James Foley, was murdered this week by the terrorist group called Isis. Mr. Foley believed that his government would help him. He believed it so strongly that he refused to allow his fellow American captives to not believe in that as well.
He had faith. He stayed calm. On the brief clip I saw of him before the execution, he showed no fear. He knew other countries were paying ransom for their hostages’ freedom, How could he not have wished that his country would do the same?
I am trying to process this, but I’m having trouble. While European countries pay ransom for their citizens’ return, only the Brits and the U.S. have this ironclad policy. A human being’s life does not make it to the moral high ground here. It’s valued in a different way than the “ideal” — Whether that ideal be freedom, or non coercion, or retaining dominion over our power, or to fight to the death for what we believe in: in this case, Life. Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Awestruck in the Face of Evil
Foreign policy journalist, James Traub, says “The Liberal state is awestruck even paralyzed in the face of evil. We shiver when we hear a Taliban or al Qaeda warrior boast, ‘We worship death and you worship life.’ To seek death over life is to gain mastery over those who love life. There is a terrible insight in that death-swagger. When our cherishing of each life leads us to surrender to blackmail, we fortify the death-cult; we abet evil.“.
Yet here we are giving up what we say we must protect. The fact that Jihadists worship death while we worship life, leaves us at a big disadvantage. We have decisions to make,while they don’t. For their core decision is made at birth. To commit murder in the name of their God, and when struck down to abscond to heaven and be done with it. While we struggle to live in freedom, and to preserve life, they do their dirty work, then fly off to a better place. or so they would have us think.
No Free Market Rewards for Stolen Lives
So what is the answer? I’m no policy expert, but those who are speak with one voice on this: First, Europe and the US need to unify their approach, and act accordingly. In unity there is strength. After the horror of the beheading, and the grief over the loss of another valiant human being we are left with one choice. Though we may not be able to save the next doomed victim, we can choose to be as valiant as those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and show the Islamic State that the West stands ready to defend the values it says it believes in. If this is our choice, that means no ransoms. No free market rewards for stolen lives.
Meanwhile, I’m spending time thinking about and honoring James Foley — his spirit and his courage. In all reports he never flinched, even when they put the knife to his throat. I can’t begin to imagine. Nor do I want to .Nor should anyone need to. Ever!
Use this imagery exercise to honor James Foley, or any other person you wish to do this for:
Candle of Honor
Close your eyes, breathe out, and see before you the person you wish to honor. Light a candle and as you do this, speak aloud in your imagination the name of this person. See him or her surrounded by, and infused with, this light. Know your intention in doing this. Then breathe out and open your eyes.