We offer our condolences to the family of James Foley, New Hampshire’s own:
When war reporter James Foley wasn’t writing for GlobalPost or recording video for AFP or appearing on the PBS “NewsHour,” he occasionally shared stories on his own blog, aptly titled “A World of Troubles.”
For a subtitle, he chose the famous Carl von Clausewitz sentence “War is fought by human beings.”
And that is exactly what Foley sought to show with his reporting: humanity amid the horror of war.
Foley was abducted while on a reporting trip in northern Syria in November 2012. He was never heard from again.
A video published Tuesday by the extremist group ISIS showed Foley being beheaded. It is not known when or where the video was recorded.
For Foley’s family and friends, the recording was the answer they hoped they’d never hear to their questions about his disappearance.
“We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people,” his mother, Diane, said Tuesday night,
She called him “an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person.”
Foley was the oldest child of Diane and John Foley of Rochester, New Hampshire. He had four siblings.
Someone doing what he did would have known that something like what happened to him was a real possibility. But I still salute him for trying. I wouldn’t do it, but if he saw himself as a reporter, and he didn’t put a wife or children through the agony of what happened, I won’t take anything away from his sacrifice.
What I did not need was his death to tell me how subhuman the ISLAMIC State is. They have made it abundantly clear. They make fellow Islamic savages, Boko Haram, look like the Marylebone Cricket Club. In fact, Foley’s death isn’t even the most grisly death of a reporter (though it’s a close second). Daniel Pearl’s live-from-Kabul decapitation will never be, uh, topped, by the mere fact that Khalid Sheik Muhammad (or whoever) acted just after Pearl proudly and fearlessly admitted to being a Jew.
ISIS may be the baddest mofos on the planet right now (they think they are), but they are hardly unique:
As Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria butcher thousands of “infidels” and carry off their women and children into slavery, many in the West are inclined to see this as an unique outcrop of Islamic fundamentalism. Yet after overrunning a Bosnian town on 11th July 1995, Bosnian Serb – ostensibly Christian – forces, cold-bloodedly massacred 8,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica. Hutu genocide of Tutsi in Rwanda, Khmer Rouge mass-murder of Cambodian city-dwellers, Nazi genocide of Jews, Gypsies and the disabled…. the list of savagery is as long as it is profoundly depressing.
The Serbs may have been “ostensibly Christian”, and their victims were certainly Muslim, but was the massacre religiously motivated? Better put, was the primacy of one religion over the other the reason for the slaughter? It is so overwhelmingly among the ISLAMIC Staters and their ilk, but I don’t think Bosnia was a religious war. I am aware of no Serbs shouting “God is great!” as they committed their unspeakable atrocities.
Finally, people will do savage things if their leaders tell them it is acceptable to do so, particularly if they have given their selves to the group self. The Rwandan genocide was switched on by a series of radio broadcasts by a small group of leaders to a population who, by that instruction, were turned into savage murderers of former friends and neighbours who were in the out-group. The soldiers of the Soviet army committed mass rape as they invaded Germany in 1945 because senior commanders had advocated it. Islamic State fighters are slaughtering unarmed Christians and Yazidis because their leaders have told them that this is the right thing to do.
True, but only to a point. I believe that in all these cases the beasts would have behaved bestially or without exhortation.