an experimental documentary about The Western Hostage Crisis. The crisis refers to the abduction and detention in Lebanon in the 1980s and early 1990s of Western men like Terry Anderson and Terry Waite by Islamic militants. This episode directly and indirectly consumed Lebanese, American, French, and British political and public life, and precipitated a number of high-profile political scandals like the Iran-Contra affair in the United States.

In Hostag: The Bachar Tapes (English Version), The Western Hostage Crisis is examined through the testimony of Souheil Bachar. Mr. Bachar was held hostage in Lebanon between 1983 and 1993. What is remarkable about Souheilís captivity is that he was the only Arab man to have been detained with the Western hostages kidnapped in Beirut in the 1980s. In fact, Souheil was held for three months in 1985 in the same cell as five American men: Terry Anderson, Thomas Sutherland, Benjamin Weir, Marting Jenco, and David Jacobsen.

In 1999, Bachar collaborated with The Atlas Group (a non-profit cultural research foundation based in Lebanon) to produce 53 videotapes about his captivity. Tapes #17 and #31 are the only two tapes Bachar makes available outside of Lebanon. In the tapes, Bachar addresses the cultural, textual, and sexual aspects of his detention with the Americans.

Walid Ra'ad
wraad@earthlink.net