AREC 2018 Gold Coast: Kidnapped Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout receives standing ovation

first_imgFreed hostages Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout and Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan, seated together at a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, 26/11/2009.It was August 23, 2008 when Lindhout, a Canadian journalist and her colleague, Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan, were abducted by militants on the outskirts of Mogadishu, in Somalia.They had been driving out of town, with armed guards, to do a story at a refugee camp when they were ambushed and kidnapped.“We saw a vehicle that was pulled over on the side of the road and it grabbed our attention,” she said.“What unfolded was something out of your worst nightmare or a Hollywood movie.”Lindhout explained how a dozen men emerged, their faces wrapped in scarfs — it was the start of a 460-day nightmare.“The first long days turned into the first weeks which somehow became months,” she said.“Sometimes we were blindfolded — certainly we always knew there was the possibly of death.” Screengrab from Al-Jazeera TV reportedly showing kidnapped hostages Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout and Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan while in captivity.The pair attempted to escape and had a taste of freedom before they were recaptured. Lindhout’s treatment then became more brutal. She was chained up in a black room and tortured by her kidnappers.“I remember at this point in captivity thinking I had lost everything,” she said.“I didn’t see the sky. I never had the feeling of a breeze. I had lost my own name. I didn’t laugh once.“There I was, 27 years old, in a pitch black room in Somalia.”More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa17 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoLindhout said it was the ability to forgive and gain compassion for her captors that ultimately pulled her through.“When I touched on this tiny seed of compassion it felt like relief, almost like a truth,” she said. “I guess what I discovered was the human spirit. My determination to survive grew.” Photo from a facebook support site for Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout showing Lindhout (right) and Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan.Lindhout and Brennan’s ordeal finally ended in November 2009 when a $1 million ransom was paid and they were freed. They then began the long journey to recovery.“I remember struggling to know who I was,” she said.“Freedom was really hard for me to grasp.”“Over these last eight and half years I’ve gone on such a journey of every emotion that you can imagine.Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:30Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:30 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD432p432p288p288p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenAREC 2018 promo video00:30But she said it was something she battled with daily.“Every morning when I wake I want to be a forgiving person,” she said.“The truth is there are a lot of days I can’t quite get there.“On those days where I can’t get there, forgiveness, understanding or compassion is just a distant point in the horizon, (but) then I point my feet in that direction and try again the next day. It gets easier and again it’s something that I do for myself.” AREC 2018: ‘EVERYONE THOUGHT I WAS CRAZY’ AREC 2018: PERSISTENCE IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS In June 2015 one of their captors, Ali Omar Ader, was lured to Ottawa where he was arrested and both Lindhout and Brennan faced him, in court, for the first time last year.More recently, at the end of March this year, both Lindhout and Brennan, who now lives in Tasmania, faced Ader again, this time to deliver powerful victim impact statements.“I’ve been given a second chance at my life and I really want to make my time in this planet matter,” she told the crowd.“It’s really only when you learn how to let go that you will have peace and freedom.”Since her release Lindhout has embarked on a philanthropic career, has written a New York Times best-selling book and regularly speaks publicly about her kidnappping experience and how it has shaped who she is.center_img Amanda Lindhout survived 460 days as a hostage in Somalia. The former war reporter turned best-selling author and international speaker hit the stage at AREC 2018.KIDNAPPED Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout received a standing ovation on the Gold Coast after sharing her incredible story of survival.Lindhout was the final speaker in front of more than 4,000 participants attending the two-day Australasian Real Estate Conference on the Gold Coast in Queensland today. Fighting back tears, the 36-year-old had the entire room captivated as she took the audience through her kidnapping ordeal.last_img read more