For the last couple of days my heart has ached as the details of James Foley’s beheading hit the headlines.
I stand in awe of writers like him, ones who use their gift in spite of personal risk. Penny Sukraj, close friend of Foley and widow of journalist Anton Hammerl said: "He was passionate about getting out there and telling the stories about the most vulnerable people and the effects of the different conflicts and wars that had ravaged their lives."
Foley reported the truth about injustice and human suffering, despite the risk of imprisonment and even death. This places him in league with writers like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Nelson Mandela, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer to name just a few. His mode of writing may have been different but his courage to draw attention to evils, to keep world citizens from burying their heads in the sand put him shoulder to shoulder with these other fearless dissidents.
Most of us will not be called upon to make the sacrifice Foley made; however his commitment to be a voice of truth in the darkness can inspire all of us no matter what our sphere.
“A great writer is, so to speak, a second government in his country. And for that reason no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones.”