Hostage stunned by captors’ kindness

An Aussie teacher kidnapped by Palestinian gunmen in Gaza and held captive for 8 hours arrived back in Australia yesterday with an interesting story to tell. Brian Ambrosio, 37, who lived in the Gaza Strip for three years, flew home yesterday to be reunited with his family, who are based in Wangaratta.

While held captive, he was given a cooked breakfast, presented with lunch and introduced to the mother of one of his kidnappers.

From The Age article:

“It was scary, don’t get me wrong. Everyone had a gun and one guy was wearing a belt which had three grenades on it,” said the Australian teacher who was kidnapped last month on his way to work in the Gaza Strip.

But he said his eight-hour ordeal also had “surreal” moments — such as when one of the hostage-takers asked for his name. “I said Brian. He said, ‘That’s my favorite name, Bryan Adams is my favourite singer — Everything I Do, I Do it for You‘.”

Surreally, the kidnappers extended every “comfort” to their victims.

The teachers were offered meals and met the mother of the house. “We were asked maybe 30 times, ‘do you need anything?”‘ Mr Ambrosio said. “At one stage, I was shaking and one of the guys took his jacket off and gave it to me.”

“But he had gained a rare insight into the difficulties ordinary people faced from “collective punishments” handed out by Israel.

“There are two sides to this story,” he said. “You live here and you see the oppression. Gaza is the biggest outdoor prison in the world … For the last two months we have had to deal with sonic booms day and night — sometimes F16s fly low over Gaza from Israel and break the sound barrier at like 2am, 4am and 7 o’clock. People can’t sleep, children are wetting beds.”

Mr Ambrosio and his wife immersed themselves in Gaza life and were committed to the school. But living in the region boosted their appreciation of Australia.

“Gaza is an abnormal life but you can learn a lot about yourself,” he said.

When his ordeal ended, he was surprised by his good manners: “As I was about to be released, my natural reaction was to say ‘thank you’ and then I thought ‘you can’t do that’.”

Full article: Hostage stunned by captors’ kindness – theage.com.au

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