No one plans to encounter a terrorist and becoming a hostage. What can you do to increase the odds of survival?
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While every hostage situation is different, there are some general considerations to keep in mind.
* U.S. Government policy is firm: they do not make concessions to terrorists. When Americans are abducted overseas, the U.S. government looks to the host government to exercise its responsibility under international law to protect all persons within its territories and to bring about the safe release of hostages. The United States works closely with these governments from the outset of a hostage-taking incident to ensure that their citizens and other victims are released as quickly and safely as possible.
* At the outset of a terrorist incident, the terrorists typically are tense, high-strung and may behave irrationally. It is extremely important that you remain calm and alert, and control your own behavior.
* Avoid resistance and sudden or threatening movements. Do not struggle or try to escape unless you are certain of being successful. Don’t try to be a hero, endangering yourself and others.
* Consciously put yourself in a mode of passive cooperation. Talk normally. Do not complain, avoid belligerency, and comply with all orders and instructions.
* If questioned, keep your answers short. Don’t volunteer information or make unnecessary overtures.
* Make a concerted effort to relax. Prepare yourself mentally, physically and emotionally for the possibility of a long ordeal.
* Try to remain inconspicuous, avoid direct eye contact and the appearance of observing your captors’ actions.
* Avoid alcoholic beverages. Eat what they give you, even if it does not look or taste appetizing, but keep consumption of food and drink at a moderate level. A loss of appetite and weight is normal.
* If you are involved in a lengthier, drawn-out situation, try to establish a rapport with your captors, avoiding political discussions or other confrontational subjects.
* Establish a daily program of mental and physical activity.
* Think positively and avoid a sense of despair. You are a valuable commodity to your captors, and it is important to them to keep you alive and well.
Your government will do everything short of conceding to gain your release. Political and media pressure may assist in your release. Keep your cool, say your prayers, and avoid endangering your life and the lives of others.