We are constantly reminded that the world is a very deadly place -- not just for our military personnel -- but also for members of the Fourth Estate. Some journalists working in dangerous regions in a globe full of conflict will not return home. The latest: 40-year-old James Foley. His gruesome death at the hands of ISIS has been available for all to see.
Foley was caught in a political vise he could not escape. First ISIS demanded a ransom -- something many European countries have paid to get their people out of harm’s way. According to a New York Times report, “Al Qaeda and its direct affiliates have taken in at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, of which $66 million was paid just last year.” Foley was killed, his executioner said, because of U.S. airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq. However, Foley became expendable when a ransom of $132 million was not paid.
So far in 2014, 32 journalists have been killed, but that number could easily rise. Sixty five journalist were kidnapped last year. Foley and Austin Tice, a freelance journalist working for McClatchy, were kidnapped in 2012 in Syria.
While the Middle East is the most dangerous area for journalists, it is not the only area of concern. Four journalists have been killed covering the crisis in Ukraine and others have died in the Republic of Congo, Brazil, Somalia, Mexico. Our hearts go out the families of these committed individuals who gave their lives to shine sunlight on events some people would rather stay hidden. They represent the very best the profession has to offer. Rest in peace.