Journalist James Foley, this week, met his end as so many other journalists and chronicles have over the centuries; at the tip of a blade. His death was that in the pursuit of a noble calling – telling the story of pain, suffering, corruption and abuse of power in a part of the world in which a power vacuum exists, and said vacuum is being filled by thugs, murderers, sociopaths and radicals all justifying their pathological blood lust through religion.
First, let’s get something straight – James Foley was murdered, not executed.
Execution implies some degree of legal standing – that the person who dies did, indeed, have some means, however limited, of legal recourse (even Soviet Russia had some methods of appeal, even if they were mostly for show). ISIS, IS, ISIL, or whatever-the-hell this organization (using THAT word loosely) is this week, is a collection of individuals who have chosen to use brutality and violence as a means to draw attention to themselves. Much like the narcissistic serial killer uses murder as a means to be paid attention to and remembered, ISIL is little more than a semi-organized group of mostly murderers. It would not be inconceivable, upon further study, to learn that the vast majority of iSIL members are, indeed, sociopathic maniacs. But now comes word that the group demanded $1.32 million from Foley’s family and that just adds insult to injury.
We need to face a simple fact about ISIL – they are not a state. They are not even a legitimate political movement, and they barely qualify as an organization of any sort, let alone terrorist. What they are, essentially, is a gang – their methods are sloppy, their tactics are grotesque, and their ideology is hollow. Please, don’t lecture me about Islam being a violent religion; ISIL is not, repeat, not a religious group; they are a paramilitary movement (again, the latter two words used loosely at best) who are using the press and social media to advance their goal, which is the establishment of what they call an “Islamic Caliphate.”
Cut through the code and see them for what they really are – they want to rule the world, reshape it the way they think it should be (in this case, a world ruled under Islamic sharia law and likely by the most brutal and cunning among their own lot) and bring the world to a tipping point where Armageddon will occur and their view of how Islam should be practiced will win out. ISIL take radical fundamentalist brutality to a brutal new level in that, if they are truly believing their religious tenets (and it is my firm belief that if there was nothing in it for them, they would collapse within seconds), are an example of how power, money and a warped, narcissistic sense of superiority all pervert the original message. James Foley was trying to document this perversion and other injustices in this region, and he paid the price for his own personal crusade by being murdered. In a sick sort of irony, how he died may have, in fact, marked the beginning of the end of this sort of twisted brutality.
Muslim voices around the world have been quick to condemn this murder, and hopefully it will galvanize the movement against radical Islam as never before. Perhaps, for the first time ever, Muslims worldwide are actually seeing this sort of fanaticism for what it really is – an radical movement borne not of feelings of inadequacy and disenfranchisement, but of greed, avarice and a desire to oppress to satisfy deep-seated insecurities. Whatever the reason, no one has the right to take the life of another except in self-defense. The murderer who severed Foley’s head may want to consider that their action is likely to be repaid upon them. It is the rare killer who experiences mercy at karma’s hand.
In a previous entry, I wrote about how journalists must be regarded much the same as the Tribunes of ancient Rome; sacrosanct because they are the voice of not just the people, but of the truth. Foley, as far as I am concerned, is deserving of a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom and Nobel Prize.
My hope is that James Foley, wherever he is, can forgive his killers. This is a man who deserves to be remembered for the one thing he was chasing – his passion. We should all die so honorably.
A petition has been created on the White House website to have President Obama award James Foley a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom. Please click here to sign it and get it to 100,000 by September 20, 2014.