May 21, 2022

Gathering to Mark 40th Night of Foley Detention in Libya

American journalist James Foley has now been held prisoner for more than one month by forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi. A gathering will be held in New York City at The Half King tonight. Friends and family of Foley will gather on the 40th night of his detention to bring his plight to the forefront and push for the safe return home of James and his colleagues, Clare Morgana Gillis, who has written for USA Today and The Atlantic, together with Spanish photographer Manuel “Manu” Brabo, were picked up by Qaddafi forces on April 5 while reporting on the conflict near the eastern town of Brega.

Diane and John Foley, parents of James, will be present along with New York Times journalist David Rohde, held captive by the Taliban for more than seven months in 2008/9, and New York Times journalist Tyler Hicks, held captive by Qaddafiforces in Libya for six days in March 2011. The program will also include video screenings of James’ work in Afghanistan and Libya, readings, personal stories and music.

Sebastian Junger, writer and an owner of The Half King, has donated space for the event, calling the journalists’ situation “heartbreaking.” Junger shared an Academy Award nomination for the documentary Restrepo with his co-director Tim Hetherington, a photojournalist who was killed in Libya on April 20.

James Foley was allowed to call his mother at her home in New Hampshire on April 23, his first and only contact since being detained. As his detention marks 40 days and the situation in Libya heightens, the Foley family’s concern for James grows. They are working to continue to raise awareness to help speed his release.

Foley grew up in New Hampshire and worked for years as an inner-city teacher with Teach for America in Phoenix, the Care Center in Holyoke, Mass., and the Cook County Sheriff’s Boot Camp in Chicago before pursuing his career in journalism. He earned a graduate degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2008. He covered the war in Afghanistan for GlobalPost, and his video reports were featured on the PBS NewsHour and CBS Evening News. His “On Location: A Firefight in Kunar Province” is a 2011 Webby Award nominee.