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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
JANUARY 2012
51
AFSA NEWS
AFSA Presents “ARGO” and its Heroes to a Full House
Despite a chilly Dec. 13th
evening, people arrived at the
AMC Theater in Georgetown
well in advance of the 7:00
p.m. screening of the Golden
Globe Best Picture nomi-
nated flm, “ARGO.”
The flm is based on the
book,
ARGO, How the CIA
and Hollywood Pulled Of the
Most Audacious Rescue in
History
, by Antonio Mendez
and Matt Baglio, Viking, 2012.
An AFSA special event,
the movie was ofered free of
charge to members and their
guests. With all seats spoken
for in advance, it seemed
everyone wanted to catch a
glimpse of the stars.
Only this time, the stars
were the real-life people
who are represented in the
flm—the people who had
endured the events of Nov. 4,
1979 when Iranian militants
seized our embassy in Tehran
and all of the Foreign Service
employees in it. All, except
for six Americans, and that is
where the story begins.
Ben Afeck, Hollywood
director and star, does a
good job of portraying Tony
Mendez, the CIA agent whose
job it was to come up with a
plan to rescue the six. But on
Dec. 13, 2012, Tony Mendez,
the former CIA agent speak-
ing before the crowd of more
than 270, did it better.
As a member of the audi-
ence, it was hard to believe
that Tony, along with Ambas-
sador John Limbert—a
hostage for 444 days—and
Kathy Staford and Bob
Anders—two of the six
ofered refuge in Tehran by
the Canadian ambassador—
had endured such a historic
and life-threatening situation.
As the lights came up at
the end of the flm, Tony and
the others made their way
to the stage to a standing
ovation from the audience.
The panel’s recounting of
the events were every bit as
tense as the movie, which—
despite the dramatic license
taken by the director—was
said to be a “fairly accurate
portrayal.”
Amb. Limbert verifed the
mock execution portrayed in
the flm; he was one of those
with a hood over his head as
the rifes clicked. As horrible
as that scene was—both in
the movie and in real-life—he
reminded us, “We have Abu
Ghraib, we know what people
can do.”
The embassy’s young
Marines were hailed as
heroes for having the
strength to follow the com-
mand, “Do not fre. If you
shoot anyone today, we will
all be killed.”
Many questions from
the audience ensued. One
particular question sums up
the resolve of members of
the Foreign Service, “How
did this experience afect
your career?” Bob Anders
answered by saying, “Well, it
is all part of the job. You carry
on and see what comes next
down the road.”
Or as Tony put it, “We are
the ones that mind the crops,
and there are some good
crops to grow. We need to be
on the ground to talk face-to-
face with people.”
n
Top: Tony Mendez, center, gets a
standing ovation. Center: Amb.
John Limbert introduces Tony
Mendez (center), as Kathy Staford
and Bob Anders look on. Bottom:
AFSA Governing Board members,
Keith Curtis (left), and Francisco
Zamora (right), greet Tony Mendez.
BY DONNA AYERST,
AFSA NEWS
EDI TOR