Word of the week, “Ignominious” – An ignominious act of cruelty

James Foley

I sat down at my desk at work and The Sun newspaper landed from across my shoulder. “Are you a Sun reader?” my editor asked, I’m really not, but that didn’t stop me from passively nodding and flicking through the pages, without taking much information in.

Diving deeper past the page three model – which for the record, doesn’t interest me in the slightest – there was one story that did hook my attention, and that was the public execution in Iraq of an American journalist. I read how a journalist was beheaded by ISIS militants. The beheading was videoed then spread like a virus around the social media platform, Twitter. Soon enough, the story made its way into newspapers. James Foley was at the centre of international headlines as the victim of this ruthless slaughter.

Regardless of the man’s profession, this ignominious act of cruelty behind the actions of ISIS militants was inhumanely vicious. The Sun had decided to show a screen shot of the Isis militant, holding the small blade in his left hand, as his victim knelt with his hands behind his back before the merciless killing took place. The video has since, been taken down from Twitter, and I strongly suggest that no one should go looking for the video online.

This was the story that sprung to mind when I thought of my word of the week, “ignominious”. I cannot recall reading anything so deeply disturbing in all my life. My thoughts go out to his family, his colleagues and everyone who knew the man. Following the murder of the war journalist, information has been released from those close to Foley, describing his selfless character and talented approach to his work.

Foley (40) was a freelance war correspondent from New Hampshire and had reported on conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq. His family spoke openly in January 2013, where they said he was captured in Syria on Thanksgiving Day 2012, during the time he was travelling towards the Turkish border where he was intercepted by an unmarked car.

As a journalist myself, I find it disturbing that a man, who’s duty it was to report on international and civil conflict, was subjected to such a brutal and unjustified attack.

A disturbing situation was made worse when the ISIS militants showed a second man after the slaughter who is believed to be American journalist, Steven Sotloff, who’s life now hangs in the balance with America’s policy standing, that they refuse to negotiate with terrorists.

Personally I find this whole situation sickening, that a group of highly religious people feel it’s their calling and obligation to slaughter innocent individuals. Correct me if I am wrong, but I am sure that no religion commends such inhumane actions.

In journalism we try to find different angles to a story. However, in circumstances such as this, it is impossible to justify such actions. The sheer brutality of the manner that Foley was killed, shows nothing less than pure evil. I believe that anyone who supports the same views as the group behind this unforgivable slaughter, should not have the privilege of owning a passport of any other country, and should have their human rights stripped. Unfortunately, regulating this policy would be near on impossible, with new information released describing ISIS militant supporters are internationally spread.

I have come to the conclusion that many of us live in a world of luxury. Although journalists chose to put themselves in danger in order to feed back exclusive and important facts from treacherous environments, they do it with integrity. It takes brevity, courage and heroism in order to be a war correspondent. Anyone human would understand that when a life is taken from someone with all of those qualities, the loss is truly devastating.

That was my word of the week, “ignominious”…


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