Page 3 Profile: Terry Waite, Peace envoy


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The Independent Online

Off to Lebanon, eh? Sounds like a fun trip.

That's not always been the case for Terry Waite. In 1987, he was an envoy for the Archbishop of Canterbury, sent there to secure the release of four hostages. He was accused of being a CIA agent and held hostage for 1,760 days in a cramped cell.

Sounds grim. He must detest the place.

You might guess so, but last Monday, he returned to Beirut, offering forgiveness and reconciliation to Hezbollah, whose associates are thought to have been responsible for his ordeal. Now 73, he met Ammar Moussawi, Hezbollah's senior foreign-affairs official.

How did the meeting go?

Well, he got to go home this time. At the meeting, he told Mr Moussawi: "My first reason for the visit is to say the past is the past."

That's nice, but hang on, aren't Hezbollah terrorists?

That depends on whom you ask, and where they come from. As for Terry, he said: "Hezbollah has grown into a fully fledged political party with seats in Lebanon's parliament and is now in a unique position to work for peace in the region. I met with them quite prepared to put my own sufferings in the past. The only way forward is by the pathway of forgiveness."