In his classic novel 1984, George Orwell writes about Room 101 – a torture chamber where you are subjected to your worst nightmare, the worst thing in the world, to break your resistance.

To survive any such place of profound pain is the greatest of gifts, a triumph of the human spirit. In our time, surviving brutal captivity at the hands of so-called Islamic State in Syria must certainly count as such a triumph.

When four former hostages came together this month for their first reunion since they were freed, at different times, two years ago, it was a celebration of friendship forged in the most threatening of circumstances, a remembrance of an agonizing ordeal.

In the BBC radio program Held Hostage in Syria, they recall months without sunlight, weeks chained together, days upon days of beatings. There was too little food, and so much longing for clean clothes, a proper toilet, and most of all, freedom.

But it was also an affirmation of extraordinary resilience. They had all won what they call a “game of survival” which lasted about one long terrible year of torment for all of them.

Read More: BBC

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