From her home in Batavia, N.Y., Peggy Say feels a certain closeness today with the family and friends of Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite on the one-year anniversary of his captivity in Lebanon. She had similar feelings on March 16, 1986, a year after Terry Anderson, her brother and the Associated Press's chief Middle East correspondent, was taken hostage in Beirut. ``I don't understand why he [Mr. Anderson] is not home. I don't understand why the others are not home,'' Mrs. Say says.
It is only a matter of weeks before Anderson's family and friends will solemnly mark the third anniversary of his captivity. Anderson has been a hostage longer than any of the other Americans being held captive in Lebanon.
Say is frustrated that the hostage situation is viewed as a political issue rather than a human rights issue. Say watched the television coverage of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's visit to Washington and saw the groups of Americans demonstrating and demanding freedom for Soviet Jews. She supports such protests, she says, but wonders why Americans aren't outraged by the treatment of American hostages in Lebanon.
``There are eight Americans that are being deprived of their human rights, living in basements, chained and blindfolded most of the time. I can't understand why there seems to be almost a lack of concern,'' says Say. She presumes part of the answer is that Americans are simply tired of hostage situations.
Say expresses renewed frustration with the Reagan administration. Before the disclosure of United States arms sales to Iran, Say complained vociferously that the administration wasn't doing anything to free the hostages. After the scandal broke, Say and the families of other hostages were told there was a new policy concerning the hostages.
They were told nothing would be done either overtly or covertly to gain the hostages' release and the families would never again have access to government officials other than through an appointed State Department liaison.
``I'm given bare bones since the Iran-contra scandal.'' In a soft but firm voice, Say adds, ``I didn't sell arms to Iran, nor did I persuade President Reagan to, but I'm certainly being punished as if I had.'' Say and other relatives of the hostages received hate mail from some Americans who blamed the families for pressuring the administration into the Iran arms sales.
Say says she simply cannot accept the State Department contention that everything that can be done is being done, and that the hostage situation calls for quiet diplomacy. She doubts that would be the case if another plane load of Americans was taken hostage. ``I saw the TWA hijacking in 1985 resolved in 17 days,'' says Say. She notes the terrorists' initial demand in that instance was the same one being made for the release of Anderson and other Americans, the release of 17 terrorists in Kuwait. Eventually the TWA passengers were released, in exchange for Palestinians being held by Israel.
``People don't see this current hostage situation in the context of other hostage situations. No one ever criticized the way the TWA or Achille Lauro were resolved,'' Say says. In October 1985, Palestinian guerrillas seized the Achille Lauro, an Italian liner, and demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners. One person was killed.
Say wants the administration to negotiate with the terrorists and find some solution that will allow both sides to save face.
Clint Jones is the anchor of the daily MonitoRadio program.
Captives in Lebanon
Terry Anderson. Chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press. From Lorain, Ohio. Kidnapped March 16, 1985. Islamic Jihad claimed abduction. He is longest held captive.
Thomas Sutherland. Dean of School of Agriculture at American University of Beirut. From Fort Collins, Colo. Seized June 9, 1985. Islamic Jihad claimed abduction.
Frank Herbert Reed. Director of the Lebanese International School. Abducted in Beirut Sept. 9, 1986. Responsibility not clear: Islamic Jihad denied earlier call claiming responsibility. Pro-Libyan Arab Revolutionary Cells (Mukhtar Forces) says it is holding Reed.
Joseph James Cicippio. Acting comptroller at the American University in Beirut. From Valley Forge, Pa. Kidnapped Sept. 12, 1986. Arab Revolutionary Cells and Revolutionary Justice Organization claimed responsibility.
Edward Austin Tracy. Writer; seized in Oct. 21, 1986. Revolutionary Justice Organization claimed responsibility.
Jesse Turner. Assistant instructor of mathematics and computer sciences at Beirut University College. From Boise, Idaho. Kidnapped with Polhill, Steen, and Singh Jan. 24, 1987. Islamic Holy War for the Liberation of Palestine said Jan. 28 it was responsible.
Robert Polhill. Assistant professor of business studies at Beirut University College. From New York City. Kidnapped Jan. 24, 1987.
Alann Steen. Journalism professor at Beirut University College. From Boston. Kidnapped Jan. 24, 1987.
Marcel Fontaine. Vice-consul at French Embassy in Beirut; kidnapped March 22, 1985. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
Marcel Carton. Protocol officer of French Embassy; kidnapped in west Beirut March 22, 1985. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
Jean-Paul Kauffmann. Correspondent for French weekly L'Ev'enement du Jeudi; abducted May 22, 1985.
Michel Seurat. Researcher at French Center for Studies and Research on the Contemporary Middle East in Beirut; kidnapped May 22, 1985. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility, and said March 1986 that he had been executed - a claim as yet unconfirmed.
Rudolf Cordes. Businessman; seized Jan. 17, 1987; connected to arrest of Muhammed Ali Hamadei (Lebanese) for 1985 TWA hijacking.
Alec Collett. British journalist and UN consultant; abducted March 25, 1985. On April 23, 1986, Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Muslims claimed it had killed him.
John Patrick McCarthy. Cameraman for London-based Worldwide Television News agency; kidnapped April 17, 1986. (2 days after US bombing of Libya). Revolutionary Commando Cells claimed responsibility.
Terry Waite. Anglican Church envoy; not seen since Jan. 20, 1987.
Mithileshwar Singh. Indian with US resident-alien status. Visiting professor of business and finance at Beirut University College. Siezed Jan. 24, 1987.
Brian Keenan. Irish. Professor at American University of Beirut. Disappeared April 11, 1986.
Alberto Molinari. Italian businessman. Seized Sept. 11, 1985.
Two `European looking' men. Reportedly kidnapped in west Beirut Jan. 26, 1987. Names, nationality, or captors not confirmed.
Three Iranians. Missing since July 2, 1982, says Iran.