By Emma Buchman
After the death of James Foley in August, the injury to the international community healed slowly. While resolution did not come, we were able to take comfort in those around us and relate on the most human of levels.
These actions are more necessary than ever now, as we mourn the loss of another great journalist, Steven Sotloff. Unfortunately, we cannot give him the eulogy he deserves in this paper, but we can honor him as we honored Foley.
We will honor him by remembering how absolutely human he was, and how much he cared about the Middle East and its people. His friends and family said that he “wanted to give a voice to those who had none.”
Sotloff dedicated his life to reporting on the civilian victims of war in the Middle East, specifically in Egypt, Syria, and Libya. He cared so deeply for the suffering, and his friends continually praise his courageousness.
We will also honor his family and friends by not viewing the video of his death. Just as with Foley, Sotloff’s murder was published on the Internet on Sept. 2. If we truly wish to respect both Sotloff and Foley, these videos must be ignored. Simply doing research for this topic has shown me gruesome screenshots of Foley during and after his death. I do not wish to see that, and neither does anyone who truly respects what Foley and Sotloff did for us in life.
Rabbi Terry Bookman, who presided over a service in Sotloff’s honor, stated this sentiment best: “Even though we are aware of the geopolitical circumstances of why we are here … let us not forget, there is a family devastated by this loss.” This is not only about the loss of the international community, but about a father, mother, sister, and friends who need all of the help that they can get from us.
This is a sad time. So many people are dying and each of them deserves an honorable and just end. This is an obstacle with which we as an international community have been confronted with. We cannot change what has already happened. And so we will put our best foot forward and bring as much decency to the world as we know how.
Sotloff’s Twitter description will be his lasting autograph, a phrase that Sotloff himself condoned and that his friends and family will always use to remember their humble son and friend, the “stand-up philosopher from Miami.”