Today: April 12, 2024
·

My Kidnapper

What
would possess Mark Henderson to meet with the very same left-wing guerrillas who
kidnapped him and his colleagues in the Colombian Amazon and re-visit his hell?

Well, aside from the TV producer
smelling a good documentary in the waking, the conclusion of the film is it
pretty much a sought-after catharsis. It worked, at least, for Henderson. As for the rest of
the kidnapped group that he takes with him, they have either got over it and came along for the ride or are still
suffering the pains of yesteryear.

In 2003, the Colombian Marxist group E.L.N, the
National Liberation Army took it upon themselves to kidnap eight backpackers at
the tailend of a four-month trek to the Lost City in Sierra Nevada.
The reason for doing so, was at first unclear until their eventual release, 101
days later, and in fact, did not achieve the desired results. “It’s as if it all happened for nothing”, is Henderson’s eventual conclusion.

Almost a year later, Mark is incredulously
Facebook-friended by Antonio, one of the kidnappers
. Meantime, the
then fiancée
of the same man and fellow captor, Camila is also busy on the social
network scene. She contacts Henderson’s former fellow prisoner Reinhilt
Weigel and an on odd virtual relationship develops between the four.
Right down
to invites to the wedding.

Unsurprisingly, an RSVP did not wing its way back to
Colombia. However, five years later, Henderson decides to go back and confront
them. He and three of his fellow hostages return, retrace their journey, meet
their kidnappers and try to come to terms with the living hell.

He and co-director Kate
Horne do well to provide a balanced view from all sides. We hear, of course,
the trauma of the victims as they re-collect horrific memories and read from
their diaries. We also get the
side of the kidnappers. They remain faceless throughout, are adamant that the
kidnapping was necessary to further their political goals but it’s clear they
seek forgiveness.
The most surprisingly revelation comes from residents of
the remote villages who themselves
live in fear of the guerillas, forced to do as they say. Even if it means,
hiding hostages. They are resigned to their fate.

The most heartbreaking of this tale, is
that continued trauma for Reinhilt. Working as a physiotherapist in a
hospital in
Switzerland, she had taken unpaid leave to indulge her passion for
climbing
in Peru. After hurting her Achilles tendon, she had to change plans and
travelled to Colombia instead, a decision that is likely to haunt her
for the
rest of her days. Clearly still depressed after
enduring bad press when she unwittingly posed with a gun with her
captors upon release (‘Who Kidnapped Who?’ ran the headlines), she is
also having the
pleasure of being sued by her native country of Germany for costs, for
rescuing her by helicopter. Nice.

An emotional and engaging documentary.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website: thekolsocial.com

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