FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

An Open Letter to the Parents of Kayla Mueller

by

I didn’t know Kayla Mueller personally, but she has sat with me at tables and in meetings here in the last town where she lived before being taken captive. There in my peripheral vision – unknown but entirely recognizable.

I arrived several months after Kayla disappeared into the confusion and ferocity that has become Syria. But as the head of a humanitarian organization, I work in the same community in which she worked and people who were her friends are my friends. And I recognize her – she is a type and I know the type. I lead an organization filled with these types and perhaps was one myself decades ago – young; so psychologically, intellectually, and physically complete that she had time, energy, compassion, creativity, and a sense of justice in spades – enough to share with people who needed those qualities; very American in her sense of fairness and that one should just get out there and put one’s shoulder to the wheel; democratic in a belief that many people trying in small ways can make a big difference. Yes, I think I recognize her. But I don’t know her – to say so would transform her from complex, nuanced multi-dimensionality – the person her parents know – to something flat and of my own creation. An insult, particularly in this hour where she deserves respect.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Mueller,

As a humanitarian worker, I say that Kayla was too young and too promising to be foreshortened in this way, but that she and her work matter to people here in the last place where she lived and worked. She lived the life we all wish to live – a life that had meaning. A life of generous wishes and action for others on the planet not blessed with the opportunities that she enjoyed.

As an American, I say that Kayla represented what makes me proud of being American and things of which I am grateful to be reminded. Her sense of fairness and activism and her unquestioning courage to just get up and out and to try to make a difference – this quality isn’t unique to Americans but it is a distinctive attribute. No, her innocence and her good will failed to protect her. But they stand in testimony to a young American who cared about inequality and suffering.

As a director, I say that Kayla was the kind of young professional that we all cherish. Her price is far above rubies, the staff member who is inspired, passionate, caring, creative, and committed. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

As a mother, my heart breaks with yours. All these months of her ephemeral presence at tables and in meetings with us, we wondered where she was and how she was. Our pondering could only have been a shard of yours. And now as I am grieved that she will not be coming home to watch the daffodils push up from the spring ground, I know that for you she will eternally be your daffodil, pushing up from the spring ground of a parent’s heart that can never, ever forget.

Mr. and Mrs. Mueller. My deepest condolences.

Martha Meyers is Country Director for Save the Children, Syria Response.

 

More articles by:
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail