A Recipe for Heroics

Central Maine newspapers ran a story today about a man who risked life and limb to hide and help smuggle out Americans on the run from hostage takers in Iran in 1979. The hero, a Thai cook who eventually settled in Western Maine and opened a restaurant, responded to a request from an American diplomat who had given him a job: would he find a place for five embassy employees who ran out a back door when the rebels jumped the fence? The cook, Smojai Sriweawnetr, willingly stowed the five away in the house of another former employer. Eventually, he realized that observant neighbors were growing suspicious of the amounts of food coming into the house and the drawn curtains so he devised another hideout. The new location, however, proved to be too exposed. The group was finally rescued by Canadians, while their Thai guardian struggled to safely extricate himself from a now deadly situation. After a year on the run, a penniless and desperate Smojai finally acquired a ticket to his home country with help from the Swiss embassy. American friends, grateful for his heroism, brought him to the US. If it all sounds like a movie, it is one: Argo. However, that version of the story omitted the entirety of this remarkable story line. Time for someone else to set the record straight.

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