Amanda Lindhout

In 2008, Amanda Lindhout was a 27 year old with a hunger for experiencing remote places, trying to make it as a freelance journalist. But shortly after arriving in Somalia, Lindhout — along with photojournalist Nigel Brennan and their guides — was kidnapped, subjected to horrific abuse and held for ransom for 460 days. She has chronicled her experiences as a hostage in the book, “A House in the Sky,” and joins us to discuss the experience and her continued work in Somalia.

Amanda Lindhout, co-author of "A House in the Sky"
Sara Corbett, co-author of "House in the Sky" and contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine

  • Alec

    There are many people who have been forced on pain of death to convert to Islam, which is only necessary because very few people would choose to become Muslims. Often these victims at the earliest moment will reject their conversion so that their lives will not be permanently damaged by the imposition of a religion that has a Medieval mindset and a warlike streak. It’s sort of like saying to a schoolyard bully, No I won’t let you ruin my whole life because I’m bigger than you.

    Somali pirates are usually ex-fisherman whose waters were polluted by Western companies that dump radioactive waste off the coast.

  • Guest

    Incredibly inspiring interview. This young woman’s tale is so moving. As an adventurer myself who spent nearly a decade recovering from a painful wrong turn in my own 20s, I am deeply moved by Amanda’s intelligence and humanity. I am eager to share her story with my own daughters.

  • BioMeister

    This is pathetic. This naïve, self-involved idiot put multiple other people at risk, consumed huge amounts of time and money from numerous official and unofficial sources, put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the hands of terrorists, and at one point asked her mother to take the money her photographer / ex-boyfriend’s family had pulled together and to use it to secure ONLY HER FREEDOM. This is the LAST person we should be putting forward as anything but a BAD EXAMPLE!

    • bernice

      You are being seriously harsh and damaging in your criticism, sir. She made a bad mistake and is now doing the best she can to share the lessons learned.

      • BioMeister

        She made a stupid, TOTALLY PREDICTABLE mistake and paid an equally predictable price. If I decide to dress all in black and stroll across a busy Interstate Highway after dark, I’m going to get hit. It’s not courageous or in any way admirable, it’s just stupid. Experienced journalists who routinely put their lives at risk in war zones had abandoned Somalia for very good reasons, and in strolls this “adventurer,” dragging with her several locals and her ex-boyfriend, who she later tried to abandon to save her own sorry self. As for her doing “the best she can,” she sure is. She’ll get a book & movie deal out of it, and somewhere out in the world, some other dimwitted person will be “inspired” to repeat her folly. Her story is valuable ONLY as a lesson that when you do stupid, insanely-risky things, bad things will happen to you. Not a good example in any other sense.

      • Guest

        Excuse me if she wanted to share her lessons she could speak for FREE. She is on the show SELLING her book. Thus its $$$$$ And yes she was stupid and stupidity should not be rewarded.

    • Alec

      I think that’s the point actually.

      You can make a list of mistakes that were made, and it should serve as examples of what not to do.

      It’s a standard tale. Watch the film Deliverance for a variant.

      There are naive people who go to Hollywood with similar ideas of an exciting life, quick fame, exotic experiences, etc etc who end up abused and lucky to get out.

    • rico

      I agree 100 percent. She calls the Somalian abductors opertunist. Frankly speaking, she clearly had an agenda and in turn is the opportunistic individual. Ironically she put the abductors in a position in which I d like to here that side of the srory.

    • CP Wren

      I haven’t heard the interview yet. But I have to say that the tone of your replies is so offensively bluster-filled and reprehensibly non-constructive, I am moved to listen to the interview. I want to hear what motivations would exist for a group of adults, thus each is responsible for the decision they made to go into a country so brutally exploited by industrial entities. Of course there will be angry people in Somalia.

      That radioactive waste was dumped off of Somalian shores rendering fisherman with no livelihood is the real crime. It’s too bad that the exploited don’t recognize the importance of letting press tell their stories to the rest of the world. That would be a story worth pursuing in itself.

      As for your tone, I suggest that you try meditation, your heart will thank you.

      • BioMeister

        That tone is justified for someone who put others needlessly and stupidly at risk for her own profit and self-interest. She implicitly placed the emotional health and the life savings of her family at risk, and both were irreparably damaged, and she tried to dump the guy she dragged into the situation to save herself.
        As for the interview, maybe we’d have more information to go on if the Host hadn’t served up one softball question after another. Someone so tragically irresponsible deserves to be held to account for her actions, no matter what undeserved horror she suffered herself.

  • utera

    This was in 2007, well after 2001, when even the most naïve westerner should have been “educated” about islam and the problems in those countries. I can’t call her choice to go there anything more than stupid, you are a white western woman going to a screwed up country, no amount of feminist brainwash about empowerment is going to protect you from ugly reality.
    In the west you always have these womens groups saying that you can’t criticize any rape victim, well, how extreme an example do we need before we can say that she kind of walked into it. You don’t walk into a lions cage and not expect to be mauled, the lion doesn’t care about your moral judgment on such issues. In this case she literally flew 8000 miles to get mauled by a lion.
    And no I don’t have any respect for that religion either, the hypocrisy and moral depravity in that religion, which frankly helped allow their justification for their action just kind of says it all, but we can’t address that either;) After all, in this pc world, a woman has no responsibility for the risks she takes, and religious ideology is never judged on its merits. Its just assumed all religions are equal, regardless of the fact that being man made, some are going to be more defective than others. But as we know, we can’t talk about either thing, we can’t even acknowledge it, and that’s the real issue.

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