Over the past few months, while witnessing from afar the brutal tactics of the so called Islamic State, it had been widely reported that they were holding an American woman hostage. Also widely reported was the fact that the details about her were intentionally withheld in the media out of concerns for her safety. We now know that the young woman who lost her life this past week was a Nonviolent Revolutionary named Kayla Mueller of Prescott, Arizona.
That she was from Prescott really ‘hit home’ because Prescott has also been my hometown for the past 20 years. It hurts to see such a bright light so senselessly taken, that pain has permeated the energy of this little mountain town over the past week, it seems like everyone feels the loss. As it should be…
What is clear in reading the accounts of her life in the media over the past few days is the courage and compassion that Kayla embodied in the face of great cruelty, danger, and depravity. President Obama stated that, ‘Kayla represents what is best about America’. It’s more than that, Mr. President. Yes, Kayla was American, but she represents the best of HUMANITY. Her hands were her tools to relieve suffering, but also her heart. She walked into a war zone with only love to give, to support strangers who could give nothing back.
Commenting on Kayla, lifelong friend Eryn Street said, “Kayla had such great empathy. It’s hard to find in this world. It’s really rare, and it was her greatest strength.”
Though her life ended far too soon, she leaves a bold legacy of selfless love that will continue to live on and grow in the same spirit as many Nonviolent Revolutionaries that have come before her… the commitment to a cause greater than oneself, the empathy to deeply connect with the suffering of other human beings, and the courage to say,
‘For as long as I live, I will not let this suffering be normal, it’s important to stop and realize what we have, why we have it and how privileged we are. And from that place, start caring and get a lot done.’
…and then actually go out and live it.
I didn’t know Kayla, but Prescott isn’t a very big town. I can only imagine that our paths crossed at some point in the past two decades, at a grocery store or restaurant, driving down the same streets or attending an event on the square downtown. Today, I feel honored to have lived in such close proximity to this amazing woman.
Syrian Sit-in on YouTube – Kayla Muller (USA – Arizona)
Childhood friend: Kayla Mueller ‘was joy’
Hometown remembers ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller
U.S. Hostage Kayla Mueller Remembered for Humanitarian Work from Syria to Occupied Territories
Senator John McCain on Kayla Mueller’s Death