Ask Shane Bauer Anything: An Ill-Advised Hike

By Chas Danner

When considering Iran’s imprisonment of American hikers Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal, many (including Dish readers) have insisted that the trio shares responsibility for their fate by electing to travel near Iraq’s border with Iran in the first place. In today’s video from Bauer, he defends their choice to vacation in Iraqi Kurdistan, while admitting their mistake in not realizing how close they were to the border. In a followup, Shane adds that they did not cross into Iran accidentally as many have presumed. In fact, they were made to cross the unmarked border by Iranian guards on the other side, something one of those guards has since reached out to them to apologize for:

When Shane and his friends were first captured, I remember feeling annoyed about the risks they’d taken, particularly because I was worried their story might divert attention from Iran’s brutal crackdown on the Green Movement that summer. But let’s be clear, no one deserves to spend years in prison for forgetting to buy a map, let alone 400+ days in solitary confinement like Sarah had to endure. Injustice is injustice.

In yesterday’s video, Shane detailed how difficult it was to readjust to life outside of prison, as well as how the perspective he gained from his experience has helped him report on the plight of prisoners here in America. Along those lines, Bauer has since written a special report for Mother Jones about solitary confinement in American prisons. Also he, Sarah (now his wife) and Josh have co-written the memoir A Sliver of Light, which comes out today. Excerpt here.