Father Says Reporter Knew of Middle East’s Dangers With AM-Lebanon-Hostages Bjt
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Journalist Charles Glass loved Lebanon, but was aware of its dangers and had stopped working as an ABC correspondent so he could spend more time with his family outside the region, his father said Friday.
″That’s why he quit. The primary reason was his family. That’s what was important,″ Charles Glass Jr., 66, said in a telephone interview from his Gardena law office. ″He didn’t want them to be subjected to that. ABC wouldn’t let him take his family there.″
The younger Glass, a grandson of Lebanese immigrants, had returned to Beirut to work on a book about the Middle East when he was kidnapped Wednesday in Beirut along with Ali Osseiran, the 40-year-old son of Lebanese Defense Minister Adel Osseiran.
Glass became the ninth American held hostage there. But his father said he is confident his son, who is fluent in Lebanese and Arab dialects, will soon be released because of his extensive contacts in the region.
″He was there almost as a Lebanese citizen. He knows so many people, he knows the players in the game,″ the father said.
Charles Mallon Glass, 36, is a Los Angeles native who graduated from Loyola High School in 1968.
His love of Lebanon was instilled in him by his mother, the former Joan Sawaya, who died in a car accident when he was 16, and her Lebanese parents, who cooked up native treats and told him about his heritage.
Although he initially planned to become a lawyer, the younger Glass fell into journalism at the American University in Beirut, the elder Glass said. While there, he visited distant relatives he had never seen.
″They were happy to see him, the young American,″ his father said.
″He admired his grandfather and grandfather. They told him stories about Lebanon and the villages they were from. That’s why he went over there,″ Glass said.
He returned to Los Angeles and attended the University of Southern California, where he graduated with a philosophy degree.
He has three children with his wife of 11 years, Fiona, and two daughters from her previous marriage.
He was planning to join them for the annual family vacation at a coastal Italian village on July 18, then spend the next six months at home in London writing his book.
During a stint in Beirut with ABC, he covered some of the region’s most important stories, including the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in 1985. He gained an exclusive interview with the plane’s captain, who had a gun at his head, and covered the suicide-bombing of the U.S. Marines compound in Beirut.
He was good friends with Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent of The Associated Press, who was abducted from a Beirut street more than two years ago and is the longest-held hostage.
The elder Glass recalled vacationing with his son in London at Christmas, when the son received frequent telephone calls from Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite. Waite disappeared in Lebanon in January while negotiating for the release of American hostages.
″That almost devastated Charlie,″ he said. ″When that happened, he thought that Terry would be the last person it would happen to.″
Once, when on his way to dinner with a BBC correspondent, the two were stopped by three armed men who told them they were being taken into custody for questioning, the elder Glass said.
″Charlie started making a lot of noise,″ his father said. ″But the reason he was telling the story was because of the punch line. The guy from BBC was pointing at him and saying: ’He’s an American and I’m not.‴
The gunmen left them alone, the father said.
But Glass loved Lebanon and being a reporter, his father said.
″He loved the people. That’s all he talked about,″ Glass said. ″He was aware that there was some danger. He’s not dumb. Before the war started, he used to tell me what a beautiful place it was.″