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John W. Eyster: The shocking murder of war reporter James Foley

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John W. Eyster
August 22, 2014

The headline of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial last Wednesday (8/20) grabbed my attention. I urge you to read the editorial, “James Foley's murder lays bare the nihilistic world of ISIL.”

I was shocked with the whole wide world when the report of James Foley's beheading earlier this week and following the reports. The title of the editorial demanded my attention.

I heard the report on BBC RADIO stating that Foley's executioner speaks in British English is a native speaker. English is not a second language for him. BBC is identifying him as a native of England and accepting responsibility for native Britians who have been radicalized.

I had read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel feature article about James Foley being a graduate of Marquette University, “Islamic militants execute journalist, MU grad James Foley,” which introduced me to James. Before reading that article I had never heard of James Foley. NOW I have gained great appreciation and gratitude for the life of James Foley. I join those who thank God for James' life and pray that humankind will learn more about significance of human rights throughout the whole wide world.

I am thankful that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published James Foley's letter to Marquette University published in Marquette Magazine's fall 2011 issue after he returned safely from Libya, where he had been captured. Foley was kidnapped again in November 2012 while covering the Syrian civil war. I urge you to read it, “James Foley's letter to Marquette.”

I want to highlight the very meaningful statement of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's editorial, “We'll remember James Foley for how he lived, not for how he died. We'll remember his courage, his principles and his empathy, especially his empathy for the oppressed in the Middle East.”

If you need basic information about James Foley, read the editorial. It contains basics: “Foley, a freelance journalist, worked in some of the world's most dangerous places. Even after being held captive in Libya during that bloody conflict, he went to Syria because he was drawn to the stories that were the hardest to cover. It was a decision, tragically, that would cost him his life.

I was inspired by James Foley's assertion that journalists must go into the most dangerous places, "It's part of the problem with these conflicts....We're not close enough to it. And if reporters, if we don't try to get really close to what these guys — men, women, American (soldiers), now, with this Arab revolution, young Arab men, young Egyptians and Libyans — are experiencing, we don't understand the world."

I join with the editorial noting that James Foley helped us understand our world better. I share their testimony, “Our thoughts and prayers are with his many friends and his family.”



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