OPINION: Focus on the intentions of James Foley’s life, not his death

Mote is a junior French major from Indianapolis.

American photojournalist James Foley was abducted on November 22nd, 2012 in northwestern Syria as he was covering the events of the Syrian Civil War. On Tuesday, a video was released showing a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIs) beheading Foley, after he was forced to read a prepared ISIS statement that included,  “America is his real killer.”

The video of Foley’s beheading was removed from YouTube shortly after it was posted yet it still remains on several online sources. The fact that the average user of technology can access the footage of this man being brutally murdered is a bit troubling to me. On one hand, I understand that the Internet is very difficult to control and that the video of his murder would inevitably spread. But on the other hand, I question why any human being would want to watch another human being be murdered.

The national news has distanced itself from the footage of his murder, due to the fact that it’s not morally right to show his murder and because it is too gruesome for television. The propaganda that ISIS spread through the showing of force is what they intended when the video was posted. ISIS wants us to be scared. They want us to fear for Steven Sotloff, the American freelance journalist who is also being held by ISIS and who was seen in the video after Foley was murdered.

We should fear for the estimated 20 hostages who are allegedly being held by ISIS. After seeing what evil acts the group committed when murdering James Foley, it is a natural feeling to be scared.

But we can’t be scared right now, not during the turmoil that has swept the country both domestically and internationally. As a country we need to show that the acts committed by ISIS, on even the most basic level of human existence, are unacceptable.

The harmful acts that ISIS has committed should be a call to arms. The government should continue working to bring Sotloff and other hostages home. Without a constant effort to alleviate the pain and sorrow of the abducted journalists’ families, we will all fall into a pit of despair seeing more and more innocent journalists hurt.

We cannot allow the media to be held focused on the actions of ISIS. It’s more important that we send the message to the United States government and to ISIS that the people of America do not support violence.

With all of the rumors and opinions surrounding this topic, I have to say that it is not my intention to offend anyone. I only wish to promote the peaceful nature this country’s great citizens. Although sometimes it feels as if we are small in separation, together we can send the message of peace to the world. Together we can work to try and do what is morally right. If we can’t achieve what is morally right, we should die trying.


-Mote is a junior French major from Indianapolis.