What happens when one country takes another country’s citizen hostage? What can families do? What are their lives like as they fight for the freedom of loved ones? Join the Pulitzer Center and Huston-Tillotson University on Wednesday, October 26, for an exploration of these issues with journalist Kate Woodsome of The Washington Post and freelance film editor Katrina De Vera, who worked together on Bring Them Home.
Americans Emad Shargi and his wife, Bahareh, were enjoying the freedom of being empty-nesters and visiting Iran, where they were born, while their daughters attended college. Then Iranian officials arrested and imprisoned Emad on bogus espionage charges. The film explores how his wife and daughters were forced into unlikely roles in their efforts to secure his release, finding the strength to navigate Iran’s authoritarian system and U.S. politics as their husband and father became a pawn in negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program.
During the event, Woodsome and De Vera will screen their short documentary film, Bring Them Home, created along with Ray Whitehouse. They also will share how they came to this story, behind-the-scene conversations about journalistic decisions made while telling this very personal story, and what they have learned since the film’s completion. University and Community Outreach Director Ann Peters will moderate the discussion.
There are more Americans being held hostage by foreign governments than by terrorist and organized crime groups, Woodsome notes. Of particular significance to Texas, where this screening and conversation will be held, Texans are disproportionately represented in this club no one wants to join. Among those individuals are: WNBA star Brittney Griner being held in Russia; businessman Mark Swiden in a Chinese prison; Journalist Austin Tice, who has been held in Syria for a decade; and Several Citgo employees who were wrongfully detained in Venezuela until recently being released in a prisoner swap. Their story is a rare victory as other Texans remain hostages overseas.
The event is free and open to the public.
Learn more about the reporting via the Pulitzer Center-supported reporting project, A Quiet Crisis: The Tragedy of State Hostage-Taking. Huston-Tillotson University is part of the Pulitzer Center’s Campus Consortium network.