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Let’s honor Kayla Mueller– and other women leaders during the war on terror

Middle East
on 35 Comments

Millions of Americans wept yesterday hearing passages from the last letter of Kayla Mueller to her family from captivity in Syria. In the depths of her suffering, she worried more about her family back in Arizona.

If you could say I have “suffered” at all throughout this whole experience it is only in knowing how much suffering I have put you all through; I will never ask you to forgive me as I do not deserve forgiveness. I remember mom always telling me that all in all in the end the only one you really have is God. I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator b/c literally there was no else.. + by God + by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall. I have been shown in darkness, light + have learned that even in prison, one can be free. I am grateful. I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it. I pray each each day that if nothing else, you have felt a certain closeness + surrender to God as well + have formed a bond of love + support amongst one another.

If there is an upside to Kayla’s awful death it is that her family is already sharing her big spirit with the rest of us; her family is responding to Kayla’s call. No doubt her work of trying to heal the division between the United States and the Arab world will continue long after her premature death.

For me, this is a time to honor great American women who have done as Kayla did: women who responded to the bombs and drones and militant speeches of the war on terror by putting their bodies on the line for principles of understanding and compassion and respect. When I read Kayla’s words and see her picture, I see the faces of several women role models in the last few years.

It is not that men didn’t also guide us during the great war on terror. But those men were typically reporters or experts or writers. Many derived some type of status from their work. Of course many women also derived status, as well they should; but the women I think of today embodied traditional qualities of selflessness and empathy; they felt called by suffering to try and deal with the underlying causes of conflict. And they are leaders.

When I think of why I left the mainstream media after the Iraq War, the symbolic moment came when Jodie Evans of Code Pink ripped off her dress to reveal a pink slip covered with war crimes charges at George Bush’s speech to the Republican Convention in New York in 2004. Evans was dragged out of the hall right past the press section. I sat there riveted by Evans’s bravery. Her heels came flying off as they manhandled her right past us, but all the bigtime reporters and editors kept their eyes on George Bush. I remember feeling stupid and feckless next to this woman who had put her body down.

I went to Syria in 2006 at the invitation of my wife’s cousin who had gone over there to learn Arabic. Betsy was inspired by 9/11 to try and see things from the Arab point of view. She met us at the Damascus airport wearing a Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, uniform — camel hair coat and plaid scarf — and as I hung out with her and her American friends, most of them women, I met a Palestinian refugee for the first time in my life and learned that he regarded Israel as a landgrab. Today my wife’s cousin’s work continues, helping refugees acclimatize in the United States.

When I came home in 2006, I read the diaries of Rachel Corrie for the first time– a manuscript lent to me by Jen Marlowe, who is still helping Gaza — and felt awed by the 23-year-old’s clarity and focus, when I was already 50. This website began then; and Rachel’s spirit infused it.

I went to the Jordan Valley first at the invitation of Morgan Bach, a humanitarian volunteer from Washington state.

I went to Gaza first at the invitation of Felice Gelman and Dorothy Zellner– Dorothy who started out 51 years ago in SNCC. Our group was almost all women. It was led by Medea Benjamin, who has been standing up against warriors for 40 years. In Gaza we had an evening with three young volunteers for the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Two of them were women, one the inspiring Eva Bartlett.

There we visited the school named after Rachel Corrie, the brave humanitarian and ISM volunteer from Olympia who gave her life in 2003 to try and keep Palestinians from being thrown out of their homes.

And of course, Kayla Mueller worked for ISM too. If you read her writings, you see that she pitied others, not herself– and was moved to act by others’ suffering. She knew that compassion means nothing if you don’t act on it:

This really is my life’s work, to go where there is suffering. I suppose, like us all, I’m learning how to deal with the suffering of the world inside myself… to deal with my own pain and most importantly to still have the ability to be proactive.

You can read Kayla’s words on Palestine here. Already that service has become a flashpoint. The NPR piece on Mueller today left Palestine out, while listing her other accomplishments. The neoconservatives are smearing her for her views on Israel.

But the most grotesque thing about the aftermath of Kayla’s death is that people are using it as a pretext to keep bombing. Why don’t we bomb the hell out of them? Chris Matthews asked repeatedly last night in his demagogue mode, as if that will cure anything. Her name is prominent in the president’s request today for the Authorization to Use Military Force against the Islamic state.

I am sure Kayla Mueller would not want that. She would likely regard the outpouring of grief over her death as an opportunity for Americans to follow in her footsteps and learn about the Arab world, learn about Muslims and Palestinians as fellow human beings. As we are all now discovering, Kayla Mueller was wise and loving. I’m going to honor her by heeding her words, trying to learn more about the other in this brutalized clash of worlds. As she wrote four years ago at 22:

“I believe in a collective consciousness… I believe that if we can’t handle learning about the darkest places of our world, they will turn into the darkest places in us. If we know or we don’t, if we do something or we don’t, either way it will affect us.”

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About Philip Weiss

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35 Responses

  1. Susie Kneedler
    Susie Kneedler
    February 11, 2015, 12:31 pm

    Thank you, Phil, for beautifully honoring these wise people whose work and words will keep teaching us how to love and help.

  2. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    February 11, 2015, 12:43 pm

    Thanks, Phil. Thanks to all who can find a pathway from love and compassion to action.

  3. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    February 11, 2015, 12:45 pm

    The kindest of the hasbarists are spilling this as an “idealistic” (i.e. stupid) American woman who might be alive today if she’d only “heard both sides” or understood “nuance” or realized how “complicated” the situation is.

    It’s either that or admit that she knew exactly what she was doing and had voted with her actions about whom she thought the real victims were.

    • philadelphialawyer
      philadelphialawyer
      February 12, 2015, 1:57 pm

      Did Ms. Mueller really know exactly “what she was doing?”

      Did she know that her abduction and death would be used, as the main article puts it, “grotesque[ly]…as a pretext to keep bombing. ‘Why don’t we bomb the hell out of them?’ Chris Matthews asked repeatedly last night in his demagogue mode, as if that will cure anything. Her name is prominent in the president’s request today for the Authorization to Use Military Force against the Islamic state. I am sure Kayla Mueller would not want that.”

      I’m sure she wouldn’t want that either. But it is no great surprise that that is the way it is being “spun.” Nor that her work on the West Bank is being ignored (when it is not being vilified) and that she is being turned into another Jessica Lynch, another beautiful young idealistic American girl who was harmed by the terrible Arab Muslims. And whose fate calls for more intervention, more American military force being used against Arabs, and more “war on terror.”

      Ms. Mueller put her life on the line, and worked for some noble causes. But I still maintain that her choice to go to Syria was a mistaken one. That the injection of American citizens, even as humanitarians, acts, in the international real politick of such situations, much like the presence of American (or European) missionaries in past days. That is, as a Trojan horse, as a pretext for the militarists and colonialists to intervene to protect, rescue, or avenge them. Even if that is the last thing they want.

  4. bintbiba
    bintbiba
    February 11, 2015, 1:57 pm

    Phil … your soulful , heartfelt tribute to Kayla Mueller has put me to shame. I have written very harsh words addressed to Ms. Schlussel who was quoted using very derogatory, smearing terms towards Kayla and her life’s work. I was in tears , reading her inspiring blog, and could not restrain my anger. For that I apologise.
    Bitterness only turns its sharp prongs inwards… It turns one into an uncivilised being.

  5. Walid
    Walid
    February 11, 2015, 2:07 pm

    A beautiful piece, Phil.

  6. Marnie
    Marnie
    February 11, 2015, 2:14 pm

    “I believe in a collective consciousness… I believe that if we can’t handle learning about the darkest places of our world, they will turn into the darkest places in us. If we know or we don’t, if we do something or we don’t, either way it will affect us.”

    That’s incredible insight and clarity at age 22.

  7. seafoid
    seafoid
    February 11, 2015, 2:30 pm

    They should bomb Saudi. Daesh funder and global poison source. How does Saudi get the money to Daesh ? Why can’t that be sanctioned ? Which banks do they use? why aren’t they caught for money laundering ?

    The US nailed one of the big French banks with a fine for $9.6 bn for trading with Iran and Sudan. Wiped out a year’s profit.

    And they tolerate Saudi funding jihad in Syria and no sanctions, nothing.
    Saudis did 911. No, nothing to see, move on
    60% of Americans ended up believing it was Saddam.

    Absolutely incoherent.

    • philadelphialawyer
      philadelphialawyer
      February 12, 2015, 2:09 pm

      And there you have it. Somebody must be bombed in response to Ms. Mueller’s death. If not the folks who abducted her, well then their bankers. Somebody.

      How about, instead, we start minding our own business? Our business does not include who gets to run Iraq or Syria, or who wants to run them. That realization would make it none of our affair who backs the various factions.

      Beyond that, your response is simplistic and reductive. Saudi financing or not, the fact is that Sunnis in Iraq and Syria tend, like folks everywhere, to want to be governed by what they consider to be “their own.” Already twice in Iraq in the US has destroyed Sunni government in the Sunni areas. Once when the US invaded the country and deposed Saddam. And again when the US reconquered the Sunni areas from AQ in M and other Sunni insurgent forces. Now yet a third Sunni force, ISIS, must be defeated in Sunni Iraq. And, of course, not leaving well enough alone, the US has helped destabilize Syria, providing yet another arena for ISIS to compete for Sunni support and control. Which now must be countered. You might check out Libya as well.

      And bombing the KSA or even just cutting off the funding from there won’t change the overall dynamics…ie in failed state situations (which the US keeps bringing about) the various factions (sectarian and otherwise) tend to fight each other for local, regional and national control.

      Instead of bombing the KSA, or sanctioning it, or Iran, or any other Muslim nation, perhaps the USA should get out of the business of deciding who runs what in the Middle East? There might very well still be civil wars and unrest, but it won’t be our business. And we will not be “mowing the grass” anymore in Iraq, Syria, etc, like Israel does in Gaza against Hamas.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        February 13, 2015, 12:35 am

        The region needs a comprehensive political settlement that includes the Palestinians.
        Defanging Saudi has to be part of that.

      • philadelphialawyer
        philadelphialawyer
        February 13, 2015, 8:27 am

        The region desperately needs an end to US military intervention, imperialism, paternalism, and neo colonialism.

        If anyone is to be “defanged,” we should start with ourselves here in the US, and then move on to our pet snake Israel.

        “Comprehensive political settlements” do NOT proceed out of the bomb bays of US jets. We might do well to stop arming and providing political and diplomatic cover to the Saudis (as well as the Israelis), but the US killing Arabs and bombing Arab countries has not done much good for the Palestinians, and more of it is unlikely to.

        Ironically, given your statement about Saddam, you sound much like the folks who started the war with Iraq, and who call for more and more US military intervention generally as the means to stop “terrorism”: Why, if we only cut off the “support” for “terrorism” coming out of “poisonous” country X, we will not only end the violence, but also be well on our way to the Shangri-La of a “comprehensive political settlement!”

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        February 13, 2015, 4:02 pm

        What did I say about Saddam ?

      • just
        just
        February 13, 2015, 5:24 pm

        philadelphialawyer~ perhaps you should go back and review what seafoid actually wrote.

        just a thought.

      • tree
        tree
        February 13, 2015, 5:49 pm

        just

        philadelphialawyer~ perhaps you should go back and review what seafoid actually wrote.

        just a thought.

        Just, respectfully, seafoid’s first sentence up above was this:

        They should bomb Saudi.

        I think philadelphialawyer’s post was on point with regard to that sentence, and for the most part I agree with his comment. You can’t bomb anyone to “freedom” or “democracy”. Not Iraq, not Syria, not Saudi Arabia, not Israel.

      • just
        just
        February 13, 2015, 6:22 pm

        *o*

        Sorry, I thought they were talking about Saddam.

        Thanks tree.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        February 14, 2015, 7:10 am

        The saudi regime is one of the reasons the middle east is such a mess.
        I think it would be better to take them out and replace them with a govt of national unity.
        KSA is not run sustainably and the crash will be awful anyway. It might take 10 years to build a viable opposition who can take over.

        Beyond internal issues the big problem with Saudi is the export of wahhabi hatred and support for jihad in cockpits such as Syria and Iraq

        And tree just cos the yanks messed up iraq doesn’t mean a putrid regime can’t be deposed violently and replaced with something better, Japan went through that process.It needs better people than blair and Cheney.

      • philadelphialawyer
        philadelphialawyer
        February 14, 2015, 9:28 am

        “The saudi regime is one of the reasons the middle east is such a mess. I think it would be better to take them out and replace them with a govt of national unity. KSA is not run sustainably and the crash will be awful anyway. It might take 10 years to build a viable opposition who can take over. Beyond internal issues the big problem with Saudi is the export of wahhabi hatred and support for jihad in cockpits such as Syria and Iraq And tree just cos the yanks messed up iraq doesn’t mean a putrid regime can’t be deposed violently and replaced with something better, Japan went through that process.It needs better people than blair and Cheney.”

        Same old, same old. Americans and westerners generally know what’s best for ME Arabs, and, contrary to the most basic precepts of international law, never mind common morality, have every right to play God and kingmaker, slaughter who knows how many people in the process, and replace the current, legal Arab governments with ones more to the liking of the Americans and westerners.

        Umm, that is the mentality that has led to the “terrorism” and “the mess” in the first place.

        When it is pointed out that this failed in Iraq, failed in Libya and is now failing in Syria, the tired, shop worn, completely out of context example of Japan is brought up. Japan launched a major war against the USA and was utterly defeated. By August 1945, virtually the whole world was allied against Japan (China, Russia, America, the British Empire, etc), and it had no ally or even friend left in the world. Japan was as isolated as a country could be. And was subject to having its cities fire bombed and attacked with atomic weapons. Japan surrendered unconditionally to the USA. The contrast to the KSA, which has started a war with no one, could not be more stark.

        And, even at that, in the end, the USA changed Japan a lot less than is commonly assumed. After a brief “reform” period, for Cold War and other reasons, the USA more or less allowed the right wing, big business factions in Japan return to power. And, of course, the ruling family was never deposed (which is what is being blithely proposed in the KSA).

        If the House of Saud was deposed, rather than “something better,” some “government of national unity,” what would take its place is anarchy, civil war, mass violence, lawlessness, score settling, warlordism, rape, murder, banditry, sectarian conflict, and the like. Just as has occurred in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. And Wahhabi “hatred” would expand exponentially, as the USA would be exposed as a completely tyrannical enemy of the Arabs, wantonly attacking and destroying one of the few remaining in tact regimes in the regime.

        Your prescription, besides being grossly immoral, presumptuous, colonialist, racist, illegal, and, quite frankly, disgusting (particularly when broached in the context of a eulogy for Ms. Mueller), would also be completely not only ineffective but counterproductive, even when viewed from your own ethnocentric, not to say self centered, POV.

        Just as the war on Saddam proved out to be.

      • Bornajoo
        Bornajoo
        February 15, 2015, 12:16 pm

        @PP
        I’m not going to quibble about the content or the message in your reply to Seafoid. I agree with what you say. But I think the tone was way too attacking and impolite.

        Before I started commenting on MW I used to read it regularly and have always read Seafoid’s comments, many of them and for some time now. Seafoid is a great commenter on MW. One of the best.

        My own personal opinion is that particular comment of Seafoid was quite out of place and not very well thought out. I was also surprised to read it. And it’s absolutely fine to point that out and rebuke it, but anyone reading your reply would think you were replying to a rabid racist zionist and Seafoid is the total opposite of that. And that’s obvious from every other one of the thousands of other comments from Seafoid over the years.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        February 14, 2015, 12:19 pm

        ‘Japan went through that process”

        Oh, By Jingo! It’s worth the price!

      • tree
        tree
        February 14, 2015, 4:21 pm

        And tree just cos the yanks messed up iraq doesn’t mean a putrid regime can’t be deposed violently and replaced with something better, Japan went through that process.It needs better people than blair and Cheney.

        Ah, yes, If only the Iraq war had been run by “the best and the brightest”, like the Vietnam War, it would have turned out so much better. Oh wait….

        As philadelphialawyer pointed out, the circumstances way back in WWII Japan were totally different from what you are comparing it to. US military and political violence in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Nicaragua, Chile, Vietnam, Iran in the 1950’s, etc. did not improve lives in any of those countries.

        And the Iraq war wasn’t “messed up”. It accomplished exactly what it was intended to accomplish: the destruction of Iraq. You really think that the intent was to provide ponies for every Iraqi? “Iraqi Freedom” was never about freedom for Iraqis. It was about selling the war in the US where unfortunately too many of us buy the idea that the US only attacks other countries because we love them so much and want to make them better, even if it means we have to bomb the bejeesus out of them. To paraphrase the Vietnam war saying, “We have to destroy (insert “village”, “country” “continent” as needed) in order to save it” is just another piece of heinous propaganda.

      • Walid
        Walid
        February 15, 2015, 5:40 am

        A lot being said about Wahhabism, so there’s a needed clarification. While Wahhabism is rooted in Saudi Arabia, it’s currently the predominant political authority in control of not only Saudi Arabia, but also in Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain and Oman which make up the 6 Gulf Cooperation Council and what differentiates them is the degree of Wahhabism in them. For example, in very strict Wahhabi Saudia, women (except visiting foreign dignataries) must wear the abaya and cover their heads and cannot drive cars and there is a zero acceptance of alcohol even for foreigners, while in the UAE’s, Kuwait’s and Qatar’s Wahhabism, this is not the case; Qatar’s government-run store even sells porc products along with alcohol to foreigners and non-Moslem Arabs. Saudi Arabia is not the only Wahhabi state to have participated in Syria since the milder Wahhabi Qatar also did and currently in Libya, Saudia, Qatar, the UAE and the non-Wahhabi Egypt are actively involved in backing the different factions. So even if Wahhabism was to disappear in Saudi Arabia, which I highly doubt would ever happen, there are 5 other Gulf countries that would still have it.

        For those that have an interest in where Wahhabism is coming from and what it’s about, it was started in the 1700s by Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab that was born in Arabia. He actually began preaching in Iraq about the need to return to the very austere form of fundamentalist Islam but was chased out of Iraq for his ideas and returned to Arabia where he made a deal with the House of Saud whereby Ibn Abdul Wahhab with his religious influence would rally the people to accept and back the Sauds as their rulers in exchange for the Sauds allowing Ibn Abdul Wahhab free reign in the religious affairs of the country and that’s how Saudia on becoming a kingdom became Wahhabist and continues being so today. Wahhabism, Salafism and the Muslim Brotherhood all go back in varrying degrees to the teachings of Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahab

        A brief history on Wahhabism from about.com

        ” … The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were a turbulent time for Arabia in general and for the gulf in particular. To the southeast, the Al Said of Oman were extending their influence northward, and from Iraq the Ottoman Turks were extending their influence southward. From the east, both the Iranians and the British were becoming increasingly involved in Arab affairs.

        The most significant development in the region, however, was the Wahhabi movement. The name Wahhabi derived from Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab, who died in 1792. He grew up in an oasis town in central Arabia where he studied Hanbali law, usually considered the strictest of Islamic legal schools, with his grandfather. While still a young man, he left home and continued his studies in Medina and then in Iraq and Iran.

        When he returned from Iran to Arabia in the late 1730s, he attacked as idolatry many of the customs followed by tribes in the area who venerated rocks and trees. He extended his criticism to practices of the Twelver Shia, such as veneration of the tombs of holy men. He focused on the central Muslim principle that there is only one God and that this God does not share his divinity with anyone. From this principle, his students began to refer to themselves as muwahhidun (sing., muwahhid), or “unitarians.” Their detractors referred to them as “Wahhabis.”

        Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab considered himself a reformer and looked for a political figure to give his ideas a wider audience. He found this person in Muhammad ibn Saud, the amir of Ad Diriyah, a small town near Riyadh. In 1744 the two swore a traditional Muslim pledge in which they promised to work together to establish a new state (which later became present-day Saudi Arabia) based on Islamic principles. The limited but successful military campaigns of Muhammad ibn Saud caused Arabs from all over the peninsula to feel the impact of Wahhabi ideas.

        The Wahhabis became known for a fanaticism similar to that of the early Kharijites. This fanaticism helped to intensify conflicts in the gulf. Whereas tribes from the interior had always raided settled communities along the coast, the Wahhabi faith provided them with a justification for continuing these incursions to spread true Islam. Accordingly, in the nineteenth century Wahhabi tribes, under the leadership of the Al Saud, moved at various times against Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman. In Oman, the Wahhabi faith created internal dissension as well as an external menace because it proved popular with some of the Ibadi tribes in the Omani interior.

        Wahhabi thought has had a special impact on the history of Qatar. Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab’s ideas proved popular among many of the peninsula tribes, including the Al Thani clan, before the Al Khalifa attempted to take over the area from Bahrain at the beginning of the nineteenth century. As a result, Wahhabi beliefs motivated Al Thani efforts to resist the attempt of the Al Khalifa, who rejected Wahhabism, to gain control of the peninsula. In the early 1990s, Wahhabism distinguished Qatar religiously from its neighbors.

        Wahhabi fervor was also significant in the history of the present-day UAE. The Qawasim tribes that had controlled the area since the eighteenth century adapted Wahhabi ideas and transferred the movement’s religious enthusiasm to the piracy in which they had traditionally engaged. Whereas Wahhabi thought opposed all that was not orthodox in Islam, it particularly opposed non-Muslim elements such as the increasing European presence in the Persian Gulf.”

        http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/islam/countries/bl_KuwaitIslamWahhabi.htm

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        February 15, 2015, 11:09 pm

        Tree
        When a power becomes so odious that it destabilises the system , when it gets to the point where even the merchants turn on it or the people turn on it history shows that is the point where ir gets taken out often violently. If you don’t like japan you can try something out of ottoman history, The saudi regime is beyond malignant. It already bred 911, it spawned Daesh, it is a breeder of global trauma. When the system has no other choice it will take action. But it is usually too late.

        When the latest wall st bubble blows up the Middle East is going to get another wave of economic chaos and
        instability. Saudi will fund more nihilism until it outlives its usefulness. It’s very like Wall St. Oil/debt drive the system. Both saudi and wall st are currently untouchable and think this is a permanent state of affairs.

        Pandering to malignancy whether Zionist, wahhabi, climate change denying or monetarist is the main reason our system is inherently unstable. Someone is going to kill the first prince and that will be the catalyst.

    • philadelphialawyer
      philadelphialawyer
      February 16, 2015, 6:21 pm

      Bornajoo:

      I have no desire to paint the poster “Seafoid” as anything that he isn’t. Nor to be impolite.

      But my responses to him have been confined to his posts on this thread, specifically his advice that someone (presumably the US) should “bomb Saudi.”

      As you can see, Seafoid has still not backed off from that odious idea, even in his latest post in response to poster “Tree.” Apparently he can ascertain no daylight between “pandering” to the KSA regime and bombing it. Nor has he profited from Walid’s post, which explains, much better than I ever could, why his notion that eliminating the House of Saud would destroy the Wahhabism that Seafoid associates with it is not persuasive, even in its own right and even discounting all the other objections made to his bellicosity by myself and Tree on the grounds of efficacy, history, morality and legality, as well as it inappropriateness in the context of this thread about Ms. Mueller.

      As Mr. Weiss wrote, Ms. Mueller would not want her death to be used as a pretext to bomb anyone in Syria, and it was “grotesque” of Chris Mattews to claim otherwise. I think it safe to expand on that and say she would not want her death to be used as a pretext for bombing anyone, including anyone in the KSA.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        February 23, 2015, 8:59 am

        KSA is going to fall apart in a riot of blood anyway, PL, so it hardly matters
        Efficacy, morality and legality are all beside the point

  8. Bornajoo
    Bornajoo
    February 11, 2015, 3:53 pm

    Yet another beautiful compassionate soul dies so young. An amazing lady. Selfless and inspiring.

    Thank you for this piece Phil and thank you for the links to her writings.

  9. Pixel
    Pixel
    February 11, 2015, 8:33 pm

    Just beautiful, Phil.

  10. annie
    annie
    February 11, 2015, 9:51 pm

    wow, my first thought was, this is really beautiful phil. and i see that others have had the same thought. well, that’s the way it goes. so much for being repetitive but that’s about it. just really beautiful. thank you.

  11. just
    just
    February 11, 2015, 11:17 pm

    Gracious and intensely beautiful.

    Thank you, Phil.

  12. amigo
    amigo
    February 12, 2015, 7:59 am

    Her death is being reported in Ireland.Her work in Syria gets full attention but not a word about her efforts on behalf of the Palestinians .

    It seems as if her Human rights work is only applauded if the recipients are of a certain group.

    Sickening.

  13. Rodneywatts
    Rodneywatts
    February 12, 2015, 12:43 pm

    Phil,
    You have encapsulated in your piece, so elegantly, what a complete antithesis Kayla’s life of love and compassion was to what we often witness as man’s inhumanity to man. So pleased that news reports in UK mention her work in Palestine. Our love and prayers continue for her family and also that her death is not in vain. So many things written here make a lovely epitaph.

  14. Citizen
    Citizen
    February 12, 2015, 4:23 pm

    Thanks, Phil. I hope Kayla’s parents read your tribute to their wonderful daughter. Bill Kristol types will use her death to beat the drums for more wars in behalf Israel, the war business types nodding along.

  15. gamal
    gamal
    February 14, 2015, 8:10 pm

    and one savage that Chris Kyle left alive

    Rashad Zaydan

    http://www.sandiego.edu/peacestudies/institutes/ipj/programs/women-peacemakers/about/rashad-zaydan.php

    and interviewed a year or two ago,

    “When American soldiers blast open the door and inspect your home, the children become so frightened. When that is repeated time and time again, the children become traumatized.

    You cannot take your child to a garden or a park, because it is not secure. There are as many dangers as there are bullets in Baghdad. So you keep your children indoors. But when they are kept inside all day and night, without even electricity to watch TV or play video games, you find that they become agitated and act out against each other.

    No day comes or passes without hearing an explosion or gunfire, and helicopters are always overhead. We are afraid to take our kids to school because even schools have been bombed. When we do allow our children to go to school, we worry about them, and the children themselves are constantly afraid.

    In addition to their fears, Iraqi youth are also battling hopelessness. They are under a lot of stress. Many children and young people have lost their homes, their families, and the people they love. They have begun to carry weapons, fighting in one way or another. I fear for the youth of my country, and I don’t want them to continue in this direction. I want them to receive an education so that they can rebuild Iraq and create a more prosperous future.

    There are many things that can be said about our children, but the most important thing we must do is start to increase trust. We have to work together to find a way to stop the violence in Iraq. Right now most of the money being spent is for military operations. But if the U.S. continues these military operations, there will be more and more orphans and our problems will keep escalating. At least one fourth of the money should be spent for women and children.”

    http://www.epic-usa.org/the-ground-truth-project-rashad-zaydan/

  16. Taxi
    Taxi
    February 16, 2015, 9:00 am

    I can’t bare the heartache of it all:

    Kyla’s Boyfriend Tried To Free Her:
    http://news.yahoo.com/vigil-held-us-woman-killed-while-held-165434215.html

    • just
      just
      February 16, 2015, 9:27 am

      Such a pitifully sad story, isn’t it?

      (yet there were/are morons all over the internet and teevee spreading stupid and ugly rumors about her and her marital status before anything was known… her boyfriend must still be suffering so)

  17. Landie_C
    Landie_C
    August 15, 2015, 6:59 pm

    I need to rant about the despicable troll posts smearing Kayla Mueller over at the Forward.

    http://forward.com/news/breaking-news/319192/slain-american-hostage-kayla-mueller-raped-by-isis-leader/

    Some are saying that if Kayla had only stayed in the civilized world under Israel’s direct control, i.e. Israel and its Occupied Territories, that Kayla would be alive today. I am livid. What blinders these people wear. How callously indifferent they are to the suffering of Palestinians and Kayla Mueller’s grieving family.

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