One had worked for the development sector. Before that, he was a teacher. Before taking journalism fully again, he worked with an aid agency in Iraq on a development project. First he moved to Afghanistan. Then he was in Libya where he was abducted by Muammar Gaddafi loyalists in 2011 and was in captivity for over 40 days but refused to leave the region and headed for Syria where he was kidnapped the next year.

He wanted to tell the stories of the people of the region to the world. He had said on his captivity in Libya and his return there again: “You go through different emotions when you’re in captivity. These weird extreme ideas of where you are based on this capture. You don’t want to be defined as that guy who got captured in 2011. I believe front line journalism is important [without it] we can’t tell the world how bad it might be.”

He freelanced and worked for Agence France-Presse and GlobalPost among others.

He was James Foley, the first American journalist killed in the ongoing Syria-Iraq conflict. Aged 40, he was executed on August 19 by the terror outfit ISIS that has overrun the vast areas of Syria and Iraq.

Rest in peace Sir.

The other had studied Middle-East at after doing a journalist major from the University of Central Florida. He wanted to know the region and began his career during the Arab Spring. Like Foley, he was aware of the risks but was willing to take them in order to tell the stories. He mapped the crisis hit countries like Libya, Syria, Bahrain and Egypt. He wanted to work for people of the region. He wanted their miseries to be known to the people of the world.

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Steven Sotloff Collage 1
(Images sourced from the Internet)

Over 60 journalists have been killed Syria and Iraq in the ongoing conflict. Many were caught in the crossfire while some were killed by the warring terror groups. They were from different countries and ethnic groups. Among them were Muslims and Christians. They were from Egypt, from Lebanon, from other Middle-East countries. They were from France, from the US and other countries.

They were there, in the region, on professional assignments. Many were freelancers looking for the part they could play in reporting the crisis. Professional reasons apart, it was also a drive to go beyond the realm of the routine to do something that took them there.

There are many who don’t prefer to go to the crisis zones to report on what is happening. Coming back from there is one thing that is never guaranteed because no conventions are followed. Terror groups, warring sides and even the governments step aside all considerations when it comes to extract some mileage like the ISIS terrorists abducting and killing journalists as they did with James Foley some days ago and with Steven Sotloff yesterday or like the new dictatorial regime in Egypt that jailed Al Jazeera journalists for their ‘alleged’ role during the unrest that followed the Muslim Brotherhood government.

Steven Sotloff Collage 2(Images sourced from the Internet)

The video of Steven Sotloff killing by beheading is a repeat of what the world saw in the James Foley killing video. Any person with sanity cannot watch such videos till the end. The ISIS terrorist appears to be the same person who killed Foley. He repeats his usual stuff, waving a knife, speaking in his husky voice, warning the world and adding an additional warning to Obama and America on meddling in Iraqi affairs.

Reports say the ISIS terrorist in the video is probably a British who also warns Britain directly this time warning to kill the British hostage David Haines, shown in the end of the video, if Britain joins the US in launching further air strikes in Iraq. David Haines was abducted in Syria last year while working for an aid group.

Like Obama, David Cameron, too, has denied giving any ransom or negotiating with the terror group. Cameron in fact said Britain would launch air strikes in Iraq.

Steven Sotloff Collage 3

(Images sourced from the Internet)

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©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/


JWF Collage-2

The freelance photojournalist and US citizen who was abducted by the terrorists in Syria in November 2012 was killed by the ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Al Qaeda offshoot, the most barbaric terror group so far, now ruling the vast areas of Iraq and Syria) on Tuesday according to a video posted by the terror outfit on social media sites.

The beheading video is so graphic, so gruesome, that it cannot be watched. I could not. YouTube took it off immediately.

But the video and the photographs were immediately reloaded with different IDs. Many were posted in reply to my Tweets on paying tribute to James Foley with his photographs taken from the website http://www.freejamesfoley.org and FBI’s missing webpage on the journalist.

Many journalists have been killed in the global crisis hotbeds. Libya and Syria are the most recent and the ongoing war zones of Libya and Syria that have cost many journalists their lives. But the spirit to tell the truth cannot be put down by such incidents, a BCC report yesterday from the Mosul dam that was taken by the Kurdish forces from the ISIS a day before tells us that again.

And there will be many to venture in places like Syria and Iraq even if the ISIS threatens to do the same to another captured US citizen, the Time journalist Steven Joel Sotloff, as the James Foley video shows while winding up!

It’s about being in Solidarity with the Humanity – it’s about the feeling of being there to tell the truth for them who cannot speak – it’s about the truth, the trust and the care – a role, a responsibility, that sometimes, even costs sincere and devoted journalists their lives – but the spirit lives – as echoed by Diane Foley, James Foley’s mother – her words are a moving tribute to this spirit of standing for Humanity – standing ovation to her – the Humanity is in solidarity with the family.


RIP James Wright Foley.

But, (the oft-quoted question) why the hell the US and the world are taking so long in uprooting the ISIS? Why the silly considerations every time whenever it comes to act on rogue countries or terror groups, be it Syria or Libya or Bahrain or Yemen or Egypt or Somalia or Nigeria or Central African Republic or many other humanitarian crisis centres, many of which are the making of the policies of the global geopolitics of self-interest?

Yes, but Barack Obama’s statement may well be the beginning of the end of the ISIS, the death-knell of its barbaric existence, the US hunt of Osama bin Laden tells us and the ISIS would not have a terrain like Afghanistan to run away, to hide from the US wrath.

Obama was looking upset while reacting on James Foley killing a few hours ago and his brief statement had clear message on what is going to be of the ISIS now because whosoever controls this group of death mercenaries has directly challenged the American might by making a deep scar on American conscious. And it has been felt globally.

JWF Collage-1


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/