The tragic killing of American journalist James Foley by militants of the Islamic State group has spurred a wave of heartfelt responses remembering his exceptional work and life, rather than the horrific circumstances of his death. On Wednesday, one of the more poignant messages honoring Foley came out of Syria's Idlib province, where a group of residents of the tiny northern town of Kafranbel paid tribute to the reporter.
(Photo by Kafranbel Syrian Revolution/Facebook).
Kafranbel's media center has become famous for its inventive banners and art, almost always written in English. The center unveils a new message each week in an effort to connect with the world. Previous banners have touched on topics ranging from the Boston Bombings to the death of Robin Williams and the killing of Trayvon Martin. As the group's leader told the New York Times, they aim to make people to think of the town's residents and their struggles in a more human way.
James Foley was kidnapped in Syria's northern town of Taftanez in November 2012. Before his disappearance, Foley spoke with several outlets about his work on the front lines of the wars in Syria and Libya, explaining he aimed to cover the lives of ordinary people much like the residents of Kafranbel. As the Atlantic notes, Foley told a Medill crowd in 2011 that "if reporters, if we don't try to get really close to what these guys—men, women, American [soldiers], now, with this Arab revolution, young Arab men, young Egyptians and Libyans—are experiencing, we don't understand the world."
"#JamesFoley died for #Syrians He Died for our Freedom," Kafranbel's media center wrote on its Facebook page on Wednesday. Kafranbal's messages, along with the multitude of other tributes, is proof that Foley's efforts didn't go unnoticed.