Friday, 22 August 2014

RIP James Foley

A very wise man, by the name of George Santayana, once said
"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it"
These words are prominently placed on the walls of the Krakow concentration camp, Auschwitz where it is estimated that 1.6 million men, women and children were murdered by the Nazis. 

Unfortunately, these words have not taught the human race to learn from past mistakes, and the mistakes made by Hitler and his band of loyal (yet morally incompetent) followers have not been learnt from. Still today, there are so many conflicts in the world; North Korea have concentration camps, Gaza are killing their civilians and over 100,000 people were killed in the Iraq War.

Conflict is everywhere we look and, unfortunately, there is no way to escape form it. The Independent even went as far to claim that there is no such thing as world peace, because there are only 11 countries in the entire world which are free of conflict. 

This introduction is, of course, a way into talking about the incident which I hope everybody has heard about, that happened early Wednesday morning. A video was broadcasted all over the internet in which a British Jihadist held a knife to US journalist James Foley, recorded a warning to the United States before beheading him live on camera. ISIS are the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and are regarded as a terrorist group by the UN and most of the world, basically, and it is they who were responsible for the video, as an attempt to stop US air-strikes over Syria (the problems in Syria started in early 2011 with many rebels opposing President Assad's regime, and has gradually spiralled out of control into a civil war like no other). 

James Foley was a completely innocent man. James was a photojournalist from New Hampshire and graduated from 3 separate universities - the most recent of which being Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in 2008. He was extremely concerned with humanitarian topics and went to Libya in 2011 to report on the issues in Gadaffi's government. He then continued to work as a freelance journalist in the Middle East until he was captured in Syria in 2012. There had been numerous attempts by the US army to save Foley and the others who were taken, but all to no avail. They could not be located until 19th August 2014, when James Foley was beheaded live in front of a camera. 

What happened to him is unimaginable, but one positive must come out of it. Things need to change. People's perceptions need to change. This kind of behaviour cannot be allowed. We should not have to tolerate these sorts of actions, but similarly Muslims should not have to tolerate the grief they get from uneducated people who think 'all Muslims are terrorists'. No. These specific ones are monsters and deserve everything they get but not all people who follow Islam are the same. 

What happened to James Foley is a tragedy and I sincerely hope that nothing like it will ever happen again (even though we all know it will) but it also highlights what these people are like and what a problem they are causing. Nothing could be a better catalyst for change than this, and hopefully governments will act on it and stop ISIS.

Rest in Peace James Foley x

This act was despicable, but please do not go hunting for the video because a) I imagine it is very disturbing and b) anybody caught watching the video (through internet history etc) and will be treated as though they sympathise with ISIS. 

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