New York Times Journalist, Oklahoma Native Shares Survival Story

Thursday, March 24th 2011, 7:35 pm
By: News 9

Amy Lester, Oklahoma Impact Team

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- New York Times reporter and Oklahoman native Anthony Shadid feels lucky. He was captured in Libya, beaten and interrogated, and now he's sharing his story of captivity and survival.

"It's just so good to see you know, the family and be back in a familiar place and to in some way realize that it's over," Shadid said.

Relaxing with his family in Lebanon, Anthony Shadid is now far from the terror in Libya.

Just last week, he and three other journalists were captured by government soldiers at a checkpoint. Moments later they were told to lie face down, and a soldier said "Shoot them."

"None of us went crazy. None of us started kind of freaking out. It's just that horrible resignation, that emptiness you know that it might be the end," he said.

Then, someone said "You can't. They're Americans." So they didn't and for 12 hours, Shadid and the other journalists were held captive, sometimes bound, out in the open in the middle of a firefight.

"We would dive to the ground, gunfire was everywhere, rocket propelled grenades, tank fire. It was a full on battle,' said Shadid.

After surviving that, they endured beatings, questioning and finally were turned over to the foreign ministry.

The four were freed in less than a week, faster than Shadid expected.

But something still haunts him. No one knows what happened to Mohammed, the man who volunteered to drive them around Libya, the day of the capture.

"If he did die, we're going to have to live with that the rest of our lives, that to put it bluntly, someone's blood is on our hands," Shadid said.

This experience was enough to make Shadid decide his days of reporting on war zones are over.

"I think luck might be running out. I don't want to go back to Iraq anymore, Libya," said Shadid. "I think I might just be better off covering the quieter stories."