John McCarthy CBE is Britain’s longest-held hostage. He is an Author, Journalist and Keynote Speaker.
John’s awful journey of self-discovery began in April 1986 when he was working in Beirut for a television news agency. The political situation in Beirut escalated and it became too dangerous to stay. He held a goodbye drinks celebration for his friends and made no secret of his route home. This proved to be his greatest mistake.
He was kidnapped at gunpoint by Islamic fundamentalists on route to the airport and spent the next five years, sometimes blindfolded, often very scared, in a mosquito-ridden cell in Lebanon where he endured beatings, physical hardship, boredom and at times, solitary confinement.
Amazingly, it wasn’t all gloom and doom. Much of his captivity he shared his cell with Irish lecturer and philosopher Brian Keenan. Their horseplay, sense of humour and friendship was a lifesaver in every sense. Together they tried to comprehend why their guards acted as they did and to understand their political and religious motivations and beliefs. John and Brian sometimes had the courage to stand up to their captors and they were, at times, even able to joke with them.
But there were hellish moments too, of course, such as the times when they were gagged and bound from head to foot in sticky tape like modern-day mummies as they were transported from one cell to another. Many incidents were hard to forgive and forget.
Incarceration taught John many things. He developed techniques to overcome physical and mental torture, self-doubt and despair. Above all, he learned to live with himself. John’s story is dramatic, moving and humbling: his story captivates all who hear it
John McCarthy was eventually released by the Islamic militant group on 8th August 1991, after 5 years in captivity. The journalist and author was Briton’s longest-held Hostage in Lebanon.
John McCarthy Keynote Speaker:
John is an extremely popular choice as a keynote speaker, sharing his experience of being a hostage for five years in Lebanon and the supreme levels of self-motivation he needed to stay alive.
“The way he managed to make such a potentially heavy subject so light and even get jokes in there was great”
Luton Business Link.
Audiences learn that at the forefront of his mind in captivity was the extract from a book about the Middle East by Freya Stark which has become a loose philosophy for his life – “Exercise, the attainment of knowledge, the practice of affection- the three best in mankind, and beyond these a gift of the spirit which is divine.”
John McCarthy has a unique and inspirational story for ALL. His presentation focuses on:
- True Courage
- True Self Motivation
- True Will to Win
- True Teamwork
John’s story is inspirational not only because he survived but also because he is able to describe the cruelty he suffered, as his captors tried to break his spirit, with such extraordinary dignity and humour.