April 19, 2005

The Damned of the West (part 1): Interview With Susan Hallums

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UPDATE 9/07: ROY HALLUMS RESCUED IN IRAQ!!!! Details here. Or try the Main Page.
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Update: Part 2 of the interview is here.
Part 3 is an interview with Roy Hallums' daughter is here.

American Roy Hallums was abducted from his temporary Baghdad home on November 1st, 2004. He was in Iraq as a civilian contractor working on rebuilding efforts. His mission had everything to do with helping the Iraqi people rebuild their country after decades of war, mismanagement, and terror under the Saddam Hussein regime.

Roy was taken hostage along with six other foreign nationals, including a Fillipino named Robert Tarongoy. The U.S. did not publish the fact that an American citizen had been taken hostage because of a policy of treating civilian abductions as purely private matters. The Jawa Report was the first publication to identify Roy Hallums as the hostage.

Since that time we have been in contact with members of the Hallums family who started leaving comments at our site. Roy's daughter, Carrie Hallums Cooper, and his ex-wife, Susan Hallums, have been leading the charge to keep Roy's plight in the media.

Unfortunately the mainstream media has tended to bury stories of American hostages in the back pages until something dramatic happens, such as the release of a hostage video. The sad fact is that the American hostages in Iraq are forgotten casualties of war. We find this situation unacceptable and pledge to do our part in keeping these victims in the headlines.

I had the opportunity to have several e-mail conversations with both Susan Hallums and Carrie Hallums Cooper recently. They have graciously agreed to letting us interview them. What follows is part 1 in a series of interviews with the family of Roy Hallums. This segment features an interview with Susan Hallums.

tom_hamill_susan_hallums.jpgSusan is Roy Hallums ex-wife and the mother of Roy's two daughters, Amanda and Carrie. Susan is in the process of selling the small house she inherited from her mother. The proceeds from the sale will go for a reward offer for information on Roy's wherabouts in Iraq. You can support Roy Hallums family by sending donations to:

Free Roy Foundation
c/o Carrie Cooper
PO Box 947
Westminster, Ca. 92684

More information is on the Free Roy website.

Rusty Shackleford: Can you tell our readers a little something about the kind of man Roy is?

Susan Hallums: Roy is the kind of person that is always well liked by most everyone that is fortunate enough to meet him. He is a very kind and caring man. He has always been a great father and grandfather to our daughters and granddaughter.

RS: Roy was taken hostage on Nov. 1st of last year. 29 days later The
Jawa Report was the first media outlet in the U.S. to release Roy's name publicly. However, we learned of Roy's captivity because the Filipino overnment erroneously reported that Tarongoy had been captured along with an American named "Roy Halluns". The only reason we found out his correct name was that a coworker of Roy's who knew him when he was working in Jordan happened upon our site and corrected the error. I assume that you were aware of his situation before you came across The Jawa Report.

In addition to Jeffrey Ake, another American hostage has recently been taken from the same neighborhood in Baghdad as Roy. His name is Mohammed Monaf. Again, the American media refuses to name him and we at The Jawa Report have only been able to identify him because of a reader in Romania who keeps us updated (he was captured along with two prominent Romanian journalist).

I guess what I want to know is if it caused you distress to come upon
Roy's name over the internet (and I apologize if it did), or if it was
a relief that his story was finally out in the open?

SH: I knew about his capture on Nov 1 . I was told not to discuss it with anyone other than immediate family. It was alarming to see it on Jawa but I also felt somewhat grateful and relieved.

I couldn't tell anyone and I felt it was possibly being covered up because it didn't look good for our administration [George W. Bush] to have hostages in the war. I thought it was a negative for the war. The lives being lost by the brave young men and women in our military and the enormous amount of money spent in Iraq. So keep quiet about
hostages.

Now 6 months has passed and still no information is given to us, his family. I think it's very wrong. I recently read about Terry Anderson and it was intriging for me. It was a Congressional Record that was written on the 4th anniverary of Terry Anderson's captivity:

The truth is that hostages in Lebanon today have become the damned of the West. Without hope of being saved, imprisoned in silence and darkness, deprived of the sight of the world of the living, forgotten, they no longer represent anything. The most tragic thing is that this torment is administered as much from the outside by countries and people indifferent to their fate as on the inside by their captors.

RS: You and Carrie have gone on record noting the frustration you've had at trying to get information out of the State Department concerning what
they know about Roy's fate. Has the State Department been more helpful since such major media outlets, such as CNN, have publicized your cause? What could they do to be more helpful.

SH: No , no agency has been helpful before or after media. It hasn't made any difference at all. They could put more effort and come up with a better plan than" we don't negotiate with terrorists". We need to do something if we don't negotiate. Roy is sitting there and I feel he is alive. Captivity is a day -to -day ordeal for him , it has to be for us as well! It is a heartwrenching ordeal and nightmare for our family. We pray for him constantly and cry as well.

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RS: After some hostages were taken in Iraq there were international
outcries, mass protests, and national days of prayer. Would you like
to see something similar in the U.S. to protest what is happening to
Roy?

SH: I was amazed by the huge outcries in Italy. Even though her story seemed to change, hundreds of people showed her compassion that they cared about her. I would find that wonderful and amazing if Americans showed mass support for the forgotten hostages. It would touch our hearts for sure and tell the world even though we don't negotiate we care about our fellow Americans that are living in horrible conditions our their outcome matters to us.


RS: Roberto Tarongoy was taken hostage on the same day as Roy, and the Filipino government as recently as two weeks ago claimed that they knew Tarongoy was alive. However, the Philipines has a policy of negotiating with hostage-takers and even paying ransom for hostages release. What are your thoughts on that policy?

SH: I think we need to come up with new ways to help the hostages. I
understand the no negotiate policy It doesn't feel right when it is your family member. I feel we need to offer rewards to the people that know about the hostages . I am told that the entire neighborhood knows when there is a hostage. So we made a reward flyer and are offering a reward. I hope and pray that it helps Roy.

Read part 2 of The Damned of the West: An interview with Susan Hallums here.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:00 PM | Comments |