If you tuned in to Roy Hallum’s harrowing story on Locked Up Abroad: Buried Alive, I’m sure you have questions. We checked in with Roy to get answers and see what life is like for him today and here’s what he had to say:
How long had you been working in Iraq before you were taken hostage? What was the general nature of your job for the Saudi company?
I had worked in Iraq for nine months before I was taken hostage. My work for the Saudi company involved coordinating contracts to support the U.S. Military and Iraqi Military
You mentioned your family not knowing you were working in Baghdad as a contractor… where did they think you were?
My previous position was located in Saudi Arabia. My family thought I was still in Saudi Arabia at the time of the kidnapping. I had not told them I was in Iraq to try and save them from worry.
Your life was on the line every day during your captivity, and you had no way of knowing what the outcome would be… how did your keep hope alive? What kept you going?
Yes my life was on the line each day. I tried to stay calm and think about what my actions should be in possible situations. I knew the U.S. Military and U.S. Government would be doing everything they could to locate me, so I kept hoping that, at some point, I would be found. Of course my primary concern was that I could be killed before I was located. I would concentrate on each day and I would consider each day of survival as a small victory.
Were you surprised by anything you missed during the many months of your captivity? (ex: any particular foods, or activities, the changing seasons…)
Well of course I missed all news and events while I was a captive. I spent the first few weeks after my rescue trying to catch up on what had happened in the previous 10 and a half months.
As a hostage, were you ever aware of what was going on in the outside world? Did you catch any glimpses of television, or overhear any conversations about current events?
I was never aware of what was going on in the outside world while I was being held. I was not given access to newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, or any other information while I was be held. The gang members never spoke to me about current events or happenings in the world.
How did you feel the first time you saw your “proof of life” video?
I did not see the video until after my release. I did not and still do not like seeing the video pictures because I knew such a video would be very upsetting to my family. But of course that is the point the hostage gang was trying to make. They wanted the video to upset enough people so they could receive the money they wanted for my release.
Did you learn anything about yourself during your time as a hostage?
I learned that normal everyday people can deal with extreme situations when they are required to. I think we all have an inner strength that can come out when required.
What were the first few days after your release like?
The first few days after my release were like a dream for me. I had been in such a small, closed world for so long it was unusual to again have the freedom to do things without controls or restrictions. It took time to adjust to this new freedom I had.
Did you ever talk with Florence or Robert after your release?
I have spoken to Robert by phone and via email since our release and rescue. I have tried to contact Florence, but have been unable to reach her.
What’s life like for you now?
Life for me now is good. I live a normal quiet life and I am enjoying my grandchildren.