October 2nd, 2012 14:43 EST
Radical Madmen: The Scarring Remains
It was 6:30 AM, September 1977. I clenched my teeth as the madman shoved the muzzle of cold steel against my lips. The gun hurt and my lips bled. Perspiration slithered down my back as fear wrapped around me like a boa constrictor. My breath stopped. Thoughts of death flashed my mind. The previous night I boarded the Japan Air Lines flight in Cairo, Egypt and flew all night glued to the window watching the fires over Kuwait. The plane landed in Karachi, Pakistan for an hour. Flying four more hours, the plane arrived in Bombay, India to refuel and take on more passengers. I stood on the top of the boarding stairs, but the dank, heavy air smelled of gasoline and drove me back into my seat. I slipped off my shoes and tried to get a little sleep.
Twenty minutes after departing I heard screaming coming from coach class. An Arab man wearing a hat and sunglasses wave a gun in his hand yelling, Sit, Sit, Passports! Three Japanese men appeared from the back wearing red and white-checkered scarves masking their faces. The one giving orders didn`t wear a mask. The hijackers held guns and hand grenades and quickly took over our plane, placing explosives on the floor and seats. We were told to keep our hands over our heads. They spoke in Japanese, Arabic and a little broken English. The passengers were told to hand over our passports, but when passengers stood up to retrieve them from the storage bins overhead, they were pistol-whipped.The Chief steward, Takese Ikasue, lay motionless on the floor. Our fuel was low. The hijacker demanded our pilot to take the plane down in Dacca, Bangladesh. The plane shuddered as it nearly collided with a departing fighter.
The hijackers announced they were the Japanese Red Army. We later learned these terrorists were trained by The Palestinian Liberation Organization. They were vicious, filled with hatred and had no regard for life. The passengers were kept captive for five days and nights. Sitting in 130-degree heat, people we begging for water and the toilets were putrid. My mind tried to rationalize why we were being kidnapped. The first two days were terrifying. We were told they would shoot one passenger every three hours until their demands were met. They picked the Americans to be the first killed.The flight holds the longest record of hijacking in the Guinness World Records.
Growing up in Los Angeles I never saw such hatred for other races.This was the most frightening experience in my life. Fear takes away human dignity reducing one to the lowest form of life. I didn`t know who they were or for what cause we were being taken prisoner.
Now thirty four years later the lunacy still continues. Two different worlds, two different types of terrorism, one same result. In the 70`s Yasser Arafat was the leader of the PLO. He was responsible for the ordering of all the airplanes to be hijacked around the world. Yet, he was given the Nobel Peace Prize. My question is, how could leaders in the U.S. not forsee the 9/11 planes blasting into our World Trade Center when the PLO used airplanes to make their cause known years before?
While visiting Syria and Lebanon in the 70`s, I saw what poverty and illiteracy does to people. I saw the camps where thousands of Palestinians were kept in a ten block fenced-in ghetto. They lived on the lowest standard of cleanliness. It was only a matter of time for them to fight back. The hijackers were Arab terrorists who happen to be Islamics fighting for their comrade prisoners to be released. They weren`t radical Islamics, killing and blowing things up to get virgins in paradise. Despite different goals or outcome, the personal scarring is the same.
It will take strong leadership and force to handle this situation that is mounting around the world. These radicals who are killing our ambassadors and soldiers are not religious people. The only way they understand peace is through force. All Muslims don`t hate Americans, they have been suppressed for so many years that they are fighting for their own freedom. Moderate Muslims need to take control of their own radical groups, protect and educate their own people and stand up to their own Muslim madmen!
By Carole Wells
Carole Wells started working as an actress and singer at the age of twelve. At sixteen she sang opera in the Hollywood Bowl and co-starred in two series, National Velvet- NBC and Pistols `n` Petticoats-CBS :she made over one hundred TV shows and ten films including Funny Lady. Her new book, Amberella has been released and she is finishing several novels on her life experiences, Doheny Road, Life After Being Hijacked by the Japanese Red Army and The Girls From Hollywood High. She was awarded the Humanitarian Award by the county and city of Los Angeles for her work with handicapped and abused children. For more credits: CaroleWells.com
Author of Amberella