FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

An Open Letter to the Parents of Kayla Mueller

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:

November 13, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Midterm Results are Challenging Racism in America in Unexpected Ways
Victor Grossman
Germany on a Political Seesaw
Cillian Doyle
Fictitious Assets, Hidden Losses and the Collapse of MDM Bank
Lauren Smith
Amnesia and Impunity Reign: Wall Street Celebrates Halliburton’s 100th Anniversary
Joe Emersberger
Moreno’s Neoliberal Restoration Proceeds in Ecuador
Carol Dansereau
Climate and the Infernal Blue Wave: Straight Talk About Saving Humanity
Dave Lindorff
Hey Right Wingers! Signatures Change over Time
Dan Corjescu
Poetry and Barbarism: Adorno’s Challenge
Patrick Bond
Mining Conflicts Multiply, as Critics of ‘Extractivism’ Gather in Johannesburg
Ed Meek
The Kavanaugh Hearings: Text and Subtext
Binoy Kampmark
Concepts of Nonsense: Australian Soft Power
November 12, 2018
Kerron Ó Luain
Poppy Fascism and the English Education System
Conn Hallinan
Nuclear Treaties: Unwrapping Armageddon
Robert Hunziker
Tropical Trump Declares War on Amazonia
John W. Whitehead
Badge of Shame: the Government’s War on Military Veterans
Will Griffin
Military “Service” Serves the Ruling Class
John Eskow
Harold Pinter’s America: Hard Truths and Easy Targets
Rob Okun
Activists Looking Beyond Midterm Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Mid-Term Divisions: The Trump Take
Dean Baker
Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Destroy Insurance Pools
George Wuerthner
Saving the Buffalohorn/Porcupine: the Lamar Valley of the Gallatin Range
Patrick Howlett-Martin
A Note on the Paris Peace Forum
Joseph G. Ramsey
Does America Have a “Gun Problem”…Or a White Supremacy Capitalist Empire Problem?
Weekend Edition
November 09, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Louis Proyect
Why Democrats Are So Okay With Losing
Andrew Levine
What Now?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Chuck and Nancy’s House of Cards
Brian Cloughley
The Malevolent Hypocrisy of Selective Sanctions
Marc Levy
Welcome, Class of ‘70
David Archuleta Jr.
Facebook Allows Governments to Decide What to Censor
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Zika Scare: a Political and Commercial Maneuver of the Chemical Poisons Industry
Nick Pemberton
When It Comes To Stone Throwing, Democrats Live In A Glass House
Ron Jacobs
Impeach!
Lawrence Davidson
A Tale of Two Massacres
José Tirado
A World Off Balance
Jonah Raskin
Something Has Gone Very Wrong: An Interview With Ecuadoran Author Gabriela Alemán
J.P. Linstroth
Myths on Race and Invasion of the ‘Caravan Horde’
Dean Baker
Good News, the Stock Market is Plunging: Thoughts on Wealth
David Rosen
It’s Time to Decriminalize Sex Work
Dan Glazebrook
US Calls for a Yemen Ceasefire is a Cynical Piece of Political Theatre
Jérôme Duval
Forced Marriage Between Argentina and the IMF Turns into a Fiasco
Jill Richardson
Getting Past Gingrich
Dave Lindorff
Not a Blue Wave, But Perhaps a Foreshock
Martha Rosenberg
Dangerous, Expensive Drugs Aggressively Pushed? You Have These Medical Conflicts of Interest to Thank
Will Solomon
Not Much of a Wave
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Yemeni War Deaths are Five Times Higher Than You’ve Been Led to Believe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail