Friday, July 15, 2011

New England Story - Nigel Brennan


The lead for this story came from James Bell in the Armidale Express. However, the Express  story is not on-line, so I can't give you the link.

Bundaberg based Australian photo journalist Nigel Brennan grew up near Moree and then went to school at TAS (The Armidale School). He developed a passion for photography in his early twenties and studied at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University before entering journalism.

In August 2008, Nigel Brennan travelled to Somalia with Canadian reporter Amanda Lindhout. 

They were abducted by a criminal gang, brutalised, and kept in isolation and ignorance.  The ransom amount was US$3 million; if it's not paid, they will be killed. And the Australian government does not pay ransoms.

After more than a year of stalled negotiations, the Brennans realise the government can do no more to help them, and they take matters into their own hands.  Nigel's sister, Nicky, becomes a crack hostage negotiator; his sister-in-law Kellie, an international money launderer.  Meanwhile, Nigel is facing the fight of his life.

Nigel's family puts everything on the line and enters uncharted territory.  They go against government advice, sacrificing their livelihoods, their houses and personal lives to bring the hostages home.  It's day 462 before the situation reaches its breathtaking conclusion. Glenda Kwek's story in the Sydney Morning Herald describes the release.

Now Nigel, Nicky and Kellie have combined to tell the story of an ordinary Australian family discovering what they're capable of and how far they're prepared to go for what they believe in.  Life.  Freedom.  Whatever the price.

The book, The Price of Life published by Penguin, tells the story.

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