A couple of years ago I wrote about Colonel Leland James Holland, a native of Scales Mound, Illinois, and where many of my relatives live(d). Col. Holland was one of the Americans taken hostage in Iran in 1979.
A few days ago I was reading the New York Times and saw an article stating that after 36 years the Americans (or their estates) held hostage in Tehran are to receive compensation for their ordeal. Some will receive up to $4.4 million.
I was surprised by the vitriol in the comments section against the families in receiving compensation. There were the two main arguments against:
- Since most of the hostages were part of the military and diplomatic service, they knew what they signed up for. (Really? Did the majority of those working in Foreign Service in 1979 worry about being psychologically and physically tortured as part of the job description? I doubt it.)
- They don’t deserve compensation because other people who’ve suffered terribly haven’t received compensation for their ordeals. (What kind of logic is this? If we can’t compensate everyone, no one should get it?)
It was disappointing to read all the negative comments. I shake my head in disbelief that so many people share these attitudes. Maybe it’s the amount of money. Personally, I’m extremely skeptical that any of the hostages or their estates will receive the full amount. It’s a pittance for what they endured. They and their families were irrevocably changed. The country was changed. Why begrudge them this money?
An article in the National Journal in 2013 discussed the fight for reparations. Unfortunately, the video clips interviewing some of the surviving hostages and family members are no longer accessible. These clips were informative. The article provides perspective of this fight, which I think is important.