I’m disgusted by my own profession.
After 9/11, we vowed not to live in fear because that means the terrorists have won. We vowed to never forget. Even though we have stopped showing the moment of impact, when the second plane struck the tower, when thousands of innocent Americans lost their lives on national television… we haven’t forgotten. We don’t need to see their deaths to remember what that day felt like. We remember where we were, we remember the horror, we remember the tears we shed, we remember the loved ones we lost, we remember strangers comforting each other and how it felt to be an American in the days and weeks that followed. We remember.
When journalist Daniel Pearl was executed on video, Al Qaeda proudly put the video online. They horrified us with the gruesome, barbaric beheading while he was speaking mid-sentence. While I refused to watch that video, the details I read have stayed with me for over a decade. I remember. Contractor Nick Berg was killed the same way, and the video circulated online. And now journalist James Foley.
While it would be far easier to kill these men by shooting, it’s too humane for Al Qaeda and ISIS. They want us to see the torture and mutilation, they want us to be sickened to our stomachs, they want us to be disgusted and horrified.
Every time an American watches those beheading videos, the enemy has won.
I refuse to watch, reading about it is difficult enough. You don’t need to see James Foley’s throat slashed and his head sawed off to know how he died. You don’t need to see his death in vivid detail to feel sick to your stomach over what happened to him. His family is begging us not to watch. His sister, Kelly, tweeted “Please honor James Foley and respect my family's privacy. Don't watch the video. Don't share it. That's not how life should be.”
James Foley should be remembered as a man who willingly put his life in grave danger to try to make a difference in the lives of strangers in Syria. He should be remembered for the work he did, and shown as a journalist who believed so firmly in his line of work, that he ultimately gave his life for it. Just as I remember every detail of 9/11, Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg…I will remember James Foley.
Yet, when I opened the NY Post this morning, I was greeted with the image of his death. It showed Foley sitting, with a hooded man holding a knife to his throat, a split second before he slit his throat and beheaded him.
Thanks, NY Post. You just gave ISIS exactly what they wanted. They have won. I hope you are proud.