Last week’s plea by journalist Steven Sotloff’s mother apparently did not make a difference to the Islamic State who beheaded him following his last words in a video released today. Last week Steven’s mother, Shirley, issued a videotaped plea for his release. (See Guardian Liberty Voice article referenced below.)
In Mrs. Sotloff’s video, she tried several strategies to save the life of her 31-year-old son, who was expected to be executed next following the beheading of a previous U.S. journalist, James Foley. Mrs. Sotloff acknowledged the authority of the Islamic State caliph, stating that she was aware that he has the power to grant amnesty.
She expressed that her son did not have control over matters of world power. And, she referred to the tenets of Islam and how Prophet Muhammad PBUH protected people who studied “the Book.” Yet, despite these efforts, the family’s and the nation’s worst fears have been confirmed.
Steven Sotloff’s life was threatened when James Foley was murdered on August 20th, as he was shown on video kneeling, after the decapitation of his colleague. In the video, the narration stated that Sotloff’s life was in peril if U.S. airstrikes continued against the Islamic State in northern Iraq. Sotloff’s family held out hope that the leader of the Islamic State could be persuaded. Now, those hopes have been dashed.
Steven Sotloff had published articles in Time, the Christian Science Monitor, National Interest, and Foreign Policy. His family had previously taken a low profile so as not to draw attention to his absence, which they feared meant captivity. According to recent tributes, he was lauded as a loyal and supportive friend that anyone would want in their circle.
He has also been described as an “incredible writer,” one who wrote with passion about his topics. For these reasons, the world was stunned by the beheading of the journalist by the Islamic State, and his last words, which followed just one week after his mother’s heartfelt plea, have been described as shocking.
What Steven Sotloff said was that President Obama was blameworthy for marching Americans “into a blazing fire.” After a videotaped message from Obama in which the president stated that he will carry on to do what he can to protect U.S. citizens, Sotloff spoke out about the preservation of American lives. He continued that he had to pay the price of Obama’s “interference” with his life, and asked if he, too, is not an American citizen?
This statement by Steven Sotloff was counter to the approach taken by his mother last week when she spoke with a moderate tone and did not accuse her son’s captors, but rather pleaded for them to hear her heart. The statement also stands in sharp contrast to the accolades by Sotloff’s friends and colleagues about his character.
In his last words, Steven Sotloff spoke strongly against the U.S. government, in words that were surely orchestrated by the Islamic State, even as they ignored the plea by his mother. Sotloff was not the first nor will he be the last to be executed by this brutal militant Islamic group. The world waits in abeyance as the horror unfolds.
Opinion by Fern Remedi-Brown