I haven’t ever written a blog post like this before. I haven’t needed to before.
In short: a family friend of mine, Steven Sotloff, is in danger. He’s the American journalist that ISIS is saying will be beheaded next, in the video they released showing James Foley’s beheading.
This is the link to a petition, asking President Obama to do what he can to bring Steve home: http://1.usa.gov/1odkUEx
Now that we have the basics out of the way, let me bring this event a little closer home, specifically, to my parent’s house, in New York.
It begins (for me) with a romance:
When my older brother sat next to a pretty woman on a plane, he says it was love at first sight. They spent the whole flight just talking… at one point, back massages were exchanged. The chemistry between them was intense (and 13 years later, hasn’t waned). Their relationship happened fast; they were a pair from that first chance encounter on. Fast-forward two years, and they got married. I was one of her bridesmaids (and a couple of years after that, when I married DH, she was one of mine – just a short while after giving birth to their first son. She looks beautiful in all my wedding pictures, albeit very tired (no wonder!).
My sister-in-law’s friend is a field journalist – the kind of journalist who goes deep into the Middle East, deep into the conflict zones, to investigate what’s happening, and shed some light on it for the world. He writes (wrote) articles and speaks (spoke) on the news as an expert on what’s going on in the Middle East.
Whenever he stops in New York, where I was born and raised, Steve knows he always has a place to stay at my parent’s house. He would come over, order in pizza, hang out with my folks and then go to sleep, exhausted from his travels. Steve slept in the same bed that I do when I go home to New York, on the same sheets my parents have had for probably 30 years, under the same blanket I remember from childhood.
Steve was on a mission, going on an assignment to Syria, when things got tense. His fellow journalists could feel the conflict rising, and told him it wasn’t safe. Steve does lots of crazy things in the name of field journalism that aren’t safe, mind you, so if he says it’s getting bad, it’s already really bad. Steve is as white as you get, and stuck out as an American. While his friends went home to America, Steve felt called to be there, to write about it, to know what was going on.
Steve was captured close to the Turkish border. That was last year, August 2013.
I remember thinking, when my parents told me that Steve had been kidnapped by terrorists, that he’d get out of it. “He’s so smart,” I thought, “he’ll just figure a way out.” Now I know that even a genius would have fared no better if he’d been captured. A year passed, and it was as if Steve had dropped off the face of the earth.
To be honest, I sort of… forgot about him. I forgot that while I live my life, Steve was being held captive by ISIS. Maybe I blocked it out.
Until the video… the video ISIS released showing American journalist James Foley getting beheaded by a man shrouded in black, like the Angel of Death himself. At the end of the video, they show Steve, in orange prison garb, on his knees. He’s not wearing his glasses, and his head’s been shaved. Steven Sotloff is next, they said.
We’re taking it pretty hard, as you can imagine.
Steven Sotloff is only 31 years old. He’s from Miami. He loves basketball.
His parents are desperate.
I didn’t watch the video (I just can’t) – so I didn’t know that our family friend was in grave danger until my dad emailed me this:
Not sure if you saw this in the news.Please pass this along:IMPORTANT: It was revealed that our family friend, Steven Sotloff is a captive of the Islamist terrorist organization ISIS. Steven appeared at the end of a video in which reporter James Foley was beheaded. In the video, Steven is seen at the end declaring that he will be next.
There’s nothing I can do, nothing at all, except pray, and hopefully use my platform from writing romance novels to try and spread the word. That’s what I’m doing. Please sign the online petition, and then pass it along. We need 100K signatures, we’ve only got about 3K right now just from it circulating through NY.
If you pray, please include Steve in your prayers. Many of us say we’ll pray for someone, but we forget. So please, take a moment right now to offer up a prayer for Steven Sotloff to come home safely, and that his family might find peace and comfort in this terrible time.
Thank you for your prayers, for signing the petition, and for spreading the word.
I love my readers, and I appreciate that you took the time to read this.
All my best,