NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • What My Friend Jim Foley Taught Me to Question


    TRNN's Jessica Desvarieux pays tribute to the life of her friend and colleague Jim Foley, who was executed by ISIS while covering the Syrian civil war -   October 3, 14
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


      Share to Twitter
    Share to Facebook


    I support The Real News Network because they do not just parrot the 24 hour news cycle of the mainst - David Pear
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Jessica Desvarieux is a multimedia journalist who serves as the Capitol Hill correspondent for the Real News Network. Most recently, Jessica worked as a producer for the ABC Sunday morning program, This Week with Christianne Amanpour. Before moving to Washington DC, Jessica served as the Haiti corespondent for TIME Magazine and TIME.com. Previously, she was as an on-air reporter for New York tri-state cable outlet Regional News Network, where she worked before the 2010 earthquake struck her native country of Haiti. From March 2008 - September 2009, she lived in Egypt, where her work appeared in various media outlets like the Associated Press, Voice of America, and the International Herald Tribune - Daily News Egypt. She graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism with a Master of Science degree in journalism. She is proficient in French, Spanish, Haitian Creole, and has a working knowledge of Egyptian Colloquial Arabic. Follow her @Jessica_Reports.

    Transcript

    What My Friend Jim Foley Taught Me to QuestionJESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

    By now you've all seen the news. Forty-year-old journalist James Foley was beheaded in Syria by the extremist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The video has been linked on every major news site. But to tell you the truth, I can't even stomach to read the headlines, because what a headline can never capture is the character of a person.

    Jim and I both attended Northwestern University's Medill school of journalism in 2007. We sat across from each other in the D.C. bureau, both covering national security. He called me "JD", and he was just "Jim" to me. We shared a love of hip hop, and you could always catch Jim dropping a beat in the halls. He was so incredibly funny. I remember one school project which was meant to help us develop our camera skills.

    ~~~

    JAMES FOLEY (IN CHARACTER): Hello. This is Jim Foley.

    ~~~

    DESVARIEUX: We decided to shoot a parody of The Office. Fittingly, Jim played the character with his namesake. And I can just remember us cracking up repeatedly as we tried to put together this one scene. And then we finally nailed it.

    ~~~

    DESVARIEUX (VOICEOVER): Tune in next week for more of The Office.

    ~~~

    DESVARIEUX (ON CAMERA): After graduation, we both went abroad. I went to Egypt, and he went to Afghanistan and then Libya. That's where he was in prison for 41 days while covering the 2011 Libyan Revolution. There was a massive campaign waged to bring Jim home, and the good news was that it worked and he did make it home.

    He went back to Northwestern to speak, and I got a chance to see my friend again for what I didn't know then would be the last time. We were all excited to catch up, and he told me of his plans to go to Syria, where the situation was escalating. It was dangerous, especially for foreign journalists, who were banned from covering Syria by Syrian President Bashar Assad. But Jim wanted to speak to the people. He wanted to be there so we could get a sense of what's really going on.

    Despite this ongoing media blackout, what we do know is that the Syrian Civil War may be the worst humanitarian crisis so far this century. According to the UN, it's left more than 170,000 people dead and has displaced 9 million civilians.

    In the wake of Jim's death, I've been reflecting on all of this. But one question still stays with me: what created the conditions on the ground for this kind of fanaticism to flourish? What role do we as Americans play in all of this? Our whole post-World War II politics point to examples of us supporting extremists, starting with Roosevelt backing Saudi King Ibn Saud. Then there was also the mujahideen in Afghanistan in the '80s, and more recently the support of jihadists in Syria, which have captured parts of Iraq. Two of our most important allies in the region, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have used jihadist groups as centerpieces of their own foreign policy. It's been reported repeatedly that both countries have provided arms directly to extremists. And there are reports, like this one from The New York Times, which expose how the CIA played an instrumental role in shopping for weapons and choosing which rebel groups would get them.

    We opened up a Pandora's box in the Middle East with the invasion of Iraq in 2003, followed with the years of ongoing sectarian violence which has left half a million people dead from war-related causes, according to a recent study. The U.S. has invaded and supported the overthrow of governments, which tilled the soil for fanaticism. After creating this power vacuum, groups like the Islamic State have risen to fill it. And that's the part of the story that needs to be told.

    Jim was chasing that story and many others like it when he headed to Syria. He wanted to bear witness to this destruction and share with the world the Syrian people's stories. He can tell you the reason why he chose to go better than anyone else can. So here's Jim in his own words at Medill in 2011.

    Jim, my friend, you will be missed.

    ~~~

    JAMES FOLEY, REPORTER, GLOBALPOST: I talked to my mom once. I had one phone call, and that was all I was praying for. You know, Clare and I, all we are praying for was just let us talk to our moms, just let our moms know--it sounds funny, but it's not--just let our moms know that we're okay, that we're alive, that physically I'm okay. You know, physically I'm fine. I'm being fed. We were beaten once, tortured never. Physically I'm okay. There's some humanity in these guards. You know? The system is inhumane, but the humanity is in these people.

    We were in a general Libyan population, immediately embraced by Libyan political prisoners. They saw us as trying to tell their story. Immediately embraced by these Libyan political prisoners, from age 24 to 50s, 60s, sending text messages making jokes about Gaddafi. Real criminals, you know? Waving the rebel flag. An amazing sense of community that literally helped us.

    But I talked to my mom on the phone. Not only did I call her, they let me call her, but she picked up the phone. You know. I only know one number, my family's phone number. My mom actually picked it up. It was like, that was a miracle, man. That was God right there, you know? And that was the day before Easter, and my mom's very Catholic. It meant a lot.

    I mean, and a lot of my friends from Marquette are very Catholic. And these guys were--. I had no idea what was going on. I had no idea what people were doing for me. No idea. You know, you're in a cell. It's like you're in a submarine, and you can only see out these bars, and you're just trying to stay sane through prayer and, you know, cigarettes, basically. But I said, Mom, can't you feel me praying to you that I'm okay? She said, Jim, can't you feel all your friends, all the people praying for you? You know, they're having prayer vigils at Marquette. And I said, I guess I can. I guess I can feel that.

    [PHOTO]

    JIM FOLEY
    1973-2014

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    Obama Unveils Immigration Plan, But What Will It Change?
    TRNN Replay: Immigration Reform Requires Dismantling NAFTA and Respecting Migrants' Rights
    TRNN Replay: Why Do Mexican Workers Head North?
    TRNN Replay: Do Undocumented Workers Take Jobs and Lower Wages?
    Study Finds Racial Profiling Persists in Toronto Despite Ban
    G-20 Recommits to Lifting Private Sector Activity
    Who Is In Charge of Development: The Elite or the Majorities? (1/2)
    Swedish Court of Appeals Rule to Continue the Detention of Julian Assange
    TRNN Replay: Do Undocumented Workers Take Jobs and Lower Wages?
    TRNN Replay: Founding SNCC and Taking on Mississippi - Bob Moses on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    The Power to Create Money in the Hands of the Banks
    TRNN Replay: The Respectable Face of Terror - Robert Moses on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Animal Agriculture: A Neglected Agent of Global Warming?
    Despite Senate Vote on Keystone XL, Tar Sands Oil Will Still Reach the Gulf
    Seattle Begins Police Reforms in Wake of Federal Civil Rights Investigation
    TRNN Replay: Bob Moses on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    All Eyes on Ferguson as Gov. Nixon Declares State of Emergency Ahead of Grand Jury Decision
    The Life and Times of Emory Douglas, Minister of Culture in the Black Panther Party (2/3)
    G20 Summit Failed to Seriously Address Global Problems
    TRNN Replay: Glen Ford on Reality Asserts Itself
    Who is Behind the Ousting of President Compaore in Burkina Faso?
    Investigation Uncovers "Culture of Impunity" for Chicago Police Department
    TRNN Replay: Bob Moses on Reality Asserts Itself
    RAP NEWS 29: The G20 with Tony Abbott - Feat. Senator Scott Ludlam
    Critics Say DC's 'Model' Police Review Board Can't Stop Abuses
    $4.3 Billion Fine for Fraud in Exchange Market Manipulations is Pittance for Major Banks
    Obama Administration Leaves Door Wide Open for Torture to Occur Again
    TRNN Replay: "I am a real pessimist about politics in America" - Ed Herman, Co-author of "Manufacturing Consent"
    US-China Climate Accord is Neither "Historic" nor a "Landmark"
    How Deep is the Rot on Wall Street?

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting